Mike Rehu runs through his Mitre 10 Cup Team of the Week for Round 2.
15 – Will Jordan (Tasman)
The Tasman fullback is dangerous, all he needs is a gasp of oxygen against an air-tight defence and he wreaks havoc. With his two tries against Southland, he narrowly beats off the challenge of Cantab George Bridge.
14 – Melani Nanai (Auckland)
This guy can do some freakish stuff, from “how did he do that?” to “why did he do that?”. Auckland is benefitting from his ability to get to the try line; 2 wins from 2 a good start for the beleaguered big city boys.
13 – Brayden Ennor (Canterbury)
Originally I had the tyro Quinn Tupaea from Waikato down at centre but I had a genuinely warm feeling seeing one of the U20 RWC 2017 heroes finally get time in his preferred jersey. After an injury last year and the rise of Jack Goodhue he has had a few sniffs on the wing for the Crusaders but he showed he can set up outsides as well as run straight and hard.
12 – Terrence Hepetema (Bay of Plenty)
Terrence the Terror has a family name that sounds like he’d hurt you and he doesn’t disappoint! Honest, direct and strong he is a great foil for Mike Delany inside him.
11 – Mason Emerson (Hawkes Bay)
Again I had a Waikato player in at left wing, Sevu Reece was exciting with ball in hand but there’s something sizzling about Emerson that compels me to slot him in. He scorches the grass on his sprints down the touchline.
10 – Mike Delany (Bay of Plenty)
The 36-year-old has been instrumental in Bay of Plenty’s 100% record. Nothing phases him, he’s seen it all before and he seems to be a couple of steps ahead of the field at this level.
9 – Brad Webber (Hawkes Bay)
8 – Gareth Evans (Hawkes Bay)
Again a pairing with Webber, they work together smoothly to lead success for the team. Evans has led from the front, showing an incredible engine and no shortage of bravery. He’d captain this team.
7 – Dillon Hunt (North Harbour)
Dillon Hunt joins his ex-Otago teammate Evans in the loose forward trio. Their ‘southern men’ work rates are on another level. Hunt has added ball-carrying to his repertoire to go alongside his Wreck-it Ralph play at the breakdown
6 – Dalton Papali’i (Auckland)
Papali’i has been a great foil for Blake Gibson in the Auckland team. His workrate and adherence to the basics has allowed Gibson to play a true 7 role and dare I say he is taking care of some of Akira Ioane’s duties as well.
5 – Tom Robinson (Northland)
This young raw forward has the potential to be the next cult hero from Northland, a la Ranger, Maxwell and Jones. He throws his body around like he has 9 lives. Son of an All Black looks set for a Blues contract.
4 – Ben Nee-Nee (North Harbour)
Nee-nee transferred from Auckland and has impressed with his athleticism. Not the tallest lock but outstanding at lineout time. He also has the knack to be in the right place at right time in general play. Is a great foil for the workhorse Gerard Cowley Tuioti.
3 – Angus Ta’avao (Taranaki)
What a year this fella is having. Held the Chiefs scrum together and made Craig Dowd’s Super rugby XV and he’s continuing his form with the Ranfurly Shield holders. Taranaki’s scrum ascendency laid the platform for their successful defence against the Manawatu Turbos.
2 – Andrew Makalio (Tasman)
James Parsons had his best game of the year but couldn’t oust Andrew Makalio from the hooker’s spot. Strong as an ox and a defender magnet with ball in hand; he played a part in Tasman’s first three tries against Southland.
1 – Ruben O’Neill (Taranaki)
Again part of a successful duo, he gave Michael Alaalatoa a bath and toyed with the 135-kilo prop at will.
HEADS UP for Round 3
Two unbeaten Premiership teams, North Harbour and Tasman square off 3.30pm HK time this Saturday.
7 All Blacks back
The AB’s management has released 7 of the squad to play in Round 3. Loose forwards Luke Whitelock and Ardie Savea come back. Nehe Milner Skudder, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Liam Coltman, Shannon Frizzell and Time Perry will also bolster their respective provinces.
In other news:
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