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Team of the Tournament: Cream rises

The Highlanders claimed their maiden Super Rugby title with a convincing win over the Hurricanes and they also won many places in Rugby365's famous Team of the Tournament.

 

After five gruelling months of Super Rugby, narrowing players down the best XV wasn't easy however it made for a fascinating team.

 

As to be expected the champions have healthy representation in the side as they dominated the backline positions.

 

The Highlanders claimed the most spots with five players in the starting XV while South African conference winners the Stormers snatched four. 

 

The competition runners-up only managed to salvage one starting berth through James Broadhurst, however the Canes have a strong contingent on the bench.

 

The Crusaders, Lions and losing semifinalists the Brumbies are the other teams that feature in the side. 

 

The back-up squad is dominated by the Hurricanes with seven players bubbling under while the Waratahs, Lions, Chiefs, Highlanders and Bulls claim their places on the pine.

 

Team of the Tournament: Super Rugby:

 

Team of the Tournament: Cream rises15 – Ben Smith (Highlanders): It can only be awarded to one individual and that is Ben Smith who featured in the tournaments leading carries, clean breaks, defenders beaten, metres gained and offloads.

Bubbling under: Israel Folau (Waratahs)

 

Team of the Tournament: Cream rises14 – Waisake Naholo (Highlanders): He scored the most tries in the tournament (13) and was a lethal finisher coupled with sublime skill and pace. Thoroughly deserving his All Black selection.

Bubbling under: Nehe Milner-Skudder (Hurricanes)

 

Team of the Tournament: Cream rises13 – Malakai Fekitoa (Highlanders): Proved how deadly he is with an awesome performance in the final. His strength, offload ability and defence are second to none.

Bubbling under: Conrad Smith (Hurricanes)

 

Team of the Tournament: Cream rises12 – Damien de Allende (Stormers): The Springbok No.12 was a handful in the midfield no matter who the opposition was and he brushed off defence with ease. He ranked highest in the competition for defenders beaten (76).

Bubbling under: Ma'a Nonu (Hurricanes)

 

Team of the Tournament: Cream rises11 – Nemani Nadolo (Crusaders): What a season for the big Fijian Flyer. A bruising ball carrier in tandem with a sublime skill-set saw him score nine tries in the season – most of them individual efforts of destructive running. 

Bubbling under: Julian Savea (Hurricanes)

 

Team of the Tournament: Cream rises10 – Lima Sopoaga (Highlanders): Proved his worth by guiding the Highlanders to glory as the general of the backline and a points-machine from the boot. Sopoaga topped the individual points table for the competition with 191. 

Bubbling under: Elton Jantjies (Lions)

 

Team of the Tournament: Cream rises9 – Aaron Smith (Highlanders): Best service in the game. The crisp passing to his halfback partner and sniping runs from the base are quality – add his tactical kicking and try scoring record to that and this position can only be his. 

Bubbling under: TJ Perenara (Hurricanes)

 

Team of the Tournament: Cream rises8 – Warren Whiteley (Lions): The Minister of Defence title was not given to him for no reason. The No.8 made 231 tackles in the season and led his Lions to their best ever Super Rugby season yet. 

Bubbling under: Michael Lietch (Chiefs)

 

Team of the Tournament: Cream rises7 – David Pocock (Brumbies): Showed why he is still the best openside flank in the game. He was relentless on the turf making steals left, right and centre plus he was also a solid ball carrier for the Brumbies. Pocock claimed the most tries for a forward in the competition (8).

Bubbling under: Ardie Savea (Hurricanes)

 

Team of the Tournament: Cream rises6 – Jaco Kriel (Lions): He was impressive in almost every game as a dynamic ball-carrier and hard-working flank. Kriel was difficult to bring down and bounced plenty of defenders storming his way into selection – unfortunately not Springbok selection. 

Bubbling under: Elliot Dixon (Highlanders)

 

Team of the Tournament: Cream rises5 – James Broadhurst (Hurricanes): A robust lock who can carry well and is solid in the line-out. His work-load was always high and managed to get his hands through the tackle often and off-load to support getting the Canes go-forward ball.

