Now that the dust has settled in the southern hemisphere, we thought it only right to offer praise to the stars of Super Rugby, Round 9.
Now that the dust has settled over in the southern hemisphere, we thought it was only right to hand out praise to the stars of Super Rugby, Round Nine.
Super Rugby Team of the Week: Round Nine
15 Willie le Roux Cheetahs: Showed why he is the favourite to wear the Springboks' number 15 jersey with an assured attacking display in a losing cause in Bloemfontein. Le Roux's unpredictability with ball in hand proved a handful for the Crusaders as he gained 121 metres on attack and scored a deserved try. Beats out Lwazi Mvovo and Ben Smith who stood out for the Sharks and Highlanders respectively.
14 Nick Cummins (Western Force): People's favourite 'The Honey Badger' has been on top form in front of the camera this season from an entertaining point of view and backed that up with a performance of real quality on Saturday. Three scores against the Waratahs with a whopping 183 running metres in the bank, Wallaby Cummins was rewarded for his hard work and this week received the applause for in-game, not on-camera exploits.
13 Malakai Fekitoa Highlanders: Another impressive effort from the youngster who has made arguably the biggest impact of any of 2014's debutants in the competition. Fekitoa made 43 metres on attack, with three defenders beaten, and crossed for a try against the Bulls in Dunedin. He comes in ahead of the Cheetahs' Johann Sadie who also caught the eye against the Crusaders with good angles and intelligence in his attack.
12 Kurtley Beale (Waratahs): The 'Tahs' night in Perth may have not gone according to plan, but Beale continued to impress. Playing better rugby than we ever saw from him in Melbourne, the Foley-Beale axis at 10-12 is flourishing. Beale made an amazing 20 runs for 134 metres and scored a fine try.
11 Nemani Nadolo (Crusaders): Our second hat-trick inclusion was this powerhouse finisher, who broke Cheetahs' hearts in Bloemfontein with his three crossings. Nadolo made well over 100 metres and, like the Crusaders, seems to have found the form we know he is capable of. Superb.
10 Colin Slade (Crusaders): Without question Slade is a better player than the youngster who left Christchurch a couple of years ago for the Highlanders. With the Cheetahs defence lacking conviction Slade capitalised, producing a quality pass for Nadolo's second try and even adding one himself. He finished with 96 metres made and 25 points to his name.
9 Sarel Pretorius (Cheetahs): He may have ended up on the losing side, but Pretorius was electric against the Crusaders. Perhaps the quickest scrum-half in the competition, he was denied a breakaway try in the first-half due to a previous knock-on but couldn't be stopped for his dart to the corner in the second. It was part of an impressive turnaround from the Cheetahs before they faded, but credit to Pretorius for his efforts. In total he made 50 metres. A mention for Aaron Smith.
8 Elliot Dixon (Highlanders): With regular starter Nasi Manu on the bench, Dixon was given a rare start and again stood out. Whether playing for Southland or the Highlanders, the 24-year-old shows he has all the tools to be a top eight and on Friday it was no different.
7 Matt Hodgson (Western Force): What a feat it would be if the Force won the Australian Conference, thus making the Super Rugby play-offs. They are going the right way about it as, led by the nuggety Hodgson, they have won five on the spin. Hodgson has been a rock in this winning streak and thrived on the physical onslaught that came from the 'Tahs. 17 tackles and real leadership on show from the Force's openside flank.
6 Angus Cottrell (Western Force): We have been impressed by the 24-year-old flanker this season and he continued to stand out over the past weekend. Cottrell is part of a back-row trio that has bested many this year, Another strong defensive and carrying effort.
5 Brodie Retallick (Chiefs): The reigning champions were without both the injured Aaron Cruden and a benched Liam Messam from the outset as the home side looked to pick up their first victory in three games on Saturday. They managed it under the captaincy of a still young Retallick, who was always going to let his workrate do the talking. That he did in a strong shift. Luke Jones of the Melbourne Rebels meanwhile continues to impress us.
4 Will Skelton (Waratahs): Definitely his best shift in a Waratahs jersey from Skelton who, like a bowling ball, skittled would-be tacklers out of his way in Perth. Unfortunately for him it was an effort that didn't result in victory but a lot of personal positives to take.
3 Kieran Longbottom (Western Force): The win for the in-form side in Super Rugby was, like their other victories, built on a foundation of hard work blended with intensity in attack and. Longbottom was one of many to give 100 percent as 12 tackles suggests.
2 Rhys Marshall (Chiefs): New Zealand head coach Steven Hansen is on the lookout for a third hooker for next year's Rugby World Cup and Marshall certainly made his case for inclusion with a superb showing against the Rebels. Liam Coltman is the other challenger battling to join Dane Coles and Keven Mealamu in the All Blacks squad but on Saturday's performance, Marshall has edged in front. Twelve tackles and plenty of metres made.
1 Dean Greyling (Bulls): When on his game there are few better running looseheads in this sport than Greyling. He swapped niggle for clean hard work against the Highlanders and was a constant threat with ball in hand. The Bulls will hope for more of the same in Sydney.