Planet Rugby

Super Rugby, Team of the Week

15th July 2014 09:16



Superb: Whiteley, Toomua, Todd

Now that the dust has settled in the southern hemisphere, we thought it only right to hand out praise to the stars of Super Rugby, Round 19.

So without further ado, herewith our selection.

Super Rugby: Team of Round 19

15 Israel Dagg (Crusaders) - The All Black full-back was superb on attack in the Crusaders' demolition of the Highlanders, winning 112 metres on attack with two clean breaks, three defenders beaten and one turnover won. Dagg was always a threat when he joined the line and managed a well-timed pass to Nemani Nadolo, who crossed over for one of the Crusaders' tries.

14 Henry Speight (Brumbies) - It was incredibly difficult to leave out Lions winger Lionel Mapoe following his hat-trick against the Cheetahs but the performance of Speight was another level up. He carried twelve times, made well over 100 metres and beat nine defenders en route to a try and assist in Canberra. Soon the Wallabies will have Speight alongside Israel Folau in a double act that is going to be wonderful to watch.

13 Ryan Crotty (Crusaders) - His duel with Highlanders midfield sensation Malakai Fekitoa was one of the highlights of the weekend and Crotty won this battle - something which very few of Fekitoa's other direct opponents can say this season. Crotty impressed on attack, with 60 metres gained, including two clean breaks and three defenders beaten, but also did his bit on defence with seven hits.

12 Kurtley Beale (Waratahs) - The Wallaby stalwart was at the heart of all the Waratahs' attacks in their one-sided victory over the Reds. Made 85 metres with ball in hand, with four clean breaks and four defenders beaten. That saw him crossing over for two deserved tries and he also laid the groundwork before offloading to Jono Lance, who also scored one of the 'Tahs' four tries.

11 Francois Hougaard (Bulls) - Put out on the wing to score tries, Hougaard did just that with a fine solo effort against the Rebels. Stepping his way past two before stopping and then leaving the defence for dead, the hybrid back did the job required. Topping 100 metres and beating four defenders marked a good night at Loftus for Hougaard.

10 Matt Toomua (Brumbies) - Arguably the player of the round after three tries from fly-half. It seems playing international rugby at inside centre has added to his running game now that he is back in Brumbies colours. Toomua is such a threat with ball in hand and also one of the best defenders around with his treble hugely deserved. His upcoming showdown with Chiefs number ten Aaron Cruden is already whetting the appetite.

9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow (Chiefs) - The men from Hamilton are blessed with two in-form half-backs in Kerr-Barlow and Augustine Pulu. It had looked like Pulu held the upper hand for selection but it's now all about Kerr-Barlow as his workrate both in attack and defence saw him shine against the Blues. A mention for Lions scrum-half Ross Cronje who score one and created another against an out-of-sorts Cheetahs side in Johannesburg.

8 Warren Whiteley (Lions) - Excellent all year at the back of the scrum for the Lions, their skipper led from the front as per usual in the thrashing of the Cheetahs. Super Rugby's second highest tackler in 2014 added ten to his tally against the Cheetahs, while also crossing the line.

7 Matt Todd (Crusaders) - Was rewarded with two tries after showing great control at the back of two driving mauls close to the Highlanders' try-line. Todd was also a willing ball-carrier, winning 37 metres with two clean breaks and three defenders beaten but he also delivered a polished defensive display with twelve tackles. Edges out Lions tearaway Jaco Kriel, who caught the eye in his side's win over the Cheetahs.

6 Liam Messam (Chiefs) - Much like the Chiefs, Messam is coming to the party at just the right time as he led his forwards to victory at one of the toughest venues in 2014. His intercept try showed intelligence before decent pace got him to the line. Jordan Taufua gets a mention.

5 Sam Whitelock (Crusaders) - Whitelock was his usual dominant self at the line-out with five takes but also stood out in other areas like defence where he caught the eye with fourteen tackles. The lock got stuck into the Highlanders' forwards at the ruck and maul and also rounded off his performance by winning a crucial turnover. Brumbies second-row Sam Carter impressed in his side's big victory over the Western Force.

4 Paul Willemse (Bulls) - Despite spending ten minutes in the sin-bin, the impressive young Bulls second-row makes the teamsheet after scoring twice against the Melbourne Rebels. Four line-out takes and nine tackles capped off Willemse's busy evening playing alongside Victor Matfield.

3 Charlie Faumuina (Blues) - One of the stand-out tightheads this season, Faumuina's Blues bowed out of the 2014 competition on Friday but not before he put in another impressive performance. A superb eleven carries from the All Black as he continues to put pressure on Owen Franks.

2 Robbie Coetzee (Lions) - Part of the Lions pack that tore the Cheetahs to pieces, Coetzee shone again in the number two jersey. The Lions won fifteen out of seventeen line-outs and Coetzee chipped in with plenty of carries while also scoring a try.

1 Corne Fourie(Lions) - The audacity! We had to include the Lions replacement prop in the number one slot after his outrageous solo try against the Cheetahs, breaking the defensive line and then leaving Willie le Roux for dead with a dummy before diving over (slightly tripping en route) for the score. Fourie also chipped in with an assist and finished with 52 metres to his name.

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