Now that the dust has settled in the southern hemisphere, Planet Rugby thought it was only right to hail the stars of Super Rugby, Round 7.
Now that the dust has settled in the southern hemisphere, Planet Rugby thought it was only right to hail the star men of Super Rugby, Round 7.
The Hurricanes, Stormers and Bulls boast three players apiece this week so without further ado, here comes out line-up. Send in your own XVs.
15 Joe Pietersen (Stormers): An outstanding contributor for the Stormers against the Highlanders on Saturday. Pietersen began and finished the try of the match (and arguably the tournament) in the first half, posed a continuous attacking threat and helped negate the Highlanders' attempts to control the match with their kicking game.
14 Lelia Masaga (Chiefs): A constant threat in the Chiefs' star-studded backline, Masaga – in his first game back from injury – put on a show throughout the night out wide with some powerful runs that kept the Force defence on their toes. Got himself on the scoresheet too.
13 Robert Ebersohn (Cheetahs): Scored two tries which laid the platform for another Cheetahs victory. Ebersohn's brace was key in the Cheetahs' surge in the opening 40, that led to an unassailable 23-0 lead at half-time against the Lions.
12 James O'Connor (Rebels): Exposed some tired and patently disinterested Blues defence in Melbourne. O'Connor ended the match with 24 points, and aside from an important goal-kicking display, his surges with ball in hand allowed the Rebels to cross the gainline regularly.
11 Zac Guildford (Crusaders): Tough one this. In my right ear, the name Bryan Habana is mentioned and in the left Julian Savea… in the end, we thought Guildford's incisive back play solid defence and intelligent kicking was enough to give him the nod. And we didn't even mention his try… whoops.
10 Morne Steyn (Bulls): Although the Crusaders outscored the Bulls by three tries to two they were undone by Steyn who slotted eight of his 10 shots at goal. The Bok pivot also played a hand (or boot) in setting up Wynand Olivier's try, which proved to be a crucial score in the end.
9 Francois Hougaard (Bulls): While his tactical kicking did not quite hit the mark, he was in rampant form in other areas of play. Hougaard got the Bulls out of a few sticky situations with great cross-cover defence, snatching rogue balls close to his line from in front of the charging Crusaders. It was no surprise the Bok number nine received the official man of the match award for his energetic showing.
8 Scott Higginbottom (Reds): The big number eight was outstanding for the Reds, as the Wallaby loose forward bagged a brace and was a menace at the tackle point, which halted much of the Brumbies' momentum. Special mention too for Kieran Read – the inspirational Crusaders skipper who never gave up.
7 Karl Lowe (Hurricanes): The frustrated Sharks had no answer to Lowe's physical presence at the breakdown, as the Hurricanes' openside piled on the pressure throughout the match while his defence swallowed up opposition ball-carriers.
6 Rynhardt Elstadt (Stormers): On the back of a bruising encounter with the Bulls and after a tiring journey to New Zealand, the lock cum flank threw everything he had at the Highlanders and came out on top – an imposing figure in the tight and loose.
5 Andries Bekker (Stormers): Quite literally a tower of strength for the Stormers whose line-out was rock solid, with Bekker unstoppable in garnering a steady supply of ball.
4 Jason Eaton (Hurricanes): The former All Black proved his worth once again to a Hurricanes pack that's growing in stature by the week. A few more performances like this, and we may see Eaton back in black for the June Test series.
3 WP Nel (Cheetahs): Spearheaded a dominant Cheetahs scrum, made a couple of key turnovers on the deck and put in a ton of work across the field.
2 Dane Coles (Hurricanes): A combative effort from the Kiwi rake on attack and defence, whilst pinpoint accuracy at the line-out and dominant showing up front made him one of the standout performers in New Plymouth.
1 Dean Greyling (Bulls): Don't you just love seeing a prop in full flight? We do. Greyling's unrelenting work up front aside, it's his try against the seven-time Super Rugby champs that will be remembered the most after selling a dummy any back would have been proud of and diving over for only his second Super Rugby touchdown. He's probably still watching the replays.
By Dave Morris