Now that the dust has settled in the south, we thought it was only right to hand out praise to the star players of Super Rugby, Round 11.
Now that the dust has settled in the southern hemisphere, we thought it was only right to hand out praise to the stars of Super Rugby, Round 11.
Super Rugby Team of the Week: Round 11
15 Andre Taylor (Hurricanes) – The Taylor of 2012 is back and we just love it. Memories of the 'Canes full-back cutting lines a couple of years ago seemed a distant memory in 2013 as he struggled to back up that form in a disappointing season. This year though he has recaptured his best and the Reds found that out the hard way on Saturday. Mention for Ben Smith as he, as usual, did his thing at fifteen in the Highlanders jersey.
14 Cory Jane (Hurricanes) – From one Hurricane to another, Jane stole the show at Westpac Stadium as he crossed for a hat-trick against the Reds. Granted a lot of the hard work and creativity was done by the likes of Dane Coles, Taylor and others, but he took his chances and reassured All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen that he is still his potent self as the Rugby Championship fast approaches. Mention for Brumby Joe Tomane.
13 Malakai Fekitoa (Highlanders) – Firstly a mention for Brumbies outside centre Tevita Kuridrani, who grabbed a double against the Chiefs on Friday. However, this prospect is refusing to ease off this season as Fekitoa again stole the show, scoring an unbelievable try which secured his side the bonus-point in Durban. 55 metres out, he shrugged off several attempted Sharks tacklers, put his foot to the floor and raced over for the try.
12 Ma'a Nonu (Blues) – The All Black inside centre has rarely looked himself in a Blues jersey this season, appearing disinterested throughout his side's stuttering start to Super Rugby 2014. But that changed on Friday against the Waratahs at Eden Park – Nonu was still far from his best, but caught the eye as he finished with an assist, a clean break, and two beaten defenders. The Blues need more from him. Mentions for Ryno Benjamin who hit some great lines for the Cheetahs in their basement battle with the Stormers, but his defence let him down, and the consistently excellent Alapati Leiua for the Hurricanes.
11 Willie le Roux (Cheetahs) – While many South African players and teams are struggling to unlock defences, Le Roux continues to do just that with ease. The Springbok scored one try and laid on another against the Stormers, whose youngster Devon Williams went well.
10 Matt Toomua (Brumbies) – If the Wallabies were picked tomorrow, then surely the half-backs would be Nic White and Toomua after this round's action. Toomua has all the tools to be an international for years to come and the question is where will he settle in the gold jersey. His performance against the Chiefs was faultless as he crossed the line twice and defended resolutely. A mention must go to Highlanders number ten Lima Sopoaga.
9 TJ Perenara (Hurricanes) – Tries in back-to-back weekends from Perenara as his combination with Beauden Barrett is becoming one of the best in the competition. Perenara sniffs out chances and his try against the Reds was just that. Aaron Smith came close.
8 Victor Vito (Hurricanes) – Beau Robinson can attest to the thumping hits wrought in Wellington by the 'Canes number eight. He was similarly powerful with ball in hand, racking up 30 metres including one clean break. Nasi Manu also turned in a physical display.
7 Jack Lam (Hurricanes) – In tandem with Vito, flanker Lam was a real presence for the Hurricanes, with 43 metres from eight carries and beating a noteworthy five defenders. A mention for the Highlanders' Shane Christie who dotted down against the Sharks.
6 Jerome Kaino (Blues) – A fantastic all-action effort from the All Blacks blindside, who is back with a bang in Super Rugby. 65 metres made, five defenders beaten, 12 tackles made and none missed as Kaino stood out in a big way in the familiar surroundings of Eden Park.
5 Rob Simmons (Reds) – On a weekend where few second-rows stood out, Simmons was a pillar of strength in yet another decidedly shaky Reds performance. The Australian cap made 25 metres from four carries, won all his lineout ball, and chipped in with an impressive fourteen tackles. While up in Pretoria, Victor Matfield continues to roll back the years and Joe Wheeler impressed as the Highlanders romped past the Sharks.
4 Patrick Tuipulotu (Blues) – Still just 21 years of age, Tuipulotu has justified his inclusion in the Blues' Super Rugby squad this season. On Friday, he matched Simmons' 25 metres, made a clean break and beat a couple defenders. He's a hard man to bring to ground.
3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen (Hurricanes) – We have mentioned him a few times already this season but that illustrates just how well Toomaga-Allen is playing. Four defenders beaten against the Reds while he was solid at the set-piece against what is a strong pack.
2 Dane Coles (Hurricanes) – Another man from Wellington going strongly this season is Coles, who is nailing down the All Blacks starting jersey thanks to recent Super Rugby showings. Like his tight five team-mates, Coles is comfortable with ball in hand and showed just that when setting up Jane with a nice inside ball. A mention for ever-reliable Brumby Stephen Moore, who continues to clock up the minutes without his form dipping.
1 Scott Sio (Brumbies) – Further enhanced his reputation against the Chiefs on Saturday as he continues to learn off Ben Alexander and Moore. Opposition prop Pauliasi Manu also went well while Blues veteran Tony Woodcock got through key work in victory over the 'Tahs.