Now that the dust has settled in the southern hemisphere, it's time to hand out praise to the star performers of Super Rugby, Round Three.
Now that the dust has settled in the southern hemisphere, we thought it only right to hand out praise to the stars of Super Rugby, Round Three.
The Rebels, Blues and also the Highlanders in defeat impressed over the recent weekend action while we had two second-rows who were head and shoulders above their tournament rivals.
So without further ado, herewith our selection.
Super Rugby: Team of Round Three
15 Jason Woodward (Rebels) – Jesse Mogg was much-improved over the weekend with a try and an assist while Israel Folau added two more tries to his season tally which is now up to five as he put himself in the right places. However, Rebel Woodward has clearly worked hard in the off-season and added to his running threat with a bit more power up top. He made over 100 metres against the Cheetahs and deserves his spot.
14 Asaeli Tikoirotuma (Chiefs) – An early shift as the Fijian wing deserved a place after he was a constant threat with ball in hand while he also impressed in the air on defence. The Chiefs have real strength in depth in their backs so to nail down a spot shows how good he is.
13 Tamati Ellison (Rebels) – A wise acquisition from the Melbourne franchise as Ellison alongside the sizeable Mitch Inman could become a decent combination. Opposing players Francois Venter and Johann Sadie made a combined 26 tackles which illustrates how busy they were with these two, as Ellison adds much needed experience to what looks like being an impressive backline. Mention for Blues scorer George Moala who was a beast on Friday.
12 Kurtley Beale (Waratahs) – Tough to leave out Shaun Treeby after a titanic effort for the Highlanders that saw him impress in all areas while Jan Serfontein at the Bulls also went well. But it seems the Wallabies might have another option at inside centre this season as Beale is clicking alongside Bernard Foley in the early rounds. He's enjoying getting his hands on the ball more and with a try and two assists on Saturday, he gets our nod.
11 Tevita Li (Blues) – He will remember that win over the Crusaders for a good while. Li is one of many attacking weapons at Sir John Kirwan's disposal as the Blues' backline cut the Crusaders to ribbons in patches. Li's try down the left wing saw him shrug off more than one tackler directly from a restart as the hosts' purple patch left their visitors reeling. Tom English may feel hard done to by the selection though and he has every reason following his 168 metre performance that saw him beat eleven defenders. Li's try sees him edge this.
10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter (Bulls) – Mentions straight off the bat for Blues debutant Simon Hickey and also Liam Sopoaga of the Highlanders, the latter kicking five from five in an impressive performance against the Chiefs. But over at Loftus Versfeld, the Bulls were desperate for a victory and needed a general at number ten who was going to take the right options. Step forward Potgieter, who returned with style, kicking very well against the Lions.
9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow (Chiefs) In the battle of the All Black nines in Waikato, we had Kerr-Barlow coming out on top following a physical yet well-balanced effort. The 23-year-old was not 100 percent fit to start in their opener but boy did he return with a bang against the Highlanders. Over 50 running metres, defenders beaten and also a solid showing in defence with ten tackles sees him take our scrum-half spot. Mention for Luke Burgess.
8 Scott Higginbotham (Rebels) – Alongside a lock to be named later, Higgingbotham's was one of the performances of the round as the number eight mixed power with speed, skills and yes, kicking. He set up Woodward for his score via quick thinking and a measured boot and showed real leadership qualities throughout, capping his shift off with a well-taken try.
7 Luke Braid (Blues) – With Richie McCaw having injured his thumb and Sam Cane also currently being out, Braid and the impressive John Hardie surely made All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen make a few notes after their respective performances for the Blues and Highlanders. Braid does so much unseen work and never leaves anything in reserve as his nineteen tackles proves. Hardie meanwhile was a rock and deserved his score.
6 Liam Messam (Chiefs) – Started at eight but moved back to blindside in the second-half, Messam was his general-like best as he led the Chiefs past a spirited Highlanders side. That is two weeks in a row both he and Aaron Cruden have been calming influences and his timely score seven minutes after the break brought the hosts right back into the game. Meanwhile, young Sean McMahon at the Melbourne Rebels went very well on debut.
5 Sam Carter (Brumbies) – We come to the lock department which was two of the easiest calls we've ever had to make. Alongside the busy Scott Fardy, who scored a try, Carter came of age against the Western Force as he beat three defenders, made the most tackles in his side (thirteen) and along with several others carried well. Ewen McKenzie take note.
4 Joe Wheeler (Highlanders) – Throwing it out there; possibly the stand-out performance of the round. Wheeler's work on restarts, in the line-out, defensively and also with ball in hand deserves rousing applause. Big things await the 26-year-old if he keeps this form going. A mention for Hurricanes workhorse Jeremy Thrush, who gave his all in Cape Town.
3 Coenie Oosthuizen (Cheetahs) – With continued game time in the tighthead jersey, one cannot underplay the lift that will give the Springboks going into the World Cup. Jannie du Plessis is hardly nailed on as a starter so if Oosthuizen keeps on putting in strong set-piece, carrying and defensive efforts such as the one that saw him make seventeen tackles against the Rebels then more international starts in the number three jersey await.
2 Liam Coltman (Highlanders) – Sideline reporter Nathan Sharpe mentioned that Stephen Moore is one of the the consistent players he has played with and we echo that sentiment. The Brumby was his hard-working best but we could not overlook a likely future All Black. Coltman improved greatly from last week, making line-breaks and twelve tackles.
1 Ben Franks (Hurricanes) – Got through a heap of work at Newlands and was unlucky to be on the losing side. Franks' move from the Crusaders a couple of years ago seems to have reenergised the prop and fifteen tackles – the most in the game – is a superb effort.