Now that the dust has settled after Round One of Super Rugby, we select the players that stood out over the weekend.
With six out of seven visiting teams winning and a handful of real upsets produced over the opening weekend, it's refreshing to see some new faces in our weekly selection.
Super Rugby Team of the Week: Round 1
15 Israel Folau (Waratahs): While the defending champions were a little rusty in their opening round defeat to the Western Force, Australia's Player of the Year continued where he left off in 2014. Folau was a constant threat on attack, gaining 88 metres with two clean breaks, five defenders beaten and two offloads. Mentions for Willie le Roux and Mike Harris.
14 James Lowe (Chiefs): The Chiefs winger got off to a flyer with his performance in North Harbour, scoring a brilliant solo try to get the Chiefs on their way to victory. Lowe finished with 111 metres, making three clean breaks and beating three defenders. Hopes are high for him this season.
13 Tevita Kuridrani (Brumbies): Another Wallaby whose form hasn't waned with the advent of the new season. Kuridrani was, as usual, dangerous with ball in hand and got over the whitewash in the process. Won 83 metres, beating six defenders, made three clean breaks and also won a turnover.
12 Damian de Allende (Stormers): Won the official man of the match award in his side's victory over the Bulls in Pretoria after a superb display in his personal duel with fellow Bok Jane Serfontein. De Allende was the Stormers' go-to man in taking the ball up, winning 57 metres with one clean break, seven defenders beaten. Also won two turnovers and made six tackles. A mention for Sonny Bill Williams.
11 Dillyn Leyds (Stormers): The former Western Force man was one of the standout performers for the Stormers in his debut for the Cape Town outfit in Pretoria. Leyds scored a try, won a crucial turnover, gained 70 metres with two clean breaks, four defenders beaten, one offload and also did his bit on defence with six hits.
10 Damien McKenzie (Chiefs): No Cruden? No problem. The New Zealand U20 star had a blinding first appearance in Super Rugby against the Blues, looking right at home. His stats are absurd; 15 carries, 103 metres made, seven defenders beaten (seven!) and weighed in with nine tackles, along with some strong goalkicking. Outstanding performance. Mentions for Demetri Catrakilis and Beauden Barrett.
9 Nic White (Brumbies): Up against one of his main rivals for the Wallaby nine shirt, White was outstanding, combining with Matt Toomua as the Brumbies put the Reds to the sword. The highlight was undoubtedly the cheeky grubber through Will Genia's legs for a lovely individual try. Montpellier fans will have been rubbing their hands at their future scrum-half after this display.
8 Duane Vermeulen (Stormers): There were concerns in some quarters that the added burden of captaincy would have a negative effect on Vermeulen's form but there was no evidence of that against the Bulls. Vermeulen delivered a five-star performance and proved a handful for the Bulls defenders. He made 33 metres on attack with one clean break and beat four defenders beaten. Comes in ahead of Ben McCalman of the Western Force.
7 Chris Alcock (Western Force): Alcock typfified the Force's aggression in defence and was in the right place for their first try in Sydney, as the visitors comprehensively outplayed last year's champions. The openside weighed in with 12 tackles and ten carries.
6 Jean Cook (Cheetahs): A handful of Cheetahs were in contention to make this selection and Cook summed up their afternoon perfectly. He was given two opportunities to run and he beat a defender on both occassions, scoring a try in the porcess. He also put in 15 tackles and secured two lineouts – those are the kinds of number you want from your blinside flank.
5 Carl Wegner (Cheetahs): Came on as a first half replacement for the injured Lood de Jager against the Sharks and made his presence felt with a solid shift at the coalface of the Bloemfontein-based outfit's forward onslaught. Wegner won a handful of line-outs, made 11 tackles and scored a deserved try.
4 Lopeti Timani (Rebels): Usually features in the back row but made a huge impact at lock in his side's victory over the Crusaders in Christchurch. Timani crossed the advantage line at will and was rewarded with a try for his efforts. The Western Force's Adam Coleman also impressed against the Waratahs.
3 Coenie Oosthuizen (Cheetahs): The burly Springbok delivered a fine allround display in Durban. Oosthuizen was part of a solid scrummaging effort from the men from Bloemfontein which had their hosts on the backfoot on several occasions, gained 45 metres – with one clean break and two defenders beaten – won a turnover and also made seven tackles. Edges out Stormers newbie Vincent Koch.
2 Pat Leafa (Rebels): What a way to bring up a first win away from Australian soil, and Leafa was at the heart of it. As well as racking up 11 tackles, the Rebels hooker carried the ball ten times, making 27 hard-fought metres in the tight. Playing the full 80 minutes, Leafa was key to the upset win over the Crusaders.
1 Pauliasi Manu (Chiefs): The big 113kg loosehead enjoyed a strong out against the Blues, doing his part in the carrying statistics while weighing with nine tackles. Tough to stop when he gets going as the Chiefs scrum went well.