Super Rugby: Team of the Week

Date published: April 4 2016

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

The Chiefs stole the show once again but there were also significant wins for the Crusaders, Rebels and Kings, who move off the bottom.

Let's see who made the cut.

Super Rugby Team of the Week, Round 6

15 Damien McKenzie (Chiefs)This selection is almost becoming automatic. McKenzie's sensational form continued in Canberra, as the full-back provided a try and an assist. With the ball in hand he's a constant threat, making two line breaks from multiple carries while landing seven out of his ten kicks. What a talent. Dane Haylett-Petty gave his all for the Force.

14 Johnny McNicholl (Crusaders)Faultless in his team's victory over the Lions on Friday, making the most metres in the game (116) while offering solidity under the high ball. He was deserving of his try also set up two scores on the night and sees off Bulls wing Jamba Ulengo as our 14.

13 Malakai Fekitoa (Highlanders): Three players deserving of a mention are Lionel Mapoe of the Lions, Blues centre Rene Ranger and Sunwolves star Harumichi Tatekawa, who all had strong games. However, Fekitoa was in much better form on Friday against the Force, offering a threat every time he touched the ball. He's forming a nice combination with Rob Thompson.

12 Ryan Crotty (Crusaders): Firstly the performance of Kings inside centre Shane Gates deserves a round of applause. However, there was only going to be one wearer of this jersey after Crotty's hat-trick against the Lions. A week after rival for an All Black spot Charlie Ngatai scored four, this was a timely response from the experienced centre.

11 James Lowe (Chiefs)This is a wing enjoying his rugby, and who can blame him. Lowe plays with a smile on his face and on Saturday he racked up yet more running metres and scored two tries as well, taking him to five for the season. Highlanders wing Patrick Osborne also impressed, as did Crusaders talent Nemani Nadolo, but Lowe was a cut above for the Chiefs.

10 Aaron Cruden (Chiefs)Outstanding. Three unbelievable try assists from the fly-half when nothing seemed on. Definitely the front-runner to take over from Dan Carter in black at the moment as he shrugs off admirable challenges for our shirt from Sunwolves pivot Tusi Pisi and Jack Debreczeni of the Rebels. A special mention must also go to Lions playmaker Elton Jantjies, who was brilliant against the Crusaders.

9 Aaron Smith (Highlanders): Maybe harsh on busy Chiefs scrum-half Brad Weber, who continues to turn heads with his performances, but we go for Smith after he set up two vital scores against the Force. Despite being without the injured Lima Sopoaga outside him, Smith once again proved to be the heartbeat of the champions' effort as they saw off a spirited Perth outfit.

8 Ben McCalman (Force)Speaking of the Force, the return of McCalman at number eight was a noticeable one as the Wallaby got them over the advantage line on several occasions. He crossed for their second try of the game and was a rock throughout in both attack and defence. A fine comeback to edge Steven Luatua and Liam Squire of the Blues and Highlanders respectively.

7 Sean McMahon (Rebels): It was telling that up against Wallabies incumbent Michael Hooper, McMahon was the better openside. An outstanding leader for the Rebels despite remarkably only being 21. Nine carries, thirteen tackles and three lineout takes to his name, he edges out Lions flanker Jaco Kriel.

6 Pablo Matera (Jaguares): Matera, a late inclusion due to Tomás Lezana being ruled out, was a rock for the Jaguares against the Blues. The 22-year-old takes no nonesense on the field and was always a willing carrier in Albany. He gets the nod over Brumbies workhorse Scott Fardy, who put in another mammoth shift that saw him rewarded with a try.

5 Tomás Lavanini (Jaguares):  Makes our team for the second successive week after another busy shift in a losing cause for the Argentine side. Once again, Lavanini did well in defence with ten tackles and also impressed when cleaning out the rucks and putting in big hits. Comes in ahead of the Bulls' RG Snyman and Taleni Seu of the Chiefs.

4 Steven Sykes (Kings)Impressed, once again, with his leadership which helped the men from Port Elizabeth to a deserved first victory of the season. Sykes led the way by scoring one of his side's four tries, but also impressed in defence with nine tackles and at the line-outs where he won five balls.

3 Charlie Faumuina (Blues) Another impressive display at the coalface of the Blues' forward effort against a strong Jaguares pack in Albany. Faumuina scrummed well but was also in the thick of the action as a ball carrier gaining thirteen metres from six runs with one clean break, three defenders beaten and an offload.

2 Armand van der Merwe (Lions):  Made a huge impact as a replacement in his side's defeat to the Crusaders in Johannesburg. Van der Merwe was a revelation with ball in hand, scoring a brace of tries, after gaining 57 metres with two clean breaks and six defenders beaten. Edges out Edgar Marutlulle of the Kings. 

1 Toby Smith (Rebels)On top all afternoon against Angus Ta'avao at the scrum and took his try well, running a sharp support line off Lopeti Timani. Six tackles too for the Wallaby prop as he helped his team beat the 'Tahs.

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