Now that the dust has settled in the south, we thought it was only right to hand out praise to the stars of Super Rugby, Round 12.
Now that the dust has settled over in the southern hemisphere, Planet Rugby thought it was only right to hand out some praise to the stars of Super Rugby, Round 12.
Super Rugby Team of the Week: Round 12
15 Tim Nanai-Williams (Chiefs): Given free reign at full-back against the Lions, Nanai-Williams excelled. Popping up at first receiver and constantly fixing defenders to the spot, his try – the Chiefs' sixth – was just reward at the death for a fine all-round performance. Mentions for Ben Smith and Charles Piutau.
14 Johnny McNicholl (Crusaders): There were a handful of candidates for the wing berths and Damian de Allende deserves a mention for another strong game for the Stormers. But McNicholl gets the nod for his effort that involved a try, five defenders beaten and ten tackles made.
13 Malakai Fekitoa (Highlanders): His remarkable rise continues and even though his side lost to the Stormers in Cape Town, the 21-year-old made a big impact, gaining 70 metres and scored a try in the process. Kept the defence busy which is no mean feat considering he was playing against the home side's Springbok midfield pairing of Jean de Villiers and Juan de Jongh.
12 Ma'a Nonu (Blues): After coping a lot of flack earlier in the season, the All Black midfielder was in scintillating form against the Reds and returns to our team for the second straight week after creating two tries and playing a key role in setting up a third. Mentions too for Ryan Crotty and Tom Marshall.
11 Lolagi Visinia (Blues): The Blues youngster continues to impress and proved a handful for the Reds in his side's victory in Auckland. Visinia crossed over for a deserved try and gained 118 metres with two defenders beaten and four offloads. Also did his bit on defence with a handful of tackles.
10 Bernard Foley (Waratahs): An underrated prospect in Australia, Foley is in good form and deserving of further international recognition. His game management has improved and the inside ball for Matt Carraro's try was a gem. Foley also bagged a try and finished with 19 points. A mention too for Colin Slade who kicked excellently against the Brumbies.
9 Aaron Smith (Highlanders): Another polished display from the All Black, who always looked dangerous on attack in Cape Town. Smith was rewarded with a superb individual try for his efforts but also turned provider for Ben Smith with a perfectly-placed grubber kick.
8 Jerome Kaino (Blues): Kaino is the Blues' everyman – dependable at the line-out, a fine carrier and rock solid in defence. Settling back into Super Rugby hasn't been too much of a struggle for the World Cup winner, who shone again in the rout of the Reds. Warren Whiteley deserves a nod for his work too.
7 Michael Hooper (Waratahs): World class. That's what Hooper truly is; a rock in defence and terror at the breakdown, but also a supreme athlete. 17 tackles, four defenders beaten and 54 metres made capped a good evening for the Wallaby.
6 Schalk Burger (Stormers): Selected almost for that one moment of audacious skill alone that lead to Frans Malherbe's try. Rising to the occasion on his first appearance at Newlands since 2012, Burger tore around the park before departing to rapturous applause from the Cape Town faithful. A key man playing a key role in only the Stormers' third win of the season. A mention for another warhorse in Richie McCaw, who made an impressive 20 tackles.
5 Sam Whitelock (Crusaders): The All Black was once again dominant at the line-outs for the seven-time champions in their win over the Brumbies. Was also a willing ball-carrier and did well on defence with seven tackles. Beats out Victor Matfield who impressed in the Bulls' win over the Cheetahs.
4 Will Skelton (Waratahs): The Sydneysiders' enforcer got through plenty of work in the tight exchanges, especially in the way he cleaned out the rucks which helped create a decent platform for his half-backs to launch attacks. Also caught the eye with ball in hand, gaining 35 metres with three defenders beaten and a try assist.
3 Frans Malherbe (Stormers): It's not often that a front-row scores two tries but Malherbe had a dose of white line fever against the Highlanders in Cape Town and accomplished the feat as early as the 28th minute. But apart from his tries the Springbok also scrummed well and gained 28 metres on attack. A mention for Jeffrey Tommaga-Allen whose try was excellent against the Waratahs.
2 Stephen Moore (Brumbies): Although his side came off second-best against the Crusaders in Christchurch, Moore was one of the best players on the park. Scored a deserved try and gained 77 metres on attack but also impressed at the coalface of the Brumbies' forward effort. Was also a menace on defence with seven tackles.
1 Paulasi Manu (Chiefs): The big man got on the scoreboard in Hamilton for the champions as part of a new front row alongside Nathan Harris and Josh Hohneck that worked well. He should thank Hohneck for the extra weight behind him as he rumbled over. A handful of tackles to boot.