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 13.
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 13.
Super Rugby Team of the Week: Round 13
15 Ben Smith (Highlanders): Poor old Steve Hansen – how do you choose between Smith and Izzy Dagg for the black 15 jersey? Smith was a handful once again, beating seven Lions tacklers. A mention for Jayden Hayward.
14 Johnny McNichol (Crusaders): Both McNicholl and his team-mate Nemani Nadolo were in the running this week after tearing up the Reds, but we went with the youngster. McNicholl set up one try and scored twice, showcasing his impressive pace and making 149 metres, two clean breaks and beating three defenders along with some offloads. He's now scored five tries this season.
13 Juan de Jongh (Stormers): The Stormers were really good….for 20 minutes. A fast start in Pretoria was largely thanks to two amazing tries that both came courtesy of the Bok 13, who created the first and scored the second. Mentions too for Marcel Barche and Tim Nanai-Williams..
12 Kyle Godwin (Force): A top effort from the Force backs, who did very well with mere scraps of possession. Godwin put in a solid shift of defence too, making 10 hits. A mention for Christian Leali'ifano.
11 Richard Buckman (Highlanders): He wore 14 but we couldn't leave the Highlanders flyer out of our team after scoring two fabulous tries. His pace was breathtaking and the way he stepped around the Lions defence for his first try had the fans on their feet. A mention too for Lolagi Visinia .
10 Colin Slade (Crusaders): A huge part of the Crusaders recent run of five wins on the bounce. Slade is blooming with confidence at fly-half and kicked like a dream against the Reds, landing 11/11 shots with five penalties and six conversions from all areas of the pitch. Also made an assist and 59 metres. A mention to for Handre Pollard for his 20 points.
9 Faf de Klerk (Lions): A tough choice for the number nine jersey this week with a handful of candidates but the Lions livewire, whose try sparked a thrilling second-half comeback, was key to his team's revival, marshalling the pack as they kept it much tighter after the break.
8 Luke Whitelock Crusaders: Arguably the lesser heralded Whitelock after George, who comes after Sam, Whitelock showed an impressive turn of speed against the Reds for his try and also provided an assist. The number eight made 91 metres, 11 tackles, beat three defenders and won four line-outs. Forget making the Team of the Week, Whitelock is arguably the Player of the Week.
7 Jarrad Butler (Brumbies): An outstanding defensive performance, during which Butler made an exceptional 18 hits as the Brumbies rearguard action contributed heavily to a sweet victory over ex-boss Jake White and his high-flying Sharks. The openside conceded no penalties and missed just one ball-carrying opponent. Mentions for the Lions' Jaco Kriel who was influential in attack, making 17 carries and nearly 60 metres, and Force skipper Matt Hodgson who tackled his heart out and made several telling breakdown interventions.
6 Angus Cottrell (Force):: A real presence around the Bloemfontein turf, Cottrell's enveloping of opponents stunted many a Cheetahs attack, while his breakdown and line-out work got the Force on their way to a long-awaited win on South African soil. He beats out Elliot Dixon of the Highlanders, whose defensive work was especially impressive with 15 tackles made.
5 Martin Muller (Lions): Excelled in the lineouts as he took on the bulk of the aerial duties with 14 successful takes from 14, while making a none-too-shabby 23 metres in carries in Dunedin. Mentions for the Bulls' Victor Matfield and the Brumbies' try-scorer Sam Carter, both of whom defended well.
4 Paul Willemse (Bulls): A revelation alongside the inspirational presence of Matfield in the Bulls engine room. Willemse won 11 from 11 line-outs, made 18 metres from six carries, and one clean break. The display of the Blues' Tom Donnelly in the loose also deserves recognition.
3 Ben Tameifuna (Chiefs): Props aren't supposed to score tries. Two tries from the big man, who is simply unstoppable close to the line.
2 Stephen Moore Brumbies: Mr Consistent finds his way into our Team of the Week once more after appearing following Round 12, after making 13 tackles in the win over the Sharks in Canberra. At the heart of the Brumbies pack, Moore was industrious as ever. A mention for Adriaan Strauss
1 Wyatt Crockett (Crusaders): If you're a loosehead prop and you opt to tap a penalty from five metres out when trailing on the scoreboard, you better make it count. Fortunately Crockett forced his way over for a smart try to cap an impressive showing in Brisbane, where he had Greg Holmes on toast in the scrum in the first half.