After round 12 of Super Rugby Pacific action, Planet Rugby breaks down the star performers from a thrilling weekend of games.
The Hurricanes are well represented after their demolition of Moana Pasifika, whilst the Crusaders and Reds also feature after their good wins.
Super Rugby Pacific Team of the Week
15 Jock Campbell (Reds): The full-back was instrumental in what was a stunning victory over the leaders, ending their 10-game win streak. The Red made 120 metres with ball in hand, scoring a try, beating three defenders, making three offloads and breaking the line once. It was an outing that could boost his Test credentials.
14 Suliasi Rayasi (Hurricanes): Dangerous all game long, scoring a try and handing another off as part of his 10 carries on the day. He was a key part of a big win and looks to be in excellent form heading to the back end of the season.
13 Billy Proctor (Hurricanes): Another player who played a key role in his team’s dominant victory as the centre also walked away with a try and assist. Proctor made 72 metres in 12 carries whilst beating three defenders along the way. It was a brilliant performance, and he just earns selections ahead of Brumby Len Ikitau and Waratah Izaia Perese.
12 James O’Connor (Reds): The veteran was influential from inside centre where he looks far more comfortable. He set up a try whilst making an impressive four offloads in a brilliant performance. His rise in form in this role could well be his key to getting back in the Test fold and catch the eye of Wallabies head coach Eddie Jones. Crusader David Havili was class yet again but misses out to the Australian.
11 Kini Naholo (Hurricanes): The electric wing bolting for the line brought back memories of his older brother, Waisake, during his Super Rugby days. Kini was outstanding, scoring two tries in a performance where he was a menace for the defensive line. He seems to be finding his feet at this level, and it will be interesting to see how he develops. There were several good performers on the left wing, with Crusader Leicester Fainga’anuku and Brumby Corey Toole putting their hands up.
Too quick 🔥
— Super Rugby Pacific (@SuperRugby) May 13, 2023
10 Aidan Morgan (Hurricanes): Every lock has a key, and Morgan was that for his side against Moana Pasifika. It was a playmaking clinic, with the fly-half notching up two try assists whilst scoring one of his own. It was a performance to savour as, in tandem with his half-back partner, they ran the game in its entirety.
9 Jamie Booth (Hurricanes): The scrum-half was clever in his decision-making and lethal in his execution. Booth notched up three try assists in a busy performance where he was one of the key elements to allow his team to run riot. Elsewhere, Red Tate McDermott was on song again.
8 Ardie Savea (Hurricanes): Whilst the two half-backs were responsible for unlocking the defence, the All Black was the destroyer in chief with a hat-trick of tries, five defenders beaten and one clean break. He also made 10 tackles in a vintage performance. Brumbies star Pete Samu also continued his good form.
7 Tom Christie (Crusaders): It was another workmanlike performance from a player who has become renowned for his engine and his ability to relentlessly empty his tank every week. He made 13 tackles and crucially won two turnovers in a tight clash against the Blues.
6 Liam Wright (Reds): It was a monstrous defensive effort from the flank, who made a ridiculous 23 tackles in his side’s memorable win against the Chiefs. Wright was absolutely everywhere and was one of the key components in the Reds’ plan to nullify the high-flying Chiefs. Outstanding effort. Chiefs star Samipeni Finau deserves mention for a stunning outing.
5 Tupou Vaa’i (Chiefs): The second-row improves with every minute and is becoming an outstanding player. He carried all game long, notching up a total of 12 carries, whilst on defence he made 15 hits in a proper tight five forward performance.
4 Scott Barrett (Crusaders): The skipper was a key performer for his side as he ran the line-out, which proved to be the major difference in the game. Outside of that, he made 12 tackles and managed a turnover in a captain’s outing.
3 Tyrel Lomax (Hurricanes): One of the players that laid the foundation for his team to explode. He made an outstanding 13 tackles whilst holding his own in the set-piece. A solid outing from the tighthead prop.
2 Folau Fainga’a (Western Force): After a quiet season, the Wallaby star returns to the try scorer sheet where is often seen. The hooker carried strongly, scoring a brace of tries whilst also being active on defence with seven tackles. It was a solid outing for a star vying for a place in the Wallabies squad.
1 Tamaiti Williams (Crusaders): The front-row gets the nod at loosehead after being forced to move from tighthead after four minutes due to injury. The way in which he switched sides with aplomb to play a crucial role in his team’s win over their bitter rivals was a show of his impressive quality and character.