Now that the dust has settled after Round Fifteen of Super Rugby, we select the players that stood out over the weekend.
There’s a mixture of players from various teams although the Stormers have the most representatives in our line-up after an impressive victory in Melbourne. Read on to see who made the cut and be sure to comment below.
15 Matt Faddes (Highlanders): Damian McKenzie pushed hard for this spot after impressing for the Chiefs against the Crusaders. However, we go for the in-form Faddes as he scored a hat-trick against the Kings as his season goes from strength to strength.
14 Dane Haylett-Petty (Force): A quieter week for wingers sees us move Haylett-Petty across full-back to the position where he excelled for the Wallabies throughout June. Saturday might have seen Haylett-Petty end up on the losing side against the Cheetahs but boy he was outstanding, making over 200 metres from 19 carries and going past nine defenders to score two tries.
13 Israel Folau (Waratahs): The Wallaby full-back made another telling contribution to the Waratahs cause while playing in midfield in their triumph over the Sunwolves. Folau gained 86 metres with ball in hand, with one clean break, six defenders beaten, two offloads and crossed for a try.
12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg (Lions): Beat four defenders and scored a try for the Lions in their win over the Sharks. Janse van Rensburg has been one of the unsung heroes for the Lions this year but he receives praise from us this week after another big carrying performance in the red shirt. Alongside Lionel Mapoe, this pair have formed one of the strongest midfield partnerships in Super Rugby 2016.
11 James Lowe (Chiefs): Continues to bang on the All Black door after yet another busy shift for the Chiefs, this time in Fiji. Lowe was a regular option to his playmakers and showed good pace to score his sixth try of the year. How long until that New Zealand call?
10 Jean-Luc du Plessis (Stormers): The Stormers pivot delivered a superb all-round showing in his sides one-sided win over the Rebels, finishing with a 27-point haul thanks to a try, five conversions and four penalties. Du Plessis shone as a playmaker, gaining 56 metres from one clean break with three defenders beaten and also put his body on line making eight hits.
9 Brad Weber (Chiefs): Superb once again for the title hopefuls as he scored a try and generally bossed the game against the Crusaders from the base. Weber was left out of the All Black squad in June but surely he’s pushing hard to sneak in for the upcoming Rugby Championship? He sees off Matt Lucas of the Waratahs for our nine jersey, with the Australian taking his chance well ahead of Nick Phipps.
8 Dave Dennis (Waratahs): Versatile enough to play at lock or six, Dennis was handy again at number eight for the ‘Tahs in their rout of the Sunwolves. Dennis make plenty of ground from his eight carries and stole a lineout, whilst also weighing in with 11 tackles. He gets the nod ahead of Steven Luatua and Schalk Burger.
7 Kara Pryor (Blues): Full of running for the Blues in their entertaining battle with the Hurricanes in Wellington, with the 25-year-old showing an impressive turn of his speed for his breakaway try after good work from Male Sa’u. Finished with 82 metres made from eight runs and also made ten tackles, getting the nod ahead of Jaguares’ workhorse Pablo Matera and the Cheetahs’ Uzair Cazziem.
6 Jerome Kaino (Blues): Pryor’s back row partner was in fine form in his side’s loss in Wellington and was rewarded with a brace of tries for his efforts. Looked dangerous on attack, winning 80 metres, with one clean break, five defenders beaten and two offloads. Also impressed in the line-outs where he stole one of the Hurricanes’ balls and did his bit in defence with seven hits. Jack Dempsey also did well for the Waratahs.
5 Eben Etzebeth (Stormers): The Springbok enforcer was at the forefront of the Stormers’ forward onslaught against the Rebels. Etzebeth gained 52 metres on attack from a clean break, with one defender beaten and also managed an offload but also shone in defence with 17 hits. Also impressed in the line-outs where he poached three of his opponents’ balls, one of which led to him crossing for a deserved try.
4 Vaea Fifita (Hurricanes): Showed his talents in the formerly known ITM Cup and is now turning heads at last in Super Rugby. Fifita is a “spooky athlete”, according to Hurricanes head coach Chris Boyd, and was excellent against the Blues as he crossed for a brace of tries in the second-half. With Blade Thomson injured, more performances such as the one in Wellington last weekend are needed from him.
3 Vincent Koch (Stormers): The Saracens-bound front-row delivered a busy shift in his side’s demolition of the Rebels and was rewarded with a try for his efforts. Koch’s impressive scrummaging led to his direct opponent, Cruze Ah Nau, being replaced 10 minutes before half-time and the Bok also impressed in defence with nine tackles. Edges out Ramiro Herrera of the Jaguares.
2 Agustín Creevy (Jaguares): Tough on Stephen Moore and Dane Coles after their strong showings for the Brumbies and Hurricanes respectively, but the leadership Creevy brings to his Jaguares team was evident again on Saturday. Two driving maul tries from the big man.
1 Reg Goodes (Hurricanes): Another strong effort from Goodes, who is surely on New Zealand’s radar as a loosehead option. He knows his way to the line and proved that again against the Blues, crashing over for a score. Him and Chris Eves need big season run-ins.