Super Rugby Pacific Team of the Week: ‘Remarkable’ TJ Perenara and a Sevens convert catch the eye

Dylan Coetzee
Super Rugby Pacific Team of the Week: ‘Remarkable’ TJ Perenara and a Sevens convert catch the eye

Super Rugby Pacific Team of the Week: ‘Remarkable’ TJ Perenara and a Sevens convert catch the eye

Another round of Super Rugby Pacific is in the books and with the 2024 hierarchy beginning to take shape, we put our heads together to select a team of the week.

All winning sides have been rewarded with the Hurricanes and Melbourne Rebels taking up most of the line-up.

Team of the Week

15 Andrew Kellaway (Melbourne Rebels): The full-back’s elite form continues with another blockbuster effort where the Wallaby had a lot of ball-in-hand action, beating four defenders and assisting a try as the Rebels claimed a statement win over the Highlanders at home.

14 Sevu Reece (Crusaders): It may have been another painful loss for the reigning champions but the massive silver lining was the All Black wing’s performance that included a brace of tries. Reece was running wild with over 100 metres gained, beating five defenders in the process. The Crusaders’ revival will depend on players of his calibre and they desperately need him to catch even more fire going forward.

13 Filipo Daugunu (Melbourne Rebels): The centre has been critical in his team’s rise and looked dangerous whenever he had the ball. He earned his money on defence as well making a solid 10 tackles and winning two turnovers at the weekend.

12 Julian Savea (Moana Pasifika): The veteran is starting to settle into his new role in the middle of the park and was once again a go-to carrier for Moana. Savea scored a try in one of his 10 carries where he beat three defenders. He was solid in defence too, making five tackles and not missing any. The equal leading all-time try scorer for the competition gets in ahead of old Hurricanes teammate Jordie Barrett.

11 Darby Lancaster (Melbourne Rebels): The young Sevens sensation marked his switch to the 15-man game with an electric hat-trick of tries where he beat defenders at will, making a whopping 154 metres with ball in hand. Performances like that go a long way in fast-tracking his rugby union prospects, especially with the Wallabies set-up on a clean slate under new coach Joe Schmidt. Elsewhere, Waratah Dylan Pietsch and Hurricane Kini Naholo were effective for their teams.

10 Carter Gordon (Melbourne Rebels): The free-flowing form of the Wallaby star was beautifully on display again as Gordon pulled all the strings against the Highlanders. He bagged a brace of tries whilst ripping apart the defence with five players beaten and two clean breaks. He is the heartbeat of the remarkable Rebel resurgence during a difficult period for the club off-field. Not even the last-minute heroics of Waratahs star Will Harrison or Moana’s William Havili could get ahead of Gordon’s greatness.

9 TJ Perenara (Hurricanes): Just dripping in class. The veteran certainly did not lose his prolific nature during his long injury lay-off as his brace put him alongside Savea as the competition’s leading all-time try scorer – a remarkable feat for a scrum-half. Especially given the injury to teammate Cam Roigard one would expect Perenara to be the front-runner for the All Blacks nine jersey. Rebels scrum-half Ryan Louwrens was influential in their result.

TJ Perenara equals Super Rugby try-scoring record in Hurricanes’ victory over Chiefs

Power pack

8 Valoini Ekuasi (Melbourne Rebels): Every good team needs an absolute workhorse in the back-row and the Rebels have that in Ekuasi, who nailed a game-high 18 tackles. He was used as a relentless battering ram with ball in hand as well tallying up 12 carries in a robust outing. Ekuasi gets in ahead Crusader Tom Christie, who impressed in a losing cause, while Moana Pasifika’s Sione Havili Talitui was also brilliant.

7 Billy Harmon (Highlanders): It is almost impossible to ignore a round-high 20 tackle count. Harmon covered just about every blade of grass for the Highlanders albeit in vain. He also put his hand up on attack, making nine carries against the Rebels. His commitment edges him ahead of Hurricane Peter Lakai.

6 Lachlan Swinton (Waratahs): Some players just thrive in the trenches and the back-row did just that at the weekend where his carries were rewarded with a try. While on defence he notched up 12 tackles as he laid the bricks for a memorable win over the Crusaders.

5 Ned Hannigan (Waratahs): Another New South Wales player who was hard at work in the coalface as he constantly offered himself for carries or tackles, doing just about anything he could to help his team. He also took the most line-outs for his side in a proud performance. Moana’s Allan Craig was admirable in his work rate as well.

4 Caleb Delany (Hurricanes): A second-row masterclass from an ever-growing player whose performance was built on 17 tackles – a sublime defensive shift. He also got stuck in with ball in hand, making nine carries that resulted in metres each time.

3 Sione Mafileo (Moana Pasifika): Never shy to work hard as his eight tackles show. He made a few carries but also managed the set-piece rather well throughout as Moana went on to beat a Reds side that lost their heads in the second half.

2 Asafo Aumua (Hurricanes): The powerhouse hooker has been central to the Hurricanes form this season and was on show again in the clash with the Chiefs. He bagged a try as just reward for his efforts including five defenders beaten, 14 tackles made and one turnover won. Anyone worried about All Blacks hooker depth can certainly rest their minds happily.

1 Xavier Numia (Hurricanes): Another strong effort coming out of a dominant Hurricanes front-row. The loosehead’s mobility on defence is rather impressive as his 12 tackles back up. His set-piece was also sound as he provided a solid platform for the league leaders to thrive off.

READ MORE: Who’s hot and who’s not: Superstars shine in Champions Cup, Peter O’Mahony signs on and chaos in Super Rugby Pacific… again