Now that the dust has settled over in the south, we thought it was only right to hand out praise to the stars of Super Rugby, Round 10.
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 10.
Super Rugby Team of the Week: Round 10
15 Jason Woodward Rebels: The Rebels don't have many stars, but this man is fast becoming Tony McGahan's go-to after Scott Higginbotham. He continues to rack up the points, with 17 off the tee against the Force on Friday, and showed more strong-running attack, making a total of 130 metres. Mentions for Tom Marshall and Willie le Roux, both of whom impressed with ball in hand.
14 Damian de Allende Stormers: For the past few weeks, playing on the wing for the Stormers has been a thankless task. But with a little more intelligence, and a little more ambition in attack, the hosts looked in better nick on Saturday. De Allende was instrumental in the win over the Lions, providing the assist for Nizaam Carr's try and bagging five points himself having made 64 metres and two clean breaks.
13 Conrad Smith Hurricanes: The veteran All Black looks refreshed after his sabbatical, and was a solid figure in the hosts' midfield. He made all his tackles and took his try well as the Hurricanes romped to victory over the Blues.
12 Alapati Leiua Hurricanes: Mark Hammett said at the start of the season his backline was a match for any in Test rugby with ball in hand, and so far, we've found it hard to quibble. Leiua is a defender's nightmare – pacey, with great feet and keen vision; a man capable of moments of magic. He produced again on Friday, beating four defenders, making three clean breaks, racking up 45 metres and scoring one of five tries for the 'Canes.
11 Julian Savea Hurricanes: The brawn to the brains of Leuia, Smith and Beauden Barrett, Savea set up one try and crossed the line himself as the 'Canes cantered to victory. He matched his inside centre with four defenders beaten, and made a total of 71 metres. A man of similarly imposing proportions, Nemani Nadolo, left five would-be tacklers trailing as he gained 99 metres. His defence let him down, though, missing five from 12 tackles.
10 Colin Slade Crusaders: Dan Carter may have taken a break, but neither his club nor country have missed him. An in-form Slade adds to the embarrassment of fly-half riches in New Zealand, and he backed up a fine showing in Johannesburg with a composed display as the Crusaders beat the Chiefs on Saturday. He scored all his team's points, beat three defenders, and perhaps most importantly, missed only one from ten tackles.
9 TJ Perenara Hurricanes: The 'Canes keep coming in this week's lineup; Perenara gets the nod for his slick service and sniping runs, as he snuck over for a try early in the second half.
8 Scott Higginbotham Rebels: The Wallaby back-row led from the front, with impressive captaincy, which helped his side end the Western Force's five-match winning streak in Melbourne. Apart from his leadership, Higginbotham did his bit on defence, with six tackles, got over the advantage line consistently and was rewarded for his efforts with the game's opening try.
7 Michael Hooper Waratahs: Delivered another superb all-round effort during his side's victory over the Bulls in Sydney. Hooper was, as usual, a menace at the breakdowns but also made his mark as a ball carrier, winning 67 metres on attack, and on defence with eight hits. Beats out Heinrich Brussow of the Cheetahs, who did well on defence against the Sharks in Durban.
6 Jean Deysel Sharks: The Japan-bound man carried well against the Cheetahs, winning 33 metres and also got his name onto the scoresheet with a deserved try. Complimented those attacking efforts with a solid defensive shift, making eight tackles. Comes in ahead of Jordan Taufua who caught the eye in the Crusaders' win over the Chiefs.
5 Sam Whitelock Crusaders: Another assured display from the All Blacks enforcer, especially on defence where he made 11 tackles against the Chiefs. Was the men from Christchurch's go-to-man at the line-outs and beats out the Western Force's Wilhelm Steenkamp, who did his basics well against the Rebels.
4 Will Skelton Waratahs: Was impressive with ball in hand, winning 42 metres but also got stuck in against a physical Bulls team and lived to tell the tale. Skelton edges out James Boradhurst of the Hurricanes who was stood out for his side, in their win over the Blues.
3 Owen Franks Crusaders: Showed why he is the All Blacks' firs-choice tighthead prop after another impressive scrummaging display against the Chiefs. Franks also put his body on the line on defence with 11 hits and cleaned out the rucks with great intent.
2 Bismarck du Plessis Sharks: Went head to head against the Cheetahs' Adriaan Strauss, who is his closest rival for the Springbok number two jersey, and won that battle. Du Plessis found his jumpers at the lineouts, did well in the scrums and also made his mark on defence. Shota Horie did well for the Melbourne Rebels.
1 Beast Mtawarira Sharks: Was back to his best as a ball carrier, winning 43 metres on attack and also scrummed well alongside Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis. Mtawarira's effort sees him edging out Toby Smith of the Rebels, who did well in the scrums against the Force in Perth.