Now that the dust has settled in the southern hemisphere, we thought it only right to give praise to the stars of Super Rugby, Round Six.
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 Six.
So without further ado, herewith our selection.
Super Rugby: Team of Round Six
15 Ben Smith (Highlanders): Now this was a much-discussed decision as on the one hand Israel Folau scored two tries, running 114 metres while Smith was up on 110. However, Folau's tries were free run-ins to the line from 20 and 35 metres out while Smith was absolutely superb in all aspects for the Highlanders. The All Black didn't put a foot wrong and could soon be first choice fifteen for head coach Steve Hansen.
14 Cornal Hendricks (Cheetahs): What a finish his try was at the Blues. From an outstanding flat pass from Willie le Roux, who continues to shine when he moves up to the first line of attack in the second-half, Hendricks did the rest as he wrong-footed the final defender Frank Halai superbly at Eden Park. A couple of other players to mention here and they are Alapati Leiua and Alofa Alofa.
13 George Moala (Blues): The find of this season Malakai Fekitoa almost got in on this tackle alone, but Moala edges him for this spot after his performance against the Cheetahs. The centre has been a devastating runner so far in 2014 – the Blues will hope it continues.
12 Kurtley Beale (Waratahs): What a response from both team and player from their loss to the Brumbies. Beale was highlighted as being a weak defensive link in midfield in that Canberra clash but there was no such concern in Round Six as he was 100 percent in the tackle. What made him stand out though were two assists for Folau as he sliced through the Rebels and ultimately was the difference between the sides. Such an attacking threat.
11 Robbie Coleman (Brumbies): For a long time he has been a versatile option for the Brumbies, but this year the injury to Joe Tomane and now Henry Speight sees Coleman continue in his wing spot. He's taken to it pretty well hasn't he with another two tries claimed on Saturday, which takes him up to four this season. A mention for returning Highlanders winger Patrick Osborne here who also went well, grabbing himself an opportunistic try.
10 Lima Sopoaga (Highlanders): First off we have mentions for Reds playmaker Quade Cooper and Hurricanes fly-half Beauden Barrett, who each scored a couple of tries for the respective team over the weekend. However, for his game management, decision making, kicking in front of goal and running game, Sopoaga gets the nod at 10. Nine kicks out of ten attempts from the Highlanders fly-half in an assured showing at Forsyth Barr Stadium.
9 Aaron Smith (Highlanders): One commentator put it simply on Friday when he said Smith is so far ahead of his All Black rivals. We agree to a point as he seems determined to avoid his mini Super Rugby slump of 2013 when he was benched. Another fast-paced showing from Smith saw him get the better of two-assist man TJ Perenara before coming off.
8 Peter Saili (Blues): Another tough call as there were plenty of candidates, including Nasi Manu who made 19 tackles and Scott Higginbotham who carried well in the loose but was guilty of a few too many offences and getting on the wrong side of the official. Saili though was a carrying threat throughout for the Blues as their back-row again impressed.
7 Matt Hodgson (Force): Another big day at the office for the Force skipper, who crossed the whitewash twice and led the way in a massive defensive effort. A mention to for Highlander Shane Christie who made a whopping 29 tackles in victory over the Hurricanes.
6 Steven Luatua (Blues): A handful of players worth mentioning here with Jacques Potgieter doing well for the 'Tahs and Willem Alberts scoring again for the Sharks. But the Blues flank stood out, touching down his team's first try, making seven carries and was the game's top line-out target. Perfect timing from a personal point of view too on Jerome Kaino's return.
5 Brodie Retallick (Chiefs): Still just 22, Retallick is playing like he's been around for a decade. Impressive carries while he is working his way through masses of rucks each game, he deserves his spot here even if the Chiefs lost. Mention for James Broadhurst.
4 Lood de Jager (Cheetahs): With injuries hitting the Springboks' second-row stocks, De Jager is certainly putting his hand up to Heyneke Meyer. His strong showings – the latest coming against the Blues in Auckland – saw his abrasive style do damage. Big potential.
3 Ben Alexander (Brumbies): Another big game from the Brumbies front-row forward, especially at scrum-time where Alexander did a lot of damage. He carried very well too.
2 Bismarck du Plessis (Sharks): Not a lot of standout candidates but a mention for Stephen Moore, who is having another excellent season. Bismarck's value in getting 'go forward' ball is invaluable though and the Sharks set-piece was solid as ever in Round Six.
1 Sekope Kepu (Waratahs): Hard work is what you want from your props and the 'Tahs loosehead made an impressive 13 tackles. A mention too for the Highlanders' Kane Hames, who also put in a big effort around the field in that high-scoring Dunedin clash.