Bubbling under: Victor Matfield (Bulls)

 

Team of the Tournament: Cream rises4 – Eben Etzebeth (Stormers): Tightly contested between two work-horses but Etzebeth just nudged Jeremy Thrush in the enforcer role. 

Bubbling under: Jeremy Thrush (Hurricanes)

 

Team of the Tournament: Cream rises3 – Frans Malherbe (Stormers): Proved why he is the best tighthead in South Africa. He was the brains behind the Stormers' most lethal weapon – the scrum.

Bubbling under: Ben Tameifuna (Chiefs)

 

Team of the Tournament: Cream rises2 – Stephen Moore (Brumbies): The Brumbies' skip is the complete package as a hooker. His line-out throwing was on song, he carried well and was a thorn in oppositions mauls. His breakdown work was high and he was never afraid to get stuck-in for the dirty work.

Bubbling under: Armand van der Merwe (Lions)

 

Team of the Tournament: Cream rises1 – Steven Kitshoff (Stormers): A fantastic loosehead prop. His work in the tight-loose was impressive and he scrummed like a champion for the Stormers winning countless penalties. 

Bubbling under: Reggie Goodes (Hurricanes)

 

Our individual selections!

 

Jan de Koning XV: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Armand van der Merwe, 1 Reggie Goodes.

 

Paul Dobson XV: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Steven Kittshof.

 

Andrew Duncan XV: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Michael Lietch, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Steven Kitshoff

 

Warren Fortune XV: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Jerome Kaino, 7 David Pocock, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Stephen Moore 1 Steven Kitshoff.

 

Tauriq Ebrahim XV: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Damian De Allende, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 David Pocock, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Steven Kitshoff.

 

Michael de Vries XV: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 David Pocock, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Steven Kitshoff.

 

Previous selections:

 

Team of the week – Super Rugby, semifinals: 15 Ben Smith (Highlanders), 14 Waisake Naholo (Highlanders), 13 Conrad Smith (Hurricanes), 12 – Ma'a Nonu (Hurricanes), 11 Julian Savea (Hurricanes), 10 Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes), 9 Aaron Smith (Highlanders), 8 Nasi Manu (Highlanders), 7 Ardie Savea (Hurricanes), 6 Brad Shields (Hurricanes), 5 James Broadhurst (Hurricanes), 4 Alex Ainley (Highlanders), 3 Sekope Kepu (Waratahs), 2 Dane Coles (Hurricanes), 1 Reggie Goodes (Hurricanes).

 

Team of the Week – Super Rugby, play-offs: 15 Ben Smith (Highlanders), 14 Waisake Naholo (Highlanders), 13 Malakai Fekitoa (Highlanders), 12 Damian De Allende (Stormers), 11 Joe Tomane (Brumbies), 10 Lima Sopoaga (Highlanders), 9 Aaron Smith (Highlanders), 8 Ita Vaea (Brumbies), 7 David Pocock (Brumbies), 6 Scott Fardy (Brumbies), 5 Brodie Retallick (Chiefs), 4 Eben Etzebeth (Stormers), 3 Frans Malherbe (Stormers), 2 Stephen Moore (Brumbies), 1 Pauliasi Manu (Chiefs).

 

Team of the Week – Super Rugby, Round 18: 15 Ben Smith (Highlanders), 14 Odwa Ndungane (Sharks), 13 Conrad Smith (Hurricanes), 12 Ryno Benjamin (Cheetahs), 11  Matt Carraro (Waratahs), 10 Dan Carter (Crusaders), 9 Sarel Pretorius (Cheetahs), 8 Dan Pryor (Highlanders), 7 Michael Hooper (Waratahs), 6 Brad Shields (Hurricanes), 5 Brodie Retallick (Chiefs), 4 Luke Romano (Crusaders), 3  Ben Franks (Hurricanes), 2  Dane Coles (Hurricanes), 1  Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks).

