Team of the Week: Super Rugby

Date published: March 23 2015

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Now that the dust has settled after Round Six of Super Rugby, we select the players that stood out over the weekend.

With the Crusaders and Waratahs impressing over the weekend, this week's XV sees the return of some big names while the Lions also get a deserved pat on the back.

Super Rugby Team of the Week: Round Six

15 Israel Folau (Waratahs) : After coming in for some criticism for a slow (by his standards) start to the season, the Wallaby full-back reminded everyone why he is considered one of the great talents in the world game, scoring a try and setting up two more. A mention too for Highlanders co-captain Ben Smith.

14 Taqele Naiyaravoro (Waratahs): The Sydneysiders' flyer wasn't far behind Folau and, although he didn't score a try, looked dangerous on attack throughout. Gained 98 metres with three clean breaks, seven defenders beaten, one offload and also won a crucial turnover.

13 Lionel Mapoe (Lions): He'll remember that match-winning try in Melbourne for a long time, but  Mapoe's defensive effort against the Rebels was also excellent, making 14 tackles.

12 Dan Carter (Crusaders) : The All Black legend proved his doubters wrong with a superb allround display in his team's demoliton of the Cheetahs in Christchurch. Scored two tries and kicked 17 points and impressed on attack with 110 metres gained, four clean breaks, two defenders beaten, two turnovers won and an offload. Edges out Ma'a Nonu who shone for the Hurricanes against the Highlanders.

11 Nemani Nadolo (Crusaders) : What an impact the return of their big Fijian wing has had on the Crusaders. Almost 180m gained with ball in hand and six defenders beaten, he ran the Cheetahs ragged in a try-scoring effort.

10 Handre Pollard (Bulls) : Another polished display from the young pivot whose superb goalkicking guided his team to a narrow win over the Western Force in Pretoria. Also solid on defence with eight hits and comes in ahead of Bernard Foley who impressed for the Waratahs against the Brumbies.

9 TJ Perenara (Hurricanes) : It was a tough call to leave out Cobus Reinach, who played an influential role the Sharks' hard-fought win over the Chiefs but Perenara's try against the Highlanders ensured that the Hurricanes remain unbeaten – the only side in the competition with a perfect record.

8 Warren Whiteley (Lions): Led his troops superbly during a memorable win over the Rebels. Whiteley was at the forefront of the men from Johannesburg's defensive effort with an astonishing 26 tackles but also caught the eye as a runner with 58 metres gained, two clean breaks, two offloads and two defenders beaten.

7 Derrick Minnie (Lions): No one works harder than the Lions loose trio. Minnie chipped in with no less than 19 tackles, carried the ball 15 times and won four turnovers. A mention too for Chiefs flanker Sam Cane.

6 Jordan Taufua (Crusaders): Another Crusader who was rewarded with a brace of tries after a superb alllround effort. Although he got over the whitewash on a couple of occasions, Taufua did plenty of grafting for his team. Made 45 metres with ball in hand with one clean break, one defender beaten, two turnovers won and offload but also did his bit on defence with seven hits.

5 Sam Whitelock (Crusaders): The men from Christchurch ran wild in the second half against the Cheetahs and Whitelock was galloping around like a centre, setting up Isreal Dagg's try. He has such good hands for a lock.

4 Luke Jones (Rebels): Although the Rebels went down to the Lions at home, it wasn't from a lack of effort from the Wallaby second row. Jones was a willing ball carrier, winning 33 metres in the process with one defender and also won a turnover but also made 12 tackles. A mention for Jeremy Thrush of the Hurricanes.

3 Josh Hohneck (Highlanders): We didn't get all the fireworks we were expecting in the Highlander-Hurricanes clash, but it was not for a lack of hard work. Hohneck's 12 tackles and a couple of offloads see him get the nod ahead of Sekope Kepu.

2 Tolu Latu (Waratahs): Came into the run-on side as a replacement for the injured Tatafu Polota-Nau but the Wallaby was hardly missed. Latu impressed with his core duties against the Brumbies but also stood out on attack and scored a try in the process. A mention for the Bulls' Adriaan Strauss.

1 Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks): While his fellow Springbok front rowers didn't make it to half time, the Beast kept the Sharks scrum solid as they dominated the Chiefs in very difficult conditions. The loosehead did plenty of work too as his team's top ball carrier. A mention to for Hurricanes prop Reg Goodes, who scored a try.

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