Super Rugby: Team of the Week

Date published: June 30 2015

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After two thrilling Super Rugby semi-finals we pick out the players who stood out above the rest for our Team of the Week.

An all-New Zealand final awaits on Saturday when the Hurricanes take on the Highlanders in Wellington after they battled past the Brumbies and Waratahs last weekend.

Understandably players from both sides feature heavily in our selection, with only one round of Super Rugby to go.

Super Rugby Team of the Week: Semi-Finals

15 James Marshall (Hurricanes)With Beauden Barrett struggling off the tee, Marshall took over the place-kicking against the Brumbies to finish with two conversions and a penalty in the second-half to add to his assist for TJ Perenara's try. Has shown great versatility whether at fly-half or full-back and made four clean breaks in Wellington.

14 Waisake Naholo (Highlanders)Another wonder try from Naholo takes him back ahead of TJ Perenara to 12 tries for the year. The Highlanders winger's speed to the ball and then fingertip finish with the dead ball line beckoning was very special, but then we've become used to see Naholo produce those moments in 2015. 12 carries, an assist and 12 tackles with none missed capped an impressive display. Keeps out Nehe Milner-Skudder.

13 Malakai Fekitoa (Highlanders)Fekitoa might have been better contained in 2015 but he was still a reliable weapon for the Highlanders in the semi-final, finishing up with nine carries while going past defenders and offloading in the tackle. His ability to draw in defenders has played a big role this year. Gets the nod over Tevita Kuridrani.

12 Ma'a Nonu (Hurricanes)So hard to bring down, the Brumbies struggled to contain Nonu in the first-half in Wellington with their exploits eventually taking their toll. The All Black centre, who has enjoyed a strong season on his return home, made over 100 metres from 13 runs, passing four defenders. In pole position to start ahead of Sonny Bill Williams for New Zealand in the Rugby Championship.

11 Julian Savea (Hurricanes)Proved unstoppable when he barrelled over Nic White to get the Hurricanes on the board during Saturday's semi-final to settle any early nerves. The international winger's eighth try of the Super Rugby season was trademark Savea, with his power giving the Brumbies all sorts of problems in defence as they eventually folded. In ahead of Patrick Osborne.

10 Lima Sopoaga (Highlanders)A high-pressure examination for Sopoaga, the surprise package at fly-half in this year's competition, and one which he passed handsomely. The All Blacks squad member made eight runs and provided an assist, a well-weighted cross-field kick for Osborne, in another impressive performance. Finished with ten points, including a drop-goal.

9 Aaron Smith (Highlanders)Scored an excellent interception try as the Waratahs were caught out to give the Highlanders the lead for the first time in Sydney, but Smith's all-round performance wins him this spot ahead of his countryman TJ Perenara. In outstanding form right now, Smith was a constant danger with the ball in hand making nine runs with two clean breaks. Arguably the Highlanders most important player.

8 Nasi Manu (Highlanders): The Edinburgh-bound back-row, who is the Highlanders' co-captain, led from the front as the men from New Zealand's South Island took the Waratahs apart with a superb forward effort. Manu did his bit on defence, with 12 tackles, got over the advantage line consistently and gained 51 metres with one clean break and four defenders beaten.

7 Ardie Savea (Hurricanes): Delivered another superb all-round effort during his side's semi-final victory over the Brumbies. Savea was, as usual, a menace at the breakdown but also made his mark as a ball carrier, winning 52 metres on attack, with two clean breaks, six defenders beaten and one offload.

6 Elliot Dixon (Highlanders): One of the unsung heroes of the Highlanders' campaign, Dixon was immense with another fine performance in Sydney. Delivered a solid defensive shift, making eight tackles, was a willing ball-carrier and the Highlanders' go-to man in the line-outs, winning five balls at the set-piece.

5 James Broadhurst (Hurricanes): Another solid display, especially in the line-outs where he won five balls against the Brumbies and also did well in defence with five tackles. Also impressed as a ball-carrier and worked hard at the coalface of the Hurricanes' forward effort.

4 Blake Enever (Brumbies)Was on the losing side but can hold his head high after a fine display. Enever got stuck in on defence against the Hurricanes with 13 tackles and got over the advantage line on a couple of occasions with ball in hand. He edges out the Highlanders' Alex Ainley who did well in his side's win over the defending champions.

3 Josh Hohneck (Highlanders): Was one of the stars of the Highlanders' forward effort especially in the scrums where he did well against Wallaby front-row Benn Robinson. Hohneck also put his body on the line in defence with six hits and edges out the Waratahs' Sekope Kepu.

2 Dane Coles (Hurricanes): Was back to his best as a ball carrier, winning 33 metres on attack with one clean break, four defenders beaten and an offload. Also did his bit in defence with a handful of tackles.

1 Reggie Goodes (Hurricanes): Caught the eye with a solid all-round effort against the Brumbies. Goodes performed well at his core duties, shone in defence with seven tackles and also cleaned out the rucks with great intent.

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