As Eric Rush once said, “this is just one man’s opinion”. Please add your picks and your favourites in the feedback box below.
15 Jordie Barrett (Hurricanes)
It seemed like there was an experimental law introduced that didn’t allow any Chiefs outside back apart from Anton Leonard Brown to tackle the Hurricanes fullback as he sauntered through for two tries early in the game against the Chiefs. His pace, strength, and ability to pop balls in the tackle made him a stand out revelation in one of his first games at fullback for the season.
14 Sevu Reece (Crusaders)
First of all we saw Reece’s creative strengths as he drew two tacklers and set up Braydon Ennor for the Crusaders first try against the Lions. Then we gasped at his strength as he smashed Kwagga Smith back on his backside on his way to his first try of the evening. Try number two was another freakish display; he blitzed around the defenders, dived at the rolling ball at pace to go over. Reece has really put himself in the All Black frame with some powerful displays. Sebastian Cancelliere (Jaguares) was dynamic in his second start of the year.
13 Braydon Ennor (Crusaders)
When you give Jack Goodhue the night off you may think that there’s a weakness in the Crusaders midfield. Braydon Ennor took his opportunity in both hands and made it count. Ran some brilliant lines and has some incredible pace for a big man.
12 Anton Lienert Brown (Chiefs)
In a team that’s had its ups and downs this season one thing has been constant and that is the quality, skills, and passion of ALB. Always seems to have time on his hands and his evasions skills are par excellence. He is a must have in the competitive midfield selection slot for the All Blacks.
11 Dillyn Leyds (Stormers)
The Stormer’s left wing is unconventional, nothing is off limits when he has the ball in hand. He is an artist not bound by the structure that a lot of Super rugby players have. It’s a great sight when he’s running at full pace and has an incredible vision for opportunities. Surely his bid for a Springbok place is not over? George Bridge (Crusaders) is back to his flowing best as well.
10 Domingo Miotti (Jagaures)
Curwin Bosch (Sharks) and Richie Mo’unga (Crusaders) had influential outings for their franchises but Miotti is making every post a winner in his time in the Jaguares 10 jersey. A bit like Mo’unga he doesn’t overplay his hand; his forte against the Brumbies was his kicking game and the choices he made on attack. His emergence must give the Puma’s fans hope they can succeed in their tough pool at the RWC.
9 Aaron Smith (Highlanders)
Smith is irrepressible when he is in the form that he showed against the Sunwolves. It also helped that his forward pack were on the front foot, plus some. Blessed with his lightning pass, sometimes he falls into being a little one-dimensional. But in Tokyo he showed the full palette of the skills sniping from the base and perhaps ominously for Rugby World Cup opposition he started putting in challenging attacking kicks from set piece, a little like Bryn Hall from the Crusaders has been doing with great effect.
8 Dan du Preez (Sharks)
As Duane Vermeulen (Bulls) struggled against the waves of powerful attacks from Stormers forwards in Cape town, dynamic Dan enjoyed a dominant display taking on the Waratahs. In tandem with his twin bro JP, it was like a sci-fi clone nightmare for the home team.
7 Ardie Savea (Hurricanes)
Would have to be one of the contender’s for Super Rugby Player of the Season so far. Does all you’d expect from an open side flanker but then gives you some amazing options on attack. Does everything with great power and enthusiasm; there’s a great end-on replay as one of the Hurricanes front rowers burrows in near the line when all of a sudden Ardie Savea comes from nowhere and clatters 2-3 defenders out of the way like a heavy bowling ball into skittles. Ranked number 1 in the world on the RugbyPass Index.
6 Luke Whitelock (Highlanders)
Bit of a controversial decision this one and it has made the race for the All Blacks 6 jersey even more confusing. The Highlanders already have Frizell, Squire, Dixon, and Hemepo as contenders and you’d wonder whether there was some influence from the selectors to see how the experienced Whitelock would go there. And if there was a question there certainly is an answer. He goes bloody well there!
5 Tom Franklin (Highlanders)
Tom Franklin had a great first half and showed some real steel leading the way for the Highlanders against the Sunwolves. He faded a little in the second but he really set the tone for the Highlanders’ win and shut the Sunwolves out right from the get-go.
4 Cobus Wiese (Stormers)
The giant 21-year-old second rower put in a wonderful shift in Cape Town as the Stormers gained revenge against the Bulls for a huge defeat in round one. Paired up with the mighty JD Schickerling, who was coming back from injury, the pair created havoc amongst the Bulls defensive line. Wiese was particularly effective with over 60 m running, some great line breaks and real continuity when he got through the line. Then when Wiese was substituted, on came the towering figure of Eben Etzebeth, a deflating move that slumped a few Bull’s shoulders.
3 Thomas du Toit (Sharks)
Du Toit’s under a lot of pressure for his South African place at present with players like Sadie, Louw, Nyakane, and Malherbe making great bids for Rugby World Cup selection.
Du Toit, who has been kept out of the Sharks starting line-up most for the season by Coenie Oosthuizen, scrummaged solidly and made some determined runs at the Waratahs’ line. The incident that perhaps decided the game involved Du Toit as well, he was pulling Ned Holloway’s jersey as the Waratah retaliated with his elbow. That led to a yellow card for the Shark prop but more importantly, Holloway received a red and the Waratahs struggled for the rest of the game with 14, and at times, 13 men. Tyrel Lomax (Highlanders) also continued his good form.
2 Agustin Creevey (Jaguares)
Started his first game since round three, missed a couple of long throws at lineout time but other than that was his abrasive best. Running anywhere near Creevey into a tackle is like going down a dead end street. He’s the turnover king. Also has great leadership credentials. Having a rare start was Asafo Aumua (Hurricanes) who is finally back to the form he showed in 2017. Akker van der Merwe (Sharks) was making his come-back off the bench and looked refreshed.
1 Lizo Gqoboka (Bulls)
When props catch the eye as much as this guy does you have to have a close look to make sure he is doing his core role. He was up against august company at the Stormers with their double plinths Malherbe and Louw. Started conceding a penalty at the first scrum but was pretty good from then on. His strength is certainly around the field but didn’t disgrace himself overall. Would imagine he may come into RWC reckoning if the Beast goes down with injury.
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