Super Rugby Pacific Team of the Week: Blues and Hurricanes dominate after classic encounter

David Skippers
Super Rugby Pacific TOTW image 13May 2024.jpg

Xavier Numia of the Hurricanes, Hunter Paisami of the Reds and Patrick Tuipulotu of the Blues.

After the 12th round of Super Rugby Pacific action, Planet Rugby breaks down the star performers from a thrilling weekend of rugby.

Following their top-of-the-table encounter, which turned out to be a real classic, the Blues and Hurricanes lead the way with four players apiece in our team while Chiefs and Reds are next best with three representatives each.

Super Rugby Pacific Team of the Week, Round 12

15 Etene Nanai-Seturo (Chiefs): It was another good weekend for the 24-year-old, who was wearing the number 15 jersey for the second successive game and shone in the Chiefs’ win over Moana Pasifika. Nanai-Seturo proved difficult to stop as he gained 77 metres on attack from 13 runs with one clean break, five defenders beaten and he scored a brilliant try. The Reds’ Jock Campbell also played well.

14 Mark Tele’a (Blues): Once again, Liam Coombes-Fabling of the Chiefs showed his class with a fine attacking display but Tele’a comes in ahead of him after another brilliant performance in the Blues’ victory over the Hurricanes. The All Blacks speedster gained 70 metres which included 11 runs, one clean break, five defenders beaten an offload and a deserved try.

13 Anton Lienert-Brown (Chiefs): In Perth, Bayley Kuenzle was one of the Western Force’s stars in their victory over the Fijian Drua but Lienert-Brown pips him into our team after a superb all-round effort against Moana. The experienced centre’s decision making was superb and he also made his mark as a ball carrier, finishing with 36 metres gained from eight runs, including two defenders beaten an offload and a try.

12 Hunter Paisami (Reds): There were fine showings from Bryce Heem of the Blues and Quinn Tupaea of the Chiefs but Paisami was one of the better players on display as the Reds put the Rebels to the sword in Brisbane. The Wallabies centre’s was brilliant with ball in hand as he gained 57 metres after completing 11 runs with one clean break, three defenders beaten and an offload.

11 Tim Ryan (Reds): The Junkyard Dog played on the right wing but we had to find a place for him in our team as he was one of the Reds’ best attackers against the Rebels. The 20-year-old gained 66 metres from five runs after making one clean break which saw him beating three defenders and he also crossed the whitewash. The Blues’ Caleb Clarke also played well.

10 Harry Plummer (Blues): The Chiefs’ Josh Jacomb and Force’s Ben Donaldson had good games for their respective sides but Plummer was one of the Blues’ star performers in their triumph over the Hurricanes in Auckland. The 25-year-old delivered a perfect goal-kicking performance which proved the difference between winning and losing and finished with an 11-point haul after slotting four conversions and a penalty.

All Blacks wing powers Blues to crucial win over Hurricanes to go top of Super Rugby Pacific

9 TJ Perenara (Hurricanes): Although he finished on the losing side in that highly anticipated clash with the the Blues, the experienced All Black delivered an excellent all-round performance. Perenara provided a slick service to his outside backs and extended his Super Rugby try-scoring record. The Crusaders’ Noah Hotham also impressed.

Fantastic forwards

8 Hoskins Sotutu (Blues): There were good performances from Wallace Sititi of the Chiefs and Nikora Broughton of the Highlanders but we’ve opted for Sotutu who caught the eye with a fine showing at Eden Park. The All Black made 50 metres on attack from nine carries, including a clean break and three defenders beaten and did well on defence with a team-high 16 tackles made.

7 Peter Lakai (Hurricanes): This was a tough call as the likes of Fraser McReight and Luke Jacobson shone for the Reds and Chiefs respectively but Lakai gets the nod after a superb effort for the Hurricanes in their loss to the Blues. He was excellent on attack, gaining 31 metres and was rewarded with a try for his efforts and emptied the tank defensively as he made 19 tackles.

6 Rob Valetini (Brumbies): Australia’s current John Eales Medalist continues to maintain his high standards and he caught the eye with an outstanding all-round performance in his side’s win over the Waratahs. Valetini was solid with ball in hand and scored a well-taken try but also did his bit on defence and finished with 10 tackles made.

5 Justin Sangster(Hurricanes): This was another difficult decision as Tupou Vaa’i of the Chiefs and Nick Frost of the Brumbies had solid games for their respective sides but Sangster gets in ahead of them after a fine effort in his side’s narrow loss to the Blues. The 27-year-old impressed with his lineout work his defensive efforts were superb throughout as he completed a match-high 22 tackles.

4 Patrick Tuipulotu (Blues): There was a fine effort from Jeremy Williams who had a good game for the Force but Tuipulotu showed why he is so highly rated with a superb display at Eden Park. The experienced lock impressed with his lineout work, was solid as a ball carrier – gaining 23 metres from 11 carries – but made his biggest impact on defence where he made 14 hits.

3 Reuben O’Neill (Chiefs): The Chiefs forwards combined well in their triumph over Moana and O’Neill was one of their best performers as he did what was expected of him in the scrums where was solid throughout. The 29-year-old also put is body on the line on defence and finished with 10 tackles made. In other action,

2 Matt Faessler (Reds): The 25-year-old Wallaby was at the forefront of the Reds’ forward onslaught in their home victory against the Rebels as he was a willing ball carrier and was rewarded with a try for his efforts. Faessler also did well on defence and beats out All Blacks hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho, who impressed in his side’s win over Moana.

1 Xavier Numia (Hurricanes): Another superb all-round performance for the 25-year-old, who has been one of the Hurricanes’ star performers during their 2024 Super Rugby Pacific campaign. As usual, stood up well in the scrums but also did his bit with ball in hand and finished with 18 metres gained but also delivered a fine defensive shift and made 13 hits.

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