 

Team of the Week – Super Rugby, Round 17: 15 Israel Folau (Waratahs), 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder (Hurricanes), 13 Charlie Ngatai (Chiefs), 12 Damian de Allende (Stormers), 11  Nemani Nadolo (Crusaders), 10 Dan Carter (Crusaders), 9 TJ Perenara (Hurricanes), 8 Warren Whiteley (Lions), 7 David Pocock (Brumbies), 6 Jaco Kriel (Lions), 5 James Broadhurst (Hurricanes), 4 Eben Etzebeth (Stormers), 3  Frans Malherbe (Stormers), 2  Bongi Mbonambi (Stormers), 1  Schalk van der Merwe (Lions).

 

Team of the Week – Super Rugby, Round 16: 15 Ben Smith (Highlanders), 14 Ruan Combrinck (Lions), 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper (Waratahs), 12 Damian de Allende (Stormers), 11 Nemani Nadolo (Crusaders), 10 Quade Cooper (Reds), 9 Aaron Smith (Highlanders), 8 Scott Higginbotham (Rebels), 7 David Pocock (Brumbies), 6 Jaco Kriel (Lions), 5 Franco Mostert (Lions), 4 Jeremy Thrush (Hurricanes), 3  Vincent Koch (Stormers), 2  Armand van der Merwe (Lions), 1  Steven Kitshoff (Stormers).

 

Team of the Week – Super Rugby, Round 15: 15 Israel Folau (Waratahs), 14 Taqele Naiyaravoro (Waratahs), 13 Lionel Mapoe (Lions), 12 Damian de Allende (Stormers), 11 Dillyn Leyds (Stormers), 10 Damian McKenzie (Chiefs), 9 Augustine Pulu (Chiefs), 8 Warren Whiteley (Lions), 7 Ardie Savea (Hurricanes), 6 Liam Messam (Chiefs), 5 Victor Matfield (Bulls), 4 Eben Etzebeth (Stormers), 3  Frans Malherbe (Stormers), 2  Bismarck du Plessis (Sharks), 1  Steven Kitshoff (Stormers).

 

Team of the Week – Super Rugby, Round 14: 15 Ben Smith (Highlanders), 14 Hosea Gear (Chiefs), 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper (Waratahs), 12 Ma'a Nonu (Hurricanes), 11 Bryce Heem (Chiefs), 10 Bernards Foley (Waratahs), 9 Nic White (Brumbies), 8 Warren Whiteley (Lions), 7 Jordy Reid (Rebels), 6 Schalk Burger (Stormers), 5 James Broadhurst (Hurricanes), 4 Jeremy Thush (Hurricanes), 3 Greg Holmes (Reds), 2  Hika Elliot (Chiefs), 1  Schalk van der Merwe (Lions).

 

Team of the Week – Super Rugby, Round 13: 15 Andries Coetzee (Lions), 14 Taqele Naiyaravoro (Waratahs), 13 Harold Vorster (Lions), 12 Dan Carter (Crusaders), 11 Nemani Nadolo (Crusaders), 10 Elton Jantjies (Lions), 9 Francois de Klerk (Lions), 8 Scott Higginbotham (Rebels), 7 Ardie Savea (Hurricanes), 6 Akira Ioane (Blues), 5 Sam Whitelock (Crusaders), 4 Jeremy Thush (Hurricanes), 3 Frans Malherbe (Stormers), 2  Motu Matu'u (Hurricanes), 1  Chris Eves (Hurricanes).

 

Team of the Week – Super Rugby, Round 12: 15 Ben Smith (Highlanders), 14 Ruan Combrinck (Lions), 13 Ryan Crotty (Crusaders), 12 Michael van der Spuy (Cheetahs), 11 Melani Nanai (Blues), 10 Colin Slade (Crusaders), 9 Aaron Smith (Highlanders), 8 Arno Botha (Bulls), 7 Jordy Reid (Rebels), 6 Akira Ioane (Blues), 5 Victor Matfield (Bulls), 4 Carl Wegner (Cheetahs), 3 Frans Malherbe (Stormers), 2 Adriaan Strauss (Bulls), 1  Reg Goodes (Hurricanes).

