Now that the dust has settled over in the southern hemisphere, we thought it was only right to hand out praise to the stars of Super Rugby, Round Eight!
Super Rugby Team of the Week: Round Eight:
15 Andre Taylor Hurricanes: Taylor makes this week's team as the best of an outstanding crop of full-backs. We could easily have gone for Jesse Mogg, Jayden Hayward, Jason Woodward, Ben Smith or Willie le Roux, who all shone for their respective teams. However, Taylor was superb on attack in the Hurricanes' win over the Bulls in Napier, crossing over for a try and gaining 123 metres with ball in hand.
14 Tim Nanai-Williams Chiefs: Was at the heart of the champions' remarkable fightback against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein which saw them clinching a draw in injury time for the second week in succession. Nanai-Williams gained 56 metres on attack and was rewarded with two tries for his efforts. Edges out Johnny McNicholl who put in a hard-working effort for the Crusaders in their win over the Lions.
13 Juan de Jongh Stormers: Probably the only Stormers player who emerged with his reputation intact after their defeat to the Waratahs in Cape Town. The Bok midfielder set up his side's only try and came agonisingly close to scoring one himself. Also impressed on defence with eight tackles and comes in ahead of Ben Tapuai who scored in the Reds' loss to the Western Force.
12 Pat McCabe Brumbies: The Wallaby is known as the Chuck Norris of Super Rugby after bouncing back from two broken necks and there was more of his trademark bravery in his side's runaway win over the Blues in Canberra. McCabe crossed over for two tries with 59 metres gained and also did his bit on defence with six hits. Beats out Crusaders stand-in captain Ryan Crotty who also scored a try in his side's win in Johannesburg.
11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma Chiefs: Another player whose superb attacking ability saw him being rewarded with two tries in the Chiefs' draw with the Cheetahs. Tikoirotuma's elusive running style kept the Cheetahs defenders busy and he comes in ahead of Julian Savea who caught the eye, with several devastating run, for the Hurricanes.
10 Beauden Barrett Hurricanes: Was influential in his side's win over the Bulls in Napier, contributing 20 points via six penalties and a conversion. Barrett beats out Jacques-Louis Potgieter, who did well for the Bulls and Lima Sopoaga who contributed 18 points in the Highlanders' victory over the Rebels.
9 Sarel PretoriusCheetahs: The Cheetahs number nine was superb in his side's draw against the Chiefs, scoring a brace of tries and gaining 110 metres on attack. Chiefs counterpart Augustine Pulu, who also scored two tries, as well as Highlanders number nine Aaron Smith, who also dotted down in his 50th match for the Highlanders, deserve mentions.
8 Scott Higginbotham Melbourne Rebels: The Rebels captain shone in a losing cause against the Highlanders and was one of the best players on the field. Higginbotham was superb as a ball carrier, gaining 87 metres and was a force in the line-outs, winning a handful of balls. The Western Force's Ben McCalman also did well against the Reds.
7 Michael Hooper Waratahs: Impressed in his side's win over the Stormers with 30 metres gained on attack but also made his presence felt on defence with seven tackles and also won a couple of line-outs. Is preferred to Highlanders tearaway Shane Christie and the Hurricanes' Jack Lam, who had been pencilled into our team until he missed a crucial tackle which allowed Handre Pollard to score for the Bulls.
6 Lappies Labuschagne Cheetahs: Carried well, gaining 33 metres, against the Chiefs but his biggest impact was made on defence where he made 14 tackles for the men from Bloemfontein. Comes in ahead of the Waratahs' Jacques Potgieter and Blues' Jerome Kaino.
5 Brodie Retallick Chiefs: Was superb in his prime duty at the line-outs with eight balls won but also impressed as a ball-carrier and on defence with seven tackles.
4 James Horwill Reds: The Reds skipper led by example despite his side's loss to Force. Horwill was a willing ball-carrier, with 30 metres gained, won his fair share of line-out balls and also did well defensively with 11 tackles made.
3 Owen Franks Crusaders: His experience came to the fore with a solid scrummaging display against a highly-rated Lions front row and also impressed at the coalface of the Christchurch-based franchise's forward effort, especially on defence around the fringes of the rucks and mauls.
2 Tatafu Polota-Nau Waratahs: Did well in the tight exchanges for the Sydneysiders in their win over the Stormers at Newlands. Also impressed with his accuracy in finding his jumpers at the line-outs and on defence with a handful of tackles. Edges out James Hanson who did well in a losing cause in Brisbane.
1 James Slipper Reds: Delivered a strong scrummaging performance against the Western Force but also impressed in loose play, gaining 18 metres while also scoring a try. Made eight tackles on defence and beats out Chris King of the Highlanders.