Super Rugby: Team of the Week

Date published: April 25 2012

Now that the dust has settled in the southern hemisphere, Planet Rugby looks at the players who stole the show in Super Rugby, Round 9.

Now that the dust has settled in the southern hemisphere, Planet Rugby looks at the players who stole the show in Super Rugby, Round 9.

After the Crusaders' demolition job in Wellington, there should be no surprise that this week's team has a red tinge to it…

15 Israel Dagg (Crusaders): The All Blacks full-back is back to the form that wowed the crowds during the World Cup. Two tries were just the cherry on the cake at the, er, Cake Tin as Dagg put opposite number Andre Taylor – who made a number of unforced errors – to shame.
14 Zac Guildford (Crusaders): Made front page news for all the wrong reasons for a drunken rampage last year, but went on a rampage of a different sort in Wellington as he scythed through the Hurricanes defence like a hot knife through butter. Played on the left wing, but was too damn good to leave out.
13 Bryan Habana (Stormers): After two flat seasons by Habana's high standards, it's wonderful to see the wing cum centre back to his swerving, jinking, lightning best. Mention too for Robbie Fruean, who gets our vote for best solo try of Round Nine.
12 Dan Carter (Crusaders): Another world class playmaker playing out of position over the weekend, but still managed to get the nod in our XV. Carter marked his 100th match for the Crusaders with a try, while his tactical awareness, decision-making and execution of the chosen action was rarely anything but precise.
11 Hosea Gear (Highlanders): Started the season in third gear, but it's safe to say that the All Blacks speedster is now at full throttle. In a stop-start match in Dunedin, the Highlanders only managed two tries with Gear responsible for setting up both of them.
10 Mike Delany (Highlanders): It was certainly a weekend for the fly-halves with Morne Steyn, Peter Grant and Tom Taylor once again pulling all the right strings for their respective teams. Tough call, but in the end we went with Delany's winning comeback to Super Rugby. The one-Test All Black answered the Highlanders' SOS and delivered an all-round performance upon his return from Japan that included converting seven of his nine goal attempts for a haul of 20 points.
9 Andy Ellis (Crusaders): Yes, another Crusader. Ellis directed play superbly and was a vital cog in the red and black machine, especially with his astute kick-and-chase game. The halfback has made a timely return to form considering his main rival for the All Blacks number nine jersey, Jimmy Cowan, is playing his last season in Super Rugby before heading off to Gloucester.
8 Kieran Read (Crusaders): Outstanding performance from the Crusaders number eight and stand-in skipper, who continues to lead from the front week in and week out. Richie McCaw may be set for his long awaited return, but we feel Read has earned the right to keep the captain's armband.
7 Sam Cane (Chiefs): The Chiefs hard-hitter didn't miss a beat in Durban and the beaten Sharks were left battered and bruised mainly because of this man.
6 Jacques Potgieter (Bulls): A man-of-the-match performance from the explosive Bulls flanker, who continues to attract all the right kinds of attention after another powerful performance. And deservedly so after Potgieter tackled and tackled and tackled again.
5 James Horwill (Reds): A standout performance from the Reds' leader, who applied enormous amounts of pressure on the competition's best defensive team and was rewarded with a try for his tireless effort.
4 Kane Douglas (Waratahs): Not reluctant to get stuck in, Douglas put in a strong driving game when it was tight and proved to be a handful for the Rebels when linking and carrying the ball in open play.
3 Charlie Faumuina (Blues): Here he is again! The Blues rock just refuses to take a step back for anyone and continues to hold his head high despite being on the losing team more often than not.
2 Stephen Moore (Brumbies): Didn't last the full 80, but the veteran made a big enough impact during his time on the pitch. The 66-Test veteran put an emphasis on increasing his work at the breakdown and around the field to add extra dimensions to his game, and it certainly came to the fore in Pretoria.
1 Steven Kitshoff (Stormers): A powerful scrummager as well as a strong runner who was very mobile and seldom far away from the contact point against the Reds.

Compiled by Dave Morris