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Super Rugby Team of the Week - Round Two

By Mike Rehu

As Eric Rush once said, this is just one mans opinion. Please add your picks and your favourites in the feedback box below.

15. Israel Folau (Waratahs) 2nd selection in two weeks.  Continued his good form in Tokyo with two tries and gets the call over his compatriot Tom Banks (Brumbies). Banks was a fire-cracker on attack and showed real pace.

14. Gerhard van den Heever (Sunwolves). The South African took advantage of the Japanese ?Barbarian style to show sizzling pace in the collection of his brace of tries. Bautista Delguy (Jaguares) and Melani Nanai (blues) kept defences busy as well.

13. Jordan Petaia (Reds). This was probably the most competitive position this week, some quality performances in the 13 jersey this week. The 18 year old was freakish in his strength through the hips and ability to keep his feet. What an amazing prospect for the Wallabies. Jack Goodhue (Crusaders), Tevita Kurindrani (Brumbies), Shane Gates (Sunwolves), Matias Orlando (Jaguares) and Lukhanyo Am (Sharks) all nipping at his heels.

12. Ryan Crotty (Crusaders). Kurtley Beale (Waratahs) and Samu Kerevi (Reds) played well in their first outings for the Super season but Crotty put in the classic Warwick Taylor performance, oozing glue as the rest of the Crusaders backline cut capers.

11. George Bridge (Crusaders). Bridge constantly delights with his silky running skills. Could he be the Kiwi bolter for this years World Cup?

10. Josh Ioane (Highlanders). The message has been that all players have been working hard over the off-season but maybe we should do a Boudjellal DNA test on this young fella. He has really matured and looks a different player; the kicking, passing and tackling skills have been irrepressible. Its great to see Christian Leilafano (Brumbies) stepping up as well in RWC year. He was very much the conductor in the Brumbies orchestra in their stunning win over the Chiefs.

9. Tomas Cubelli (Jaguares) The Argentinian returned from two seasons at the Brumbies to show he has grown while he was away. The Jaguares are renowned for poor game management but with Cubelli at the cutter there is some certainty.

8. Jack Dempsey (Waratahs). The number 8 enjoyed the open nature of the match up against the Sunwolves. Hell have tougher days but he continuing his good come back from long-term injury.

7. Kwagga Smith (Lions). Kwaggas been at the gym. The shoulders and upper body show he has evolved from sevens specialist to man who is keen to play an influential role at this years World Cup. His new physique has improved his ground game and collisions and he hasnt lost the ball-playing skill and decision making in open play.

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Shannon Frizell. Photo / Getty Images.

6. Shannon Frizell (Highlanders). Steve Hansen laid down the challenge last week and boy did some number 6s step up. Frizell might not have the noticeable mop of red hair like the impressive Tom Robinson but he uses his preposterous power to win collisions and convert chances into five pointers close to the line. You dont get bigger macho clashes than a Bulls v Jaguares match up and Marcos Kremer was the scariest hombre in BA.

5. Eben Etzebeth (Stormers). It was inconceivable that the Stormers would win with 26 minutes left at Newlands. Theyd continued their moribund form and looked to be heading to a sorry 0-2 record. Then on came the Springbok star and he dragged the Cape Town team to a victory with his sheer will and physical power. Ruan Botha (Sharks) was an obelisk all around the park.

4. Scott Barrett (Crusaders). Second selection in two weeks. Both the Crusaders and the Hurricanes missing leaders it was important for others to step up. Scott Barrett was the exemplar of that, with two tries early in each half and brute physicality he will leave Scott Robertson and Steve Hansen no chance to leave him out of starting line-ups in 2019.

3. Owen Franks (Crusaders). What is the best adjective for a tighthead? Solid? Thats what big Owie does season after season and Crusaders diehards love him for it.

2. Akker van de Merwe (Sharks). Second selection in two weeks. Continued his mixture of brute power and mauling knowledge to make a real difference against the Blues.

1. James Slipper (Brumbies). It seems like Brad Thorns casting aside of Slipper, Cooper and Hunt has been a win-win. All three players have asserted themselves at their new clubs and the Reds team spirit is palpable. Slipper won his battle against Nepo Laulala and set a solid platform for his teams victory.

Rugby World Cup City Guides – Kumamoto:

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Tim 55 minutes ago
'It’s a mental thing': Joe Schmidt on the Wallabies' flyhalf issues

Ben Donaldson had not played Super Rugby for the past eight weeks. Surely, he was playing Shute Shield for Randwick in that time to keep up the fitness…?? Eight weeks is a long break to be thrust in against a hungry skillful side like Georgia who deserve to be in the “7 Nations”. (Italy, Wales & Scotland v Georgia, can’t wait to see those ones). In the second test against Wales, Donaldson was put on for nine minutes. That was a mistake from the coaching team, who already knew he was starting the following week against Georgia. They should have put him on for 20-25 minutes, with Nick Whyte at halfback, and their combination from the Force would have flowed. Donaldsons first 20 minutes against Georgia was a shocker. However, well done to Joe Schmidt for keeping him out there because Donaldsons game improved as the rust came off, he was hammered a few times and handled it and he came into his groove. He made mistakes which they will all learn from. Ben Donaldson is a naturally talented rugby player who the Wallabies have to stick with at no.10. “Over the black Dot-aldson” is a good nick name for him with his awesome goal kicking style. It looks as though, off the boot, it’s going to hit the post. Then it just curves in beautifully every time, once he is in the groove. Donaldsons play this season for the Force, with Kurtley and co., was amazing to watch. Kurtley making one of the best comebacks in history. Donaldson has to be played consistently with Flash Gordon, Big LEN, McReight, Tupou, Kellaway. Oh, that’s right, there is Bell, Kerevi, Petaia (This list does go on a bit). Donaldson will be slotting these weapons into gaps, and into the clear, before we know it… One more thing which I will just assume is happening, just include JOC in the Wallabies squad. He is a rugby genius. His skills, wisdom and experience would be infectious around the Wallabies relatively inexperienced backline. JOC has mastered the art of all the positions long ago. JOC is so skilled and match fit atm taking THE REDS, at no.10, within a point of beating Wales. He can come off the bench and slot into the backline for the Wallabies at 10, 12, 13 or 15 at any stage of a test match. Ummm yeah, not bad… I am assuming that BIG JOE, Laurie “Gandalf” Fischer, Mike “The scrum Doctor” Cron and the team obviously already know all this. I am just a passionate rugby union supporter, and I am very happy that these guys are in charge of the coaching duties, what a coaching team the Wallabies have been blessed with. (Good luck with selecting the match day 23 when Will Skelton, who was playing amazing rugby for La Rochelle, and the boys return from Europe/Japan, Samu Kerevi…???) Now just imagine having Bernie Larkham, Toutai Kefu, Nathan Grey and John “Nobody” Eales as your coaching apprentices… GO AUSTRALIAN RUGBY… Doing a great job Phil Waugh, Joe Roff, Dan Herbert and the team. An amazing three years ahead. GO THE WALLABIES… GO THE WALLAROOS… GO THE 7’s in Paris…

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