With the dust having settled on Round 18 of Super Rugby, we have gone through the action to pick out the best players from the past weekend.
The Chiefs and Jaguares lead the way with four representatives each following dominant victories over the Rebels and Sunwolves respectively, while the Bulls are next best with three after they defeated the Lions.
Team of the Week: Super Rugby, Round 18
15 Warrick Gelant (Bulls): An excellent display from the Springbok full-back, who helped the Pretoria-based outfit secure their place in the Super Rugby quarter-finals at the expense of the Lions. Gelant was a constant thorn to the Johannesburg team in the open spaces and eventually made 134 metres as the hosts eased to a 48-27 triumph at Loftus Versfeld. Credit must also go to the Brumbies’ Tom Banks, who shone against the Reds on Saturday.
14 Shaun Stevenson (Chiefs): One of the easiest calls in this XV as the talented youngster continually ripped through the Rebels’ flimsy rearguard and was rewarded with a hat-trick in the 59-8 thrashing. Stevenson also ran for a staggering 161 metres, which included five clean breaks and as many defenders beaten, while he also registered an assist. It means the Bulls’ Cornal Hendricks has to settle for second, despite impressing in their victory at the weekend.
— Super Rugby (@SuperRugbyNZ) June 17, 2019
13 Rob Thompson (Highlanders): A consistent performer for the South Islanders and enjoyed his day against a weakened Waratahs side by causing the Australians a number of problems throughout. He racked up the metres, running for exactly 100, and completed the rout with the final try of the match. Lukhanyo Am (Sharks), who scored the winner against the Stormers, and Peter Umaga-Jensen (Hurricanes), who touched down twice versus the Blues, deserve mentions, but Thompson deservedly takes his place in the XV.
12 Anton Lienert-Brown (Chiefs): Despite the Chiefs’ general struggles this season, the All Black centre has been outstanding and is probably the main reason why they’re featuring in another Super Rugby quarter-final. Those qualities were to the fore on Friday as Lienert-Brown ran for 114 metres, which included a try and four clean breaks, and knitted the backline together nicely. It means that the outstanding Samu Kerevi (Reds) is the unfortunate one to miss out, even though he impressed in their final match of the season.
11 Sebastian Cancelliere (Jaguares): Moved over from the right wing as we simply had to include both him and Shaun Stevenson. Cancelliere benefited from the Sunwolves’ porous defence out wide, making 169 metres and five clean breaks. The back three player also touched down twice as he edged out Brumbies flyer Tom Wright, who produced a good display against the Reds, which he marked with an intercept try.
10 Domingo Miotti (Jaguares): No Nicolas Sanchez, no problem for the Argentinians. There were concerns that the star fly-half’s departure to French team Stade Francais would create a huge void, but Miotti and compatriot Joaquin Diaz Bonilla have allayed those concerns. They have filled in seamlessly and the former stood out as they ended the regular season with a dominant 52-10 win. The 23-year-old pivot kicked well and also excelled with ball in hand, making 60 metres, as he edged out the Chiefs’ Jack Debreczeni and Handre Pollard of the Bulls.
9 Brad Weber (Chiefs): Was at his energetic best against the Rebels, setting a high tempo and taking the right decisions. Weber’s passing was sharp and, as ever, he was dangerous around the fringes of the contact area. Like fellow New Zealanders TJ Perenara and Aaron Smith, who was excellent for the Highlanders on Friday, the Chiefs man is a superb support runner and the Rebels struggled to contain him.
8 Lachlan McCaffrey (Brumbies): The 29-year-old was in fine form as the Brumbies finished off their campaign at the top of the Australian Conference with a win over the Reds in Canberra. McCaffrey delivered a workmanlike performance with 27 metres gained from 12 runs with one clean break, three defenders beaten and he also scored a try. Also did well on defence with 12 tackles and comes in ahead of the Rebels’ Isi Naisarani and Akira Ioane of the Blues.
7 Marco van Staden (Bulls): The Springbok tearaway delivered a superb all-round performance as the Bulls got the better of the Lions in a fast-paced South African derby in Pretoria. Van Staden was superb at the breakdown, where he won a couple of turnovers, but also made his presence felt on attack, gaining 53 metres from 17 runs with one clean break and four defenders beaten. Beats out Sam Cane and Rob Valetini, who played well for the Chiefs and Brumbies respectively.
6 Liam Squire (Highlanders): The All Black loose forward hit the ground running as the Highlanders proved too strong for the Waratahs in Invercargill. Squire went about his business in a quiet but efficient manner and did well on attack where he gained 39 metres, which included one clean break and five defenders beaten. Also put in some big hits on defence and edges out Tomás Lezana (Jaguares), Lachlan Boshier (Chiefs) and Johan du Toit (Stormers).
5 Isaia Walker-Leawere (Hurricanes): RG Snyman shone for the Bulls again but we’ve opted for the young Maori All Blacks second-row, who gave a good account of himself as the Hurricanes claimed a come-from-behind triumph over the Blues in Wellington. Walker-Leawere was superb with ball in hand, gaining 42 metres from six carries which included a memorable break, one defender beaten and a well-taken try.
— Super Rugby (@SuperRugbyNZ) June 15, 2019
4 Guido Petti (Jaguares): The Argentine international was one of the Jaguares’ standout players against the Sunwolves as he delivered a fine all-round showing. Petti proved a handful to the Sunwolves defence as he ran for 60 metres from 10 runs which included one clean break, eight defenders beaten as well as an offload. Also won some lineout balls and made 10 tackles. The Rebels’ Matt Philip also impressed in his side’s loss to the Chiefs.
3 Angus Ta’avao (Chiefs): Trevor Nyakane of the Bulls caught the eye in the win over the Lions but Ta’avao makes our team after a strong display for the Chiefs in Melbourne. The All Blacks front-row impressed with his strong scrummaging but made the biggest impact on attack where he gained 30 metres from five runs with two clean breaks and a defender beaten. Also threw the final pass in the build-up to a great Sam Cane try and made nine tackles.
2 Julián Montoya (Jaguares): One of the Jaguares’ unsung heroes, Montoya made a rare start for the Argentine outfit and delivered the goods against the Sunwolves. He made 24 metres from four runs with two clean breaks and two defenders beaten. Also did his bit on defence where he completed 14 tackles and beats out Liam Coltman of the Highlanders.
1 Lizo Gqoboka (Bulls): Gqoboka has impressed with several excellent performances this year and came to the fore with another superb effort for the Bulls in their victory over the Lions. The 29-year-old stood up well in the scrums but shone on attack as well and scored a deserved try. He was also busy on defence and eventually completed six tackles. The Brumbies’ Scott Sio was next best.