Planet Rugby

Super Rugby: Team of the Week

28th July 2014 14:51

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super rugby semi finals

Finalists: Dagg & Hooper

Now that the dust has settled in the southern hemisphere, we thought it only right to give praise to the stars of Super Rugby's semi-finals

So without further ado, herewith our selection.

15 Israel Dagg (Crusaders): With the other Israel kept relatively quiet in Sydney, Dagg was an easy pick. As usual, the All Black was dangerous with ball in hand and, unlike his opposition, the Crusaders full-back was deadly accurate every time he put ball to boot.

14 Alofa Alofa (Waratahs): When one Alofa just isn't enough....No, seriously, the 'Tahs wing only got the ball in his hands three times yet managed to make 90-odd metres and scored a try. Talk about taking your opportunities.

13 Tevita Kuridrani (Brumbies): A handful of thumping tackles from Kuridrani complemented a few strong runs, which put the Brumbies in the red zone. The tussle between the 13s at Sydney Football Stadium was good to watch and Adam Ashley-Cooper also deserves a mention.

12 Kurtley Beale (Waratahs): It's been a great season for Beale and his playmaking ability has been a key ingredient in making the Waratahs' attack the most dangerous in the competition. He showed great skill and strength to pickpocket the ball off Jesse Mogg to score the try that gave his team some breathing room. A mention too for Dan Carter.

11 Nemani Nadolo (Crusaders): Another week, another try for the big Fijian, who is now just one away from catching Izzy Folau as the season's top hitman. Well over 100m gained with ball in hand and six defenders beaten - top work!

10 Colin Slade (Crusaders): A narrow call between the Crusaders ten and Bernard Foley, but Slade sneaks it down to some strong attacking play that included beating three defenders and providing the pass for Nadolo's try. With Carter back in the fold to kick at goal, Slade in a way has been set free and looks better for it despite playing very well beforehand.

9 Nick Phipps (Waratahs): Hailed by Michael Cheika for his defensive efforts that included two excellent cover tackles. Phipps epitomised the Waratahs' gritty work on the other side of the ball and deserves recognition. A mention for Andy Ellis, whose tactical kicking was as good as the Sharks' was a liability.

8 Kieran Read (Crusaders): Classy from the IRB Player of the Year. Floated around Paul Jordaan for the first try and was always a threat with ball in hand. 62 metres made, four defenders beaten and three takes in the lineout capped another good evening for Read.

7 Michael Hooper (Waratahs): Has total disregard for his own safety when it comes to make tackles. We like that. Still only 22, he has some future ahead of him. Ten tackles, nine carries and a couple of beaten defenders for the Wallabies skipper. A mention for Matt Todd, who grabbed his fourth try in two games off the back of the rolling maul against the Sharks.

6 Richie McCaw (Crusaders): The King was at his peak in Christchurch, bleeding from before the match had even begun. Flinging his body into tackles as ever prominent at the breakdown, this was McCaw at his best. The experience he brings is a big plus for the final. A mention for Marcell Coetzee, perhaps the only Sharks to come out last weekend with any credibility. He made 16 tackles.

5 Sam Whitelock (Crusaders): Was, once again, at the forefront of the Crusaders' line-out effort, winning a handful of balls but also did his bit on defence with eight tackles. Whitelock also delivered a bushy shift in the tight exchanges and his value in the scrums, rucks and mauls should not be underestimated.

4 Jacques Potgieter (Waratahs): Another solid effort from the South African utility forward who, once again, put his body on the line in admirable fashion against the Brumbies. He's being pushed for a starting place at the Waratahs by Will Skelton, but Potgieter's mobility with ball in hand and defence (eight tackles) proves the Sydney-based outfit's coach Michael Cheika's faith in his ability is justified.

3 Sekope Kepu (Waratahs): One of the tournament's most improved players, Kepu came to the fore with another solid performance. His general play, in particular, caught the eye, especially on defence, where he made eight tackles but he also cleaned out the rucks with great intent which helped to lay the platform for his more flashier team-mates to shine.

2 Corey Flynn (Crusaders): The former All Blacks hooker's last match for the Crusaders in Christchurch was a memorable one, as he impressed on attack, with 46 metres gained, two clean breaks and two defenders beaten. Also impressed in the tight phases, with a strong scrummaging display and accurate throw-ins at the line-outs.

1 Scott Sio (Brumbies): Not often that two opposing props make our XV in the same week, but Sio deserves his place after a solid scrummaging display in Sydney. He had a slight edge over Kepu and didn't take a backward step at the set-piece. Sio in addition caught the eye with ball in hand and got his team on to the front foot on a couple of occasions with some powerful runs.

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