 

Team of the Week – Super Rugby, Round 11: 15 Joe Pietersen (Cheetahs), 14 Francois Hougaard (Bulls), 13 Samu Kerevi (Reds), 12 Damian de Allende (Stormers), 11 Tim Nanai-Williams (Chiefs), 10 Elton Jantjies (Lions), 9 TJ Perenara (Hurricanes), 8 Duane Vermeulen (Stormers), 7 David Pocock (Brumbies), 6 Jordan Tafua (Crusaders), 5 Brodie Retallick (Chiefs), 4 Eben Etzebeth (Stormers), 3 Frans Malherbe (Stormers), 2 Hika Elliot (Chiefs), 1 Steven Kitshoff (Stormers).

 

Team of the Week – Super Rugby, Round 10: 15 Nehe Milner-Skudder (Hurricanes), 14 Francois Hougaard (Bulls), 13 Malakai Fekitoa (Highlanders), 12 George Moala (Blues), 11 James O'Connor (Reds), 10 Lima Sopoaga (Highlanders), 9 Brad Weber (Chiefs), 8 Wycliff Palu (Waratahs), 7 Sam Cane (Chiefs), 6 Jordan Taufua (Crusaders), 5 Brodie Retallick (Chiefs), 4 Eben Etzebeth (Stormers), 3 Sekope Kepu (Waratahs), 2 Adriaan Strauss (Bulls), 1 Steven Kitshoff (Stormers).

 

Team of the Week – Super Rugby, Round Nine: 15 Jesse Kriel (Bulls), 14 Francois Hougaard (Bulls), 13 Juan de Jongh (Stormers), 12 Damian de Allende (Stormers), 11 Nemani Nadolo (Crusaders), 10 Lima Sopoaga (Highlanders), 9 Francois de Klerk (Lions), 8 Jerome Kaino (Blues), 7 Matt Todd (Crusaders), 6 Heinrich Brussow (Cheetahs), 5 Franco Mostert (Lions), 4 Eben Etzebeth (Stormers), 3 Coenie Oosthuizen (Cheetahs), 2 Stephan Moore (Brumbies), 1 Steven Kitshoff (Stormers).

 

Team of the Week – Super Rugby, Round Eight: 15 Israel Dagg (Crusaders), 14 Tom Marshall (Chiefs), 13 Henry Speight (Brumbies), 12 Ryan Crotty (Crusaders), 11 Nemani Nadolo (Crusaders), 10 Colin Slade (Crusaders), 9 Andy Ellis (Crusaders), 8 Warren Whiteley (Lions), 7 Warrick Tecklenburg (Lions), 6 Brad Shields (Hurricanes), 5 Sam Whitelock (Crusaders), 4 Luke Romano (Crusaders), 3 Scott Sio (Brumbies), 2 Adriaan Strauss (Bulls), 1 Reg Goodes (Hurricanes).

 

Team of the Week – Super Rugby, Round Seven: 15 Israel Folau (Waratahs), 14 Waisake Naholo (Highlanders), 13 Malakai Fekitoa (Highlanders), 12 Sonny Bill Williams (Chiefs), 11 Patrick Osborne (Highlanders), 10 Handre Pollard (Bulls), 9 Aaron Smith (Highlanders), 8 Warren Whiteley (Lions), 7 Warrick Tecklenburg (Lions), 6 Renaldo Bothma (Sharks), 5 Franco Mostert (Lions), 4 Jeremy Thrush (Hurricanes), 3 Trevor Nyakane (Bulls), 2  Adriaan Strauss (Bulls), 1 Pauliasi Manu (Chiefs).

