Now that the dust has settled after Round Seven of Super Rugby, we select the players that stood out over the weekend.
Some tough decisions once again but we have decided on our XV, with the openside flank jersey having been fiercely contested. Because of this, one veteran Stormer makes a positional switch in a side that has three Fijians.
Super Rugby Team of the Week: Round Seven
15 Israel Dagg (Crusaders) – Looked back to his best form against the Bulls and was unlucky to leave Loftus empty handed in terms of points and tries. He racked up 169 metres and beat five defenders from 14 carries as he saw off Sharks full-back SP Marais, who in a disappointing game as a spectacle, impressed against the Force with a try and good running from the back.
14 Waisake Naholo (Highlanders) – Clermont are getting some finisher next season as Naholo continues his impressive start to the Super Rugby campaign with another try-scoring display. Stormers full-back Cheslin Kolbe was brushed aside as the big Fijian grabbed a brace and 115 metres, with Malakai Fekitoa and Ben Smith fortunate to feed someone so deadly on their outside.
13 Samu Kerevi (Reds) – It's been a miserable campaign so far for the Reds but Kerevi certainly didn't let his team down on Saturday. With Quade Cooper opening up space, the Fijian-born centre took full advantage. He constantly made ground with ball in hand, and when he got his chance from close range, he barrelled over for a try. Expect to see plenty more of those bullocking runs as Cooper gets back to full fitness. A mention also for Conrad Smith, who was at his influential best for the Hurricanes.
12 Burger Odendaal (Bulls) – A mention straight away for Lions inside centre Harold Vorster, who went well against the Reds. However, debutant Odendaal takes this after scoring a fine try against the Crusaders whilst being solid in defence at Loftus Versfeld.
11 Nemani Nadolo (Crusaders) – Give him an inch and he will punish you and that is exactly what happened in Pretoria when Nadolo barged his way over in an eventual losing cause. He sees off Nehe Milner-Skudder who was deadly off the bench for the Hurricanes, scoring twice as they finished off the Rebels.
10 Handre Pollard (Bulls) – Successive weeks as our number ten as Pollard impressed yet again for the Bulls, kicking 16 points against the Crusaders. His defensive solidity, game management with the boot and running threat easily make him South Africa's form fly-half. Man of the Match too.
9 TJ Perenara (Hurricanes) – The 'Canes are flying high, and Perenara showed once more just what a try-scoring threat he is. With 23 tries in just 50 Super Rugby appearances, Perenara is bearing down on Sarel Pretorius as the most prolific nine in the competition's history. To think he only turned 23 in January. Despite a late yellow card, Perenara was again instrumental.
8 Michael Leitch (Chiefs) – The Japan skipper has flown under the radar a little since his arrival in Super Rugby but impressed in Saturday's win over the Cheetahs. Leitch benefited from a fine Sonny Bill Williams offload for the opening try and was a general pest, with 11 carries and also an assist. A mention for Boom Prinsloo of the Cheetahs.
7 Warwick Tecklenburg (Lions) – A monster performance from Tecklenburg in Brisbane was capped off with a try against the Reds as the Lions made it three wins from four on their Australasian tour. The back-row is firing as a whole, but on Friday it was Tecklenburg who was most prominent; carrying, tackling and even making one clean break. A mention for Heinrich Brüssow who scored two tries in a losing cause for the Cheetahs while Callum Gibbins was a tackling machine for the Hurricanes.
6 Schalk Burger (Stormers) – The Springbok's 100th Super Rugby game and he played with the energy of a flanker running out for just his tenth. Burger carried a whopping 22 times, set up a try and was also smart with ball in hand, making offloads that caused the Highlanders problems during the match. Keep this up and the Boks may have to start him.
5 James Broadhurst (Hurricanes) – Another good shift from the underrated 'Canes lock in Friday's win over the Rebels. Works tirelessly and chipped in with 13 tackles, six carries and four lineout takes in Wellington. A mention for another hard-working second row in the Lions' Franco Mostert.
4 Luke Jones (Rebels) – On the losing side again but Jones keeps turning heads with his performances in this most crucial of World Cup years. He was utterly relentless against the Hurricanes, making 15 carries and 13 tackles in a dogged outing. Useful too at the lineout and breakdown.
3 Trevor Nyakane (Bulls) – The Bulls look to be coming into form and Nyakane played an influential role in the win over the Crusaders. Operating at tighthead, Nyakane held his own in the scrum, while chipping in with a couple of invaluable turnovers. If he can establish himself with the Bulls there, he might yet find himself starting at the World Cup. A mention also to Josh Hohneck for his all-action display for the Highlanders.
2 Ash Dixon (Highlanders) – Only 50 minutes for Dixon against the Stormers but we saw enough to include him ahead of Motu Matu'u and Adriaan Strauss, who were both effective. Great work in the scrum and the Highlanders' efficient line-out warranted his selection.
1 Reggie Goodes (Hurricanes) – The young loosehead is grabbing his opportunity with both hands. Goodes popped up with an assist against the Rebels and also weighed in with 13 tackles and five carries, winning a couple of turnovers to boot. He was run close by Tendai Mtawarira.