Team of the Week: Super Rugby, Round 14

Date published: May 20 2019

With the dust having settled on Round 14 of Super Rugby, we have gone through the action to pick out the best players from the past weekend.

The South African sides lead the way this week, with the Bulls and Lions represented by three players apiece following their impressive victories over the Rebels and Highlanders respectively, while the Jaguares, Waratahs and Blues are next best with two each.

Team of the Week: Super Rugby, Round 14

15 Emiliano Boffelli (Jaguares): Was a rock at the back for the Argentinian outfit during their historic victory over the Hurricanes at the weekend. Boffelli is comfortable anywhere in the back three but the number 15 shirt gives him the space to weave his magic. He made 100 metres and was also solid under the high ball, meaning that he edges out the Highlanders’ Matt Faddes and the Waratahs’ Kurtley Beale, who has impressed in Israel Folau’s absence.

14 Courtnall Skosan (Lions): Another excellent display from the wing, who was a constant threat to the Highlanders’ defence. Jock Campbell is perhaps unfortunate to miss out after scoring his first Super Rugby try in the Reds’ defeat to the Waratahs but, following 67 metres made, three clean breaks and six defenders beaten, as well as the game-clinching try, Skosan deservedly takes his place in the XV.

13 TJ Faiane (Blues): Another bruising display from the centre, who regularly makes ground in traffic, and that showed with 54 metres from 10 carries against the Chiefs on Saturday. Faiane has enjoyed a good campaign and continued his fine form in Auckland as his side claimed a crucial victory over their New Zealand rivals. Elsewhere, the experienced Adam Ashley-Cooper once again played well for the ‘Tahs, but he could not displace the 23-year-old.

12 Jeronimo de la Fuente (Jaguares): A crucial cog in the Argentine’s backline, De La Fuente caused problems for the ‘Canes with his footwork as he beat a superb eight defenders. The centre also carried hard and that was displayed by his try as the 46-times capped international crossed the whitewash, despite the attentions of a couple of defenders. In total, the 28-year-old ran for 51 metres and gets in ahead of the Reds’ Samu Kerevi.

11 Rosko Specman (Bulls): There were several contenders for this position, with Ramiro Moyano (Jaguares) and Rieko Ioane (Blues) both impressing for their respective sides, but we’ve gone for Specman, who was a key part of the Bulls’ victory over the Rebels. Specman didn’t make the metres of either Moyano or Ioane, but his qualities were hugely valuable to the Pretoria-based outfit on Friday. Firstly, he set up Burger Odendaal’s try, using his Sevens skills to good effect, before the flyer ended the game as a contest with a score of his own 12 minutes from time.

10 Bernard Foley (Waratahs): The Bulls’ Handre Pollard and the Jaguares’ Joaquin Diaz Bonilla are perhaps unfortunate to miss out, but Foley was key to his team’s victory over the Reds. Kicked his goals, scoring 25 points in total, and the fly-half was also a creative force in attack. The ‘Tahs crossed the whitewash four times, with Foley getting one of them, as the Sydney-based side put themselves back into play-off contention. Could this be the spark that sees them go on a run and takes top-spot in the Australian Conference?

9 Will Genia (Rebels): The Rebels may have lost but that wasn’t down to their scrum-half, who has been excellent throughout this campaign. Genia was a threat on attack and around the fringes, making 53 metres, while the Australia international also produced good support lines, as evidenced by his try. Although the Rebels rather lost their way in the final quarter, that wasn’t down to Genia, who did his best to wrestle back control and, as a result, gets the nod over the Stormers’ Herschel Jantjies.

8 Kwagga Smith (Lions): With Lions captain Warren Whiteley ruled out through injury, Smith was shifted from the side of the scrum to the back and what he gave was superb in his side’s triumph over the Highlanders. His attacking ability came to the fore strongly and he was rewarded with a brace of tries. Eventually made 54 metres from eight runs with two clean breaks and he beat five defenders. Michael Wells of the Waratahs is unlucky to miss out, as he also scored two tries against the Reds, as well as the Bulls’ Duane Vermeulen.

7 Siya Kolisi (Stormers): The Springbok captain was back to his best during the Stormers’ 19-19 draw with the tournament’s leading team, the Crusaders, in Cape Town. The 27-year-old led from the front, especially on attack, where he gained 48 metres from five runs including one clean break, from which he scored a superb try. He finished with two defenders beaten, managed an offload and also completed seven tackles. Michael Hooper and Juan Manuel Leguizamon were next best.

6 Hanro Liebenberg (Bulls): The entire Bulls pack played well in their win over the Rebels in Melbourne and Liebenberg was one of the Pretoria-based outfit’s leading players. He did well on attack, gaining 45 metres from seven carries, which included three clean breaks, as well as an offload. The Stormers’ Pieter-Steph du Toit and Pablo Matera of the Jaguares also caught the eye.

5 RG Snyman (Bulls): Another one the Bulls’ standout players against the Rebels, Snyman was at the forefront of the Bulls’ forward effort as he impressed on attack and defence. Snyman made 34 metres from seven carries with three defenders beaten, two clean breaks and he also completed three offloads. He edges out Crusaders captain Sam Whitelock and Tomas Lavanini of the Jaguares.

4 Patrick Tuipulotu (Blues): Eben Etzebeth and Scott Barrett had a memorable duel in the Stormers’ draw with the Crusaders but Tuipulotu gets the nod after a fine showing in his side’s win over the Chiefs at Eden Park. The big All Black was the Blues’ go-to man in the lineouts where he won a game-high six balls but also shone on attack and defence. He eventually gained 24 metres with one clean break, a defender beaten, an offload and he made six hits.

3 Sekope Kepu (Waratahs): This was a tough decision as Trevor Nyakane and Ofa Tuungafasi also made solid contributions for the Bulls and Blues respectively but we’ve opted for the London Irish-bound Wallaby, who impressed in his side’s derby win over the Reds in Brisbane. The 33-year-old stood up well in the scrums and also made 10 tackles.

2 Codie Taylor (Crusaders): The All Blacks hooker gave a good account of himself in a tightly-fought battle against the Stormers and comes into our XV ahead of Springbok duo of Malcolm Marx (Lions) and Schalk Brits (Bulls), as well as Jaguares veteran Agustin Creevy. Taylor delivered a fine all-round display and also impressed with the execution of his core duties. He eventually gained 24 metres on attack, which included two clean breaks, three defenders beaten and a try-assist.

1 Dylan Smith (Lions): The Lions’ scrummaging was particularly impressive in their victory against the Highlanders and Smith deserves special praise as he was the cornerstone of his side’s success in that department. Elsewhere, Steven Kitshoff and Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro also put in huge shifts for the Stormers and Jaguares respectively.