Super Rugby: Team of the Week

Date published: March 28 2016

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Now that the dust has settled after Round Five of Super Rugby, we select the players that stood out over the weekend.

Big wins for the Chiefs, Hurricanes and Highlanders dominate the headlines over the last weekend, while four South Africans make the pack.

Let's get started.

Super Rugby Team of the Week, Round 5

15 Damien McKenzie (Chiefs)Even having missed five kicks at goal, McKenzie is on too much of a hot streak to be left out. Super Rugby's top try scorer added two to his tally in another lively outing against the Force, in which he also provided two assists and made 18 runs. All Black in waiting. Mentions for Israel Folau and David Havili.

14 Jack Wilson (Highlanders)Wilson was playing Sevens for England only in February and marked his Super Rugby debut with a well-taken try as the Highlanders cruised in Melbourne. Busy with the ball in hand, making nine runs.

13 Ngani Laumape (Hurricanes)Switched to our 13 slot from inside centre, Laumape has bubbled under the radar until the last two rounds, with his hard running style punishing defences. Scored another try on Friday, as Laumape beat eight defenders off 11 carries and made seven tackles.

12 Charlie Ngatai (Chiefs): Four tries (four!) for the Chiefs stalwart on Saturday as his side tore the Force to shreds. Firmly on Steve Hansen's radar, Ngatai went past six defenders and made three clean breaks. Mentions for Jerómino de la Fuente and Matt Toomua.

11 Nemani Nadolo (Crusaders)Good competition for this spot from James Lowe and Akihito Yamada but the Fiji superstar can't be left out. Destructive as ever against the Sharks, Nadolo did well to ground the ball for his key try in the second half. Topped 100 metres with the ball in hand and also set up Havili's try with a brilliant offload.

10 Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes)The 24-year-old scored 22 – which included a try as well – of the Hurricanes points in their 42-20 victory over the Kings on Friday. The All Black gained 91 metres and made seven tackles, as his influential style of play helped the Wellington side to a convincing win over the newcomers from South Africa. Lima Sopoaga misses out. 

9 Nick Phipps (Waratahs): Instrumental both on attack and defence in this low-scoring affair at the Suncorp Stadium, making ten tackles – the most by any player in both teams – and beat two defenders with ball in hand. Phipps executed a well guided skip pass that led to Israel Folau crossing for his first of two tries in their 15-13 win over the Reds. Andy Ellis misses the cut.

8 Michael Leitch (Chiefs): Japan captain got all his basics right and ensured that the Chiefs got quality first phase ball in their 53-10 thumping of the Force on Saturday. The 27-year-old not only crossed the whitewash but assisted James Lowe with his 54th minute five-pointer. Leitch made six tackles, missing none, testament to his resilience on defence. Liam Squire narrowly misses out on a spot.

7 David Pocock (Brumbies): One of the best loose forwards in the competition, the Australian made eleven tackles – the most by any player in the match – in their 25-18 victory over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein. Pocock's ability to dominate the contact resulted in him gaining valuable metres. His ability to effect turnovers was an integral part of the Brumbies' overall dominance at the breakdown. Hurricanes' Ardie Savea came close.

6 Sikhumbuzo Notshe (Stormers)The Stormers' loose forward put in yet another stellar performance. Notshe gained 40 metres, beating two defenders in their 13-8 victory over the Jaguares in Buenos Aires, and his defence was as clinical as his attacking prowess making an impressive 18 tackles – the most by any Stormers player. Tom Sanders of the Chiefs and Hurricanes' Vaea Fifita both miss out on a spot.

5 RG Snyman (Bulls)Was at the forefront of the Bulls' forward effort against the Sunwolves in Singapore. Snyman was a willing ball carrier, making eight runs and gaining 26 metres with a clean break, one defender beaten and two offloads. Also impressed in the lineouts with ten takes, even stealing one of the Sunwolves' balls.

4 Tomás Lavanini (Jaguares): Won his personal duel with Eben Etzebeth, which was no mean feat as Etzebeth has impressed every week and also played well in Buenos Aires. Lavanini caught the eye with the intensity in which he cleaned out the rucks and on defence with 10 tackles. Carried 12 times with one clean break, with four defenders beaten and two offloads. Lavanini also poached a ball at the lineout to go with his five takes and beats out Etzebeth and Luke Jones of the Rebels.

3 Frans Malherbe (Stormers)Showed why he is rated as the Springboks' first-choice tighthead prop with a superb all-round performance against the Jaguares. Malherbe was at the forefront of the Stormers' strong scrummaging display, cleaned out the rucks with great ferocity and was one of his side's top tacklers with 15 hits.

2 Adriaan Strauss (Bulls): Back to his best and delivered an inspired display in his side's victory over the Sunwolves. Strauss led from the front, impressed with accurate throw-ins at the line-outs and scored a trademark try from set-piece drive. Comes in ahead of Torsten van Jaarsveld of the Cheetahs.

1 Allan Alaalatoa (Brumbies): Came off the bench in Bloemfontein and impressed with his solid scrummaging against the Cheetahs, but it was a clever offload out the back for Ben Alexander's try which sealed his spot. Alaalatoa also impressed in defence with five tackles and edges out the Reds' Sef Faagase.

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