Team of the Week: Kiwis galore
SUPER RUGBY SPOTLIGHT: After some brilliant performances, it comes as no surprise that our first Super Rugby Team of the Week for the year is dominated by Kiwi players.
There are no less than eight New Zealanders in our XV with the Hurricanes leading the way with four players in the team after their big win over the Sunwolves.
The Jaguares are the next best represented with three players after their 39-26 win over the Southern Kings.
The Brumbies, Blues, Chiefs and Stormers have two players each in our XV.
In the back three, we have Joaquín Tuculet, Vince Aso and James Lowe. Rieko Ioane and Ngani Laumape combine in our midfield.
Ihaia West and Gonzalo Bertranou are our halfbacks.
In the pack, we have Leonardo Senatore, Ardie Savea and Scott Fardy in the back row. Michael Fatialofa and Rory Arnold are our choices in the second row.
Wilco Louw, Hika Elliot and JC Janse van Rensburg make up our front row.
Team of the Week - Round One:
15 - Joaquín Tuculet (Jaguares)
The Southern Kings defence was cut to shreds every time he had the ball. He scored a great try and had a hand in a few others.
Bubbling under: Sarel Marais (Stormers)
14 - Vince Aso (Hurricanes)
He was part of menacing Hurricanes backline against the Sunwolves and he scored two tries as well.
Bubbling under: Toni Pulu (Chiefs)
13 - Rieko Ioane (Blues)
The youngster was a creative force on attack and he also did his bit in a strong defensive display against the Melbourne Rebels.
Bubbling under: Matt Proctor (Hurricanes)
12 - Ngani Laumape (Hurricanes)
The big centre was destructive with ball in hand against the Sunwolves. He had a hand in a few tries and scored one himself.
Bubbling under: Damian de Allende (Stormers)
11 - James Lowe (Chiefs)
He capitalised on the Highlanders' mistakes to score two tries, which laid the platform for his team's victory.
Bubbling under: Julian Savea (Hurricanes)
10 - Ihaia West (Blues)
The pivot set his backline alight with his vision and creativity.
Bubbling under: Aaron Cruden (Chiefs)
9 - Gonzalo Bertranou (Jaguares)
He gave the Southern Kings all kinds of problems with his darting runs and he scored a brilliant try as well.
Bubbling under: Tawera Kerr-Barlow (Chiefs)
8 - Leonardo Senatore (Jaguares)
The Argentine international produced a magnificent all-round performance against the Southern Kings and he scored one of his team's three tries.
Bubbling under: Hanro Liebenberg (Bulls)
7 - Ardie Savea (Hurricanes)
He was immense against the Sunwolves and he scored two tries. He also made his presence felt at the breakdowns.
Bubbling under: Siyamthanda Kolisi (Stormers)
6 - Scott Fardy (Brumbies)
He played out of skin for the Canberra side in a losing cause against the Crusaders.
Bubbling under: Uzair Cassiem (Cheetahs)
5 - Michael Fatialofa (Hurricanes)
The big guy was awesome in open play and crossed the whitewash twice.
Bubbling under: Brodie Retallick (Chiefs)
4 - Rory Arnold (Brumbies)
He provided his team with some much-need grunt up front against a strong Crusaders pack.
Bubbling under: Scott Barrett (Crusaders)
3 - Wilco Louw (Stormers)
The youngster produced his best performance against the Bulls last weekend. He was a monster in the scrums.
Bubbling under: Retshegofaditswe Nche (Cheetahs)
2 - Hika Elliot (Chiefs)
He did what was asked of him and his line-out throwing was accurate as well.
Bubbling under: Ricci Riccitelli (Hurricanes)
1 - JC Janse van Rensburg (Stormers)
Played an instrumental role in a strong Stormers scrum against the Bulls.
Bubbling under: James Slipper (Reds)
Our individual selections:
Andrew Howitt XV: 15 Sarel Marais 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 James Lowe 10 Jean-Luc Du Plessis, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Michael Fatialofa, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Ricci Riccitelli, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Warren Fortune XV: 15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Vince Aso, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 James Lowe, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Michael Fatialofa, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Paul Dobson XV: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Toni Pulu, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Scott Fardie, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 James Slipper.
Tauriq Ebrahim XV: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Vince Aso, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Uzair Cassiem, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Retshegofaditswe Nche, 2 Josh Mann-Rea, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.