 

Team of the Week – Super Rugby, Round Six: 15 Israel Folau (Waratahs), 14 Taqele Naiyaravoro (Waratahs), 13 Malakai Fekitoa (Highlanders), 12 Dan Carter (Crusaders), 11 Nemani Nadolo (Crusaders), 10 Pat Lambie (Sharks), 9 Cobus Reinach (Sharks), 8 Warren Whiteley (Lions), 7 Sam Cane (Chiefs), 6 Jordan Taufua (Crusaders), 5 Sam Whitelock (Crusaders), 4 Luke Romano (Crusaders), 3 Scott Sio (Brumbies), 2 Adriaan Strauss (Bulls), 1 Reggie Goodes (Hurricanes).  

 

Team of the Week – Super Rugby, Round Five: 15 Ben Smith (Highlanders), 14 Bryce Heem (Chiefs), 13 Malakai Fekitoa (Highlanders), 12 Damien de Allende (Stormers), 11 Patrick Osborne (Highlanders), 10 Aaron Cruden (Chiefs), 9 Aaron Smith (Highlanders), 8 Ita Vaea (Brumbies), 7 Sam Cane (Chiefs), 6 Elliot Dixon (Highlanders), 5 Sam Whitelock (Crusaders), 4 Luke Romano (Crusaders), 3 Ben Alexander (Brumbies), 2 Dane Coles (Hurricanes), 1 Wyatt Crockett (Crusaders).

 

Team of the Week – Super Rugby, Round Four: 15 Cheslin Kolbe (Stormers), 14 Henry Speight (Brumbies), 13 Malakai Fekitoa (Highlanders), 12 Damien de Allende (Stormers), 11 Joe Tomane (Brumbies), 10 Handre Pollard (Bulls), 9 Nic White (Brumbies), 8 Duane Vermeulen (Stormers), 7 Warrick Tecklenburg (Lions), 6 Marcell Coetzee (Sharks), 5 Steve Mafi (Western Force), 4 Franco Mostert (Lions), 3 Ben Tameifuna (Chiefs), 2 Siyabonga Ntubeni (Stormers), 1 Steven Kitshoff (Stormers).

 

Team of the Week – Super Rugby, Round Three: 15 Willie le Roux (Cheetahs), 14 Cornal Hendricks (Cheetahs), 13 Charlie Ngatai (Chiefs), 12 Sonny Bill Williams (Chiefs), 11 Julian Savea (Hurricanes), 10 Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes), 9 Will Genia (Reds), 8 Jerome Kaino (Blues), 7 Brad Shields (Hurricanes), 6 Adam Thomson (Reds), 5 Patrick Tuipulotu (Blues), 4 Matt Symons (Chiefs), 3 Coenie Oosthuizen (Cheetahs), 2 Dane Coles (Hurricanes), 1 Steven Kitshoff (Stormers).      

 

Team of the Week – Super Rugby, Round Two: 15 Andries Coetzee (Lions), 14 Taqele Naiyaravoro (Waratahs), 13 Malakai Fekitoa (Highlanders), 12 Charlie Ngatai (Chiefs), 11 Dillyn Leyds (Stormers), 10 Pat Lambie (Sharks), 9 Will Genia (Reds), 8 Jerome Kaino (Blues), 7 Renaldo Bothma (Sharks), 6 Adam Thomson (Reds), 5 Lopeti Timani (Rebels), 4 Luke Romano (Crusaders), 3 Vincent Koch (Stormers), 2 Bismarck du Plessis (Sharks), 1 Scott Sio (Brumbies).

 

Team of the Week – Super Rugby, Round One: 15 Mike Harris (Rebels), 14 Luke Morahan (Western Force), 13 Tevita Kuridrani (Brumbies), 12 Damian de Allende (Stormers), 11 Rob Horne (Waratahs), 10 Damian McKenzie (Chiefs), 9 Sarel Pretorius (Cheetahs), 8 Duane Vermeulen (Stormers), 7 David Pocock (Brumbies), 6 Scott Fardy (Brumbies), 5 Lopeti Timani (Rebels), 4 Sam Wykes (Western Force), 3 Coenie Oosthuizen (Cheetahs), 2 Dane Coles (Hurricanes), 1 Scott Sio (Brumbies).

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