Now that the dust has settled in the southern hemisphere, we look at the players who stole the show in Round Twelve of Super Rugby.
Now that the dust has settled in the southern hemisphere, Planet Rugby looks at the players who stole the show in Round 12 of Super Rugby.
15 Luke Morahan (Reds): After the Reds had missed a number of tackles in the first half against the Chiefs, Morahan gave an inspired display of defence in the second 40 as the Chiefs threw wave after wave of attack at the defending champs culminating in three try-saving tackles by the full-back. A bit overeager with his tip-tackle on Sonny Bill Williams though…
14 Lwazi Mvovo (Sharks): Played on the left wing for the Sharks, but his length-of-the-field touchdowns – his second effort pure magic – made it impossible for us to leave the Bok flyer out.
13 Stirling Mortlock (Rebels): Gave another meaning to 'Super Sub' after the former Wallabies skipper came on as a replacement and brought the crowd to their feet as he scored a second-half try to seal the Rebels' massive 28-19 upset victory over the Crusaders.
12 Sonny Bill Williams (Chiefs): Did more than enough to restore his credibility with a physical, unflinching performance in the midfield for the Chiefs. Bagged a try for his efforts, and did his best to atone for the loss of midfield partner Richard Kahui to injury.
11 Julian Savea (Hurricanes):Savea's match-winning try against the Highlanders was probably the final tick needed to gain selection in the All Blacks training squad. Indeed, the future looks bright for this 1.92m, 108kg bundle of explosive power.
10 Kurtley Beale (Rebels): We had a few unhappy Pat Lambie fans last week, but surely even they can't argue (we hope!) over this week's selection of Beale who keeps his place in our XV after chalking up his second successive star showing.
9 Nick Phipps (Rebels): Played a vital role in the Rebels' upset win over the Crusaders by scoring two of his team's three tries. Wallabies coach Robbie Deans, who was watching in the stands, would have been pleased.
8 Nasi Manu (Highlanders): Put in a combative performance for the southerners and was all energy throughout – even a troublesome ankle injury couldn't stop the Highlanders' human wrecking ball from causing damage.
7 Liam Gill (Reds): It was a standout performance by the 19-year-old opensider, who had a field day at the breakdowns by stealing ball or forcing penalties at will and added another man-of-the-match performance to his resume.
6 Luke Braid (Blues): Handing Luke Braid the Blues' captaincy is one of the few applaudable decisions Pat Lam has made this year. The loose forward toiled extremely hard to lead his team to victory and end the franchise's torrid run of defeats.
5 Hugh Pyle (Rebels): The towering lock was a formidable force once again for the Rebels, and continues to impress in the second row where he quite literally shoulders a lot of responsibility. The assumption with the Rebels' big man is that it's a matter of when and not if he is handed a Wallabies jersey.
4 Eben Etzebeth (Stormers): The Stormers left fans with more questions than answers after scraping past the Cheetahs. But the question as to who will lock in for the Boks against England was at least answered. Etzebeth's physicality and aggression is exactly what Springbok boss Heyneke Meyer is looking for in South Africa's second row…
3 Werner Kruger (Bulls): Dropped anchor at scrum-time for the Bulls and powered over for the match-winning try to wrap up a solid all-round game against the Waratahs in Sydney.
2 John Ulugia (Waratahs): Came into the side for injured Wallabies hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau and gave an impressive display, especially on defence where he tackled like a machine. Wallabies supporters will also be encouraged by the sight of Saia Faainga crashing over the whitewash for the Reds, as he continued his comeback from injury with a fine showing off the bench.
1 Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks): The only other player to retain his place in our XV, the Springbok prop gave a five-star performance in his team's mauling of the Western Force in Durban. 'Beast' was rewarded with the man-of-the-match award after a solid effort in the scrums and a high work-rate in the tight-loose.
Compiled by Dave Morris