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 Curwin Bosch (Sharks) Bosch was like a scalpel as he repeatedly cut through the Lions defensive line on their way to a 42-5 dismantling of the 2018 runners-up, the Lions, in Durban. Two tries and some real wizardry on attack and then rounded the game off with some good kicks from the tee.
14 Reece Hodge (Rebels) Taking a bit of license here as Hodge played at fullback but with the lack of a stand out in the number 14 jersey we’ll bang him in there. Scored two of his 3 tries from flat in the line and also set up Quade Cooper for his.
13 Lukanyo Am (Sharks) Had a bit of a laugh at his expense last week saying his Mum might have awarded his ‘Man of the Match’ award but this week he was excellent on both sides of the ball. With Kriel and Am firing this is a position of strength for the Springboks.
12 Ma’a Nonu (Blues) This week we had some masterclasses from 12. Samu Kerevi has been a strong leader in a young Reds team this year and was influential in the win over the Stormers. Ryan Crotty was outstanding as he featured in the comeback in Christchurch, the Crusaders were 7-0 down to the Brumbies at halftime but really did change the impetus. Then Ma’a Nonu showed he is a genuine contender for a midfield position at the World Cup with a mature guiding hand over the Blues victory against the Waratahs. Both Crotty and Nonu displayed mastery, distributing to ball carriers in space. Crotty, Nonu, Laumape, Goodhue, ALB, SBW. 6 great players, only four required…
11 Makazole Mapimpi (Sharks) Last week I lamented that we don’t get to see Mapimpi in space very often and this week we saw what he can bring to a game with a bit of room and go-forward. He is very exciting to watch and hopefully the Sharks can continue to get him the pill!
10 Domingo Miotti (Jaguares) Ok so I had pencilled in Richie Mo’unga’s name here while watching the final game of the weekend, the Bulls v Jaguares and with 9 minutes to go the South Africans had a 10 point lead and looking as safe as they could without having Handre Pollard playing. In that last 9 minutes, young Domingo came off the bench, scored two tries and a tough conversion from the sideline and conducted play like a veteran. How easy is this Super Rugby? My mates are sick to death of me reminding them that one of the only countries that will field a team with over a thousand caps in RWC 2023 will be Argentina, and the only weakness they will have is at 10. Could this guy be the answer? Incredible start.
9 Bryn Hall (Crusaders) I think there’s still a load of Canterbury supporters who’d prefer Mitchell Drummond as starting 9 at the Crusaders but the import from North Harbour made a real difference in the last 35 mins against the Brumbies. Really concentrated on lifting the tempo, burrowing into rucks like a demented mole to retrieve the ball for another quick phase which eventually broke down the Aussies. Jordan Taufua was the other point of difference who came on around the same time. Will Genia had another blockbuster.
8 Dan du Preez (Sharks) Second week in a row. He has been immense this season and I am sure his performance underlined to the Lions that they desperately need Warren Whitely back in their line-up.
7 Ardie Savea (Hurricanes) Power and pace like no other loosie at the moment. Sam Cane has the experience but will really have to prove he hasn’t lost any of his strength and courage because Savea is dominating games.
6 Pablo Matera (Jaguares) Matera scored a try and alongside Tomas Lezana gobbled up metres for fun in the first half vs the Bulls. In the battle between AB blindside hopefuls Shannon Frizell and Vaea Fifita, it seemed as though Frizell had the points win but Fifita’s team won the game.
5 Scott Barrett (Crusaders) Definitely the form lock of the NZ conference and the form player of the Barrett family, quite an achievement! His consistency of work rate and accuracy is his best asset.
4 Tom Staniforth (Waratahs) A lot of people would say “the winners take the spoils, why wouldn’t you give this position to Patrick Tuipolotu?”. Well 20 minutes in at Eden Park, the Waratahs were wilting against the home team, down 17-0 and off limps Ned Hannigan. All of a sudden the Waratahs started winning collisions and Staniforth fronted up to the big Blues pack and said “we are here to win”. And boy were they close! If he could continue that form he is just the type of aggressive power player in the second row the Wallabies are missing.
3 Tyrel Lomax (Highlanders) narrowly pips Jermaine Ainsley (Rebels) for the tight head jersey. Solid scrum and some powerful play in the tackle area.
2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa (Reds) The hooker position for the Wallabies is the same as the All Black blindside spot. A pack of hungry youngsters with a real opportunity for a big prize. BPA stepped up to take on some big South Africans and has two more gigantic African packs to take on to state his case in the next fortnight. Anaru Rangi is also played well for the Rebels.
1 Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks) Second week in a row. The Sharks were hoping they could put on a performance for the Beast’s record breaking 157th Super rugby cap and the prop decided to get things going with 5 powerful ball carries in the first 5 minutes. That really put the Shark’s fin on the Lion’s throat and they didn’t let up.
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