A total of 16 teams were in action over the weekend in Round 3 of Super Rugby, and here are the players who stole the spotlight.
Key wins for the Chiefs, Jaguares and Crusaders see them pop up regularly in this week’s selection as they look to take confidence into Round 4’s set of fixtures.
Let’s see who made our selection.
Super Rugby Team of the Week, Round 3
15 Damian McKenzie (Chiefs): The diminutive full-back was in fine form in his side’s win over the Hurricanes in Hamilton. McKenzie contributed 16 points via four penalties and two conversions and gained 77 metres on attack from 15 carries with one clean break and three defenders beaten. Stormers full-back SP Marais also caught the eye against the Kings.
14 Dillyn Leyds (Stormers): The Stormers flyer was in brilliant attacking form in his side’s victory over the Kings in Port Elizabeth. Leyds scored a superb try and finished with 121 metres gained from nine runs with two clean breaks, five defenders beaten and an offload. Edges out Henry Speight of the Brumbies.
13 Samu Kerevi (Reds): The Wallaby midfielder was a shining light in his side’s defeat to the Crusaders and, as usual, he was superb with ball in hand. Kerevi gained 77 metres from 13 runs with three clean breaks, three defenders beaten and two offloads. Also scored a try and set up another one for Eto Nabuli. Lukhanyo Am, plus Israel Folau also impressed for the Sharks and Waratahs respectively in Durban.
12 Jerónimo de la Fuente (Jaguares): The Argentina international did well as a playmaker in his side’s win over the Lions in Buenos Aires. De la Furente was a constant threat on attack and finished with 33 metres gained from 13 carries with three clean breaks, three defenders beaten, four offloads and scored a deserved try. Andre Esterhuizen of the Sharks also played well.
11 Digby Ioane (Crusaders): The former Wallaby flyer made his debut for the seven-time champions in their win over his former side the Reds in Brisbane and was one of the standout players in that match. Ioane gained 78 metres on attack, from 10 runs, with one clean break, one defender beaten and two offloads. Beats out Highlanders flyer Tevita Li.
10 Curwin Bosch (Sharks): Jaguares stalwart Nicolás Sánchez is unlucky to miss out after a fine showing in his side’s win against the Lions but Bosch gets the nod after coming off the bench as a replacement for Pat Lambie and guiding his team to victory over the Waratahs. The youngster delivered a superb all-round performance and finished with a 27-point haul courtesy of a well-taken try, two conversions and six penalties.
9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow (Chiefs): The All Blacks number nine was outstanding against the Hurricanes and comes in ahead of Augustine Pulu of the Blues, who also impressed in his side’s loss to the Highlanders in Auckland. Kerr-Barlow’s service to his outside backs was superb in atrocious weather conditions and he won his personal duel with All Blacks rival TJ Perenara.
8 Warren Whiteley (Lions): Big shift in defeat from the Lions captain, who scored two tries for his side in Argentina and made a whopping contribution in defence as well with 17 tackles, as the Lions came away with a try bonus point. A mention for the Crusaders’ Whetu Douglas who also impressed.
7 Chris Alcock (Brumbies): Signed from the Force to replicate David Pocock’s work-rate the 28-year-old certainly did that against his old side on Friday. When Alcock carried he certainly made it count, beating three defenders, but he was a colossus in defence as well with 15 tackles overall. Mentions for Sam Cane of the Chiefs and Chris Cloete of the Kings.
6 Tebojo Mohoje (Cheetahs): Has started the year in great form, scoring his third try in two matches against the Sunwolves while making 67 metres from 13 carries. Mohoje beat four defenders, made 11 tackles, and also was excellent at the lineout with five takes on his own ball. Competition this week from Pablo Matera and Jean-Luc du Preez.
5 Sam Whitelock (Crusaders): The Crusaders giant was destructive in attack against the Reds, and his defence was good after making ten tackles. Pieter-Steph du Toit deserves a mention for an all-round attacking performance against the Kings while Brodie Retallick gets a shout for scoring a try for the Chiefs in their win over the Hurricanes.
4 Eben Etzebeth (Stormers): The Stormers behemoth stepped into the captaincy role well against the Kings and didn’t let the new tag slow him down. He made eight tackles despite the Stormers controlling 61 percent of the possession while running well with ball in hand after making two offloads and beating two defenders. The Crusaders’ Scott Barrett deserves a shout for eight tackles against the Reds.
3 Ofa Tu’ungafasi (Blues): The Blues mobile front-row was all over the park in his side’s loss to the Highlanders. The big number three scrummed well against a strong front-three while also making an incredible 13 tackles, a great feat for a prop. Sharks battering ram Coenie Oosthuizen deserves a mention for a strong defensive showing after making ten tackles against the Waratahs.
2 Torsten van Jaarsveld (Cheetahs): The Cheetahs skipper scored a much needed five-pointer to get his side on the scoreboard after trailing early to the Sunwolves. He exploded from the side of the ruck, 20 metres out, to burn some much quicker men to score. Van Jaarsveld also found the time to make 10 tackles. Jaguares captain Agustín Creevy gets a shout after making 12 tackles against the Lions.
1 Santiago García Botta (Jaguares): The big loosehead made an industrious seven tackles over the weekend while proving strong against a tough Lions scrum. He also made some solid metres on attack. James Slipper deserves a shout after making seven tackles against the Crusaders.