Now that the dust has settled in the southern hemisphere, Planet Rugby looks at the players who stole the show in Super Rugby, Round 8.
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 8.
After another pulsating weekend of Super Rugby action, we have a new tournament leader after the Stormers' unbeaten run was brought to an end by Tom Taylor, erm …we mean the Crusaders.
The Chiefs' bonus-point win over the Cheetahs took the Kiwis top of the pile, while the Brumbies reinstated themselves as Aussie conference leaders thanks to their crushing win over the Rebels.
Another Bulls victory leaves them breathing down the Stormers' necks in the SA conference, while the Sharks left New Zealand on a high with five more valuable points in the bag after seeing off the struggling Blues.
So without further ado, here comes our offering – be sure to send in your own 15-1 team line-ups.!
15 Joe Pietersen (Stormers) – His return from Bayonne has been such a plus for the men from Cape Town. Not only is he in the high percentage from the tee but Pietersen offers a lot in attack. We saw that against the Highlanders and also over this past weekend as he caused the Crusaders plenty of bother.
14 Akona Ndungane (Bulls) – Nothing flash but frighteningly efficient from the veteran winger. Ndungane scored his first try of the season on Saturday and once again showed that he is more than capable of avoiding the touchline when under pressure. Great lines from him, getting in ahead of Lelia Masaga.
13 Richard Kahui (Chiefs) – Maybe a touch harsh on Juan de Jongh of the Stormers – who seemingly never misses a tackle – as he was strong in Christchurch. However, for his solidity and intelligence both in defence and attack, Kahui is our man. Must be nice playing outside offload king Sonny Bill Williams.
12 Pat McCabe (Brumbies) – Speaking of Sonny Bill, we come to the number twelve slot where three names popped up. McCabe for his bustling showing against the Rebels, Tim Whitehead for running good lines in Auckland and finally Williams for his moments of brilliance. But McCabe was consistently excellent.
11 Bryan Habana (Stormers): Much-improved performances of late from Habana, with his pace looking threatening once again while his work-rate was also mighty impressive. Scored a crucial try too that gave the Stormers a sniff at victory.
10 Tom Taylor (Crusaders): The final scoreline should have read: Taylor 31-24 Stormers. What else can we say? Keep hold of that number twelve jersey for now, Daniel.
9 Francois Hougaard (Bulls): Piet van Zyl has taken to Super Rugby like a duck to water in Bloemfontein was again busy for the Cheetahs on Saturday. If the livewire keeps this up during the current Springbok camp he is attending then Heyneke Meyer may keep him around. Unfortunately for Van Zyl though, we've plumped for the probable new South Africa scrum-half, Hougaard, who showed immense power to score against the Lions and was nuggety throughout.
8 Keegan Daniel (Sharks): Played a real captain's innings for his team: Daniel set up the Sharks' first touchdown after intercepting and running half the length of the field before being brought down just short of the line, scored himself in the 47th minute to give his team back the advantage, and again featured in the lead-up to the visitors' bonus-point try.
7 Michael Hooper (Brumbies): The 20-year-old (named player of the tournament in last year's junior World Cup) is enjoying a stand-out season in 2012 for the Brumbies. He made his mark with a brilliant performance over the Highlanders and proved it was no fluke with another impressive display against the Rebels.
6 CJ Stander (Bulls): With first-choice flanks Deon Stegmann and Dewald Potgieter nursing early-season injuries, Stander has taken his chance to shine with both hands. The talismanic forward who carries the ball strongly, turns over opposition ball at the breakdown and holds up opponents in the tackle, has proved to be a very valuable player for the three-time champions.
5 Brodie Retallick (Chiefs): Another solid outing from the Chiefs tall timber. At 2.04m, Retallick – playing in his first Super Rugby season – has taken to the competition as if he was a veteran.
4 Scott Fardy (Brumbies): Was pushing for a place on the Brumbies bench, never mind the starting line-up when the season kicked off. But this two-try, man of the match performance will certainly earn him regular starts in the future.
3 Charlie Faumuina (Blues): Muscled up superbly for the Blues in a solid all-round performance. Tony Woodcock may have crossed for a try, but it was Faumuina who powered his way to the line to get his front-row colleague over it.
2 Craig Burden (Sharks): The former wing had mighty big shoes to fill following the injury to Bok hooker Bismarck du Plessis, but has now put in strong back-to-back performances that has left coach John Plumtree with a selection headache ahead of Saturday's clash with the Chiefs.
1 Sona Taumalolo (Chiefs): If this guy gets within touching distance of the tryline, he scores. It's no wonder he's currently the leading try-scorer in Super Rugby this season (six). Not bad for a prop!