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Team of the Week: Cream of the crop

There were only four teams to choose from, but that doesn't mean the players don't deserve some praise in rugby365's famous weekly selection.

 

Out of the four, there were really only ever two teams in it – the Crusaders and the Waratahs both dominate our selection unsurprizingly.

 

The men from Christchurch weigh-in with seven players while their opposition in the Final, the Waratahs, have six.

 

For their efforts, the Brumbies have a powerful – almost Wallaby – wing.

 

While the Sharks have a fetcher who impressed against the king of fetchers.

 

In the reserve squad – it is much of the same with seven Waratahs and five Crusaders.

 

The Brumbies get a little reward with three more players bubbling under after they held the Waratahs in the first half of their semifinal.

 

Only two players return from last week's starting line up – wing Henry Speight (Brumbies), flank Marcell Coetzee (Sharks).

 

Team of the Week – semifinals:

 

15 – Israel Dagg (Crusaders):

Slowly, slowly this man is coming back to his best – just in time for the Rugby Championship.

Bubbling under: Israel Folau (Waratahs)

 

14 – Henry Speight (Brumbies):

A real shinning light for the Brumbies, he did not stand down in the face of the Waratahs aggressive game plan.

Bubbling under: Kieron Fonotia (Crusaders)

 

13 – Adam Ashley-Cooper (Waratahs):

He is full of class and really does well to compliment the likes of Folau and Beale.

Bubbling under: Tevita Kuridrani (Brumbies)

 

12 – Kurtley Beale (Waratahs):

A midfield maestro. It is getting harder and harder for Ewen McKenzie to ignore this versatile player.

Bubbling under: Dan Carter (Crusaders)

 

11 – Nemani Nadolo (Crusaders):

What a find! You only need to go back into this guys history, where he bumbled from club to club, to appreciate how well he is playing now.

Bubbling under: Rob Horne (Waratahs)

 

10 – Bernard Foley (Waratahs):

Has benefited all season from having players of such class around him – it has allowed him to grow into a true Test match contender.

Bubbling under: Matt Toomua (Brumbies)

 

9 – Andy Ellis (Crusaders):

The veteran scrumhalf looked ageless in this game.

Bubbling under: Nick Phipps (Waratahs)

 

8 – Kieran Read (Crusaders):

Still one of the best in the game at linking between forwards and backs – he will be vital for the All Blacks.

Bubbling under: Wycliff Palu (Waratahs)

 

7 – Michael Hooper (Waratahs):

Hooper's work rate is incredible and he is the full package – playing to the ball, carrying, tackling, rucking – he is absolutly tireless.

Bubbling under: Jarrad Butler (Brumbies)

 

6 – Marcell Coetzee (Sharks):

The only Shark that you could say impressed, especially in his fetching head to head against Richie McCaw.

Bubbling under: Richie McCaw (Crusaders)

 

5 – Jacques Potgieter (Waratahs):

He is a different player since moving to Australia – has he done enough to merit a recall to the Bok? – We think so!

Bubbling under: Sam Whitelock (Crusaders)

 

4 – Dominic Bird (Crusaders):

The Crusaders hard-man has gone about his business with little fuss, but he really shinned in this match..

Bubbling under: Kane Douglas (Waratahs)

 

3 – Owen Franks (Crusaders)

Put young Thomas du Toit back in his place – especially as the game wore on.

Bubbling under: Sekope Kepu (Waratahs)

 

2 – Corey Flynn (Crusaders):

He will go on to play his 150th game in the Final and he deserves the praise he got when he walked off AMI park on Saturday.

Bubbling under: Tatafu Polota-Nau (Waratahs)

 

1 – Benn Robinson (Waratahs):

Another solid showing from a veteran of the game – looked full of life as he pushed for inclusion back in the Wallabies set up.

Bubbling under: Wyatt Crockett (Crusaders)

 

Our individual selections!

 

Paul Dobson XV: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Stephen Hoiles, 5 Jacques Potgieter, 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.

 

Michael de Vries XV: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Richie McCaw, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Benn Robinson.

 

Darryn Pollock XV: Israel Dagg, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Benn Robinson. 

 

Tauriq Ebrahim XV: 115 Israel Dagg, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Dan Carter, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Jacques Potgieter, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Benn Robinson.

 

Jan de Koning XV: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Richie McCaw, 5 Jacques Potgieter, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.

 

Previous selections:

 

Team of the Week – Round 20: 15 Jesse Mogg (Brumbies), 14 Henry Speight (Brumbies), 13 Malakai Fekitoa (Highlanders), 12 Bundee Aki (Chiefs), 11 Patrick Osborne (Highlanders), 10 Matt Toomua (Brumbies), 9 Nic White (Brumbies), 8 Ben Mowen (Brubies), 7 Jean Deysel (Sharks), 6 Marcell Coetzee (Sharks), 5 Brodie Retallick (Chiefs), 4 Sam Carter (Brubies), 3 Jannie du Plessis (Sharks), 2 Bismarck du Plessis (Sharks), 1 Thomas du Toit (Sharks).         

 

Team of the Week – Round 19: 15 Israel Dagg (Crusaders), 14 Lionel Mapoe (Lions), 13 Malakai Fekitoa (Highlanders), 12 Kurtley Beale (Waratahs), 11 Nemani Nadolo (Crusaders), 10 Matt Toomua (Brumbies), 9 Charl McLeod (Sharks), 8 Kieran Read (Crusaders), 7 Matt Todd (Crusaders), 6 Liam Messam (Chiefs), 5 Brodie Retallick (Chiefs), 4 Dominic Bird (Crusaders), 3 Julian Redelinghuys (Lions), 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau (Waratahs), 1 Schalk van der Merwe (Lions).

 

Team of the Week – Round 18: 15 Willie le Roux (Cheetahs), 14 Gio Aplon (Stormers),  13 Samu Kerevi (Reds), 12 Kurtley Beale (Waratahs), 11 Nemani Nadolo (Crusaders), 10 Bernard Foley (Waratahs), 9 Aaron Smith (Highlanders), 8 Phillip van der Walt (Cheetahs), 7 Warwick Tecklenburg (Lions), 6 Nizaam Carr (Stormers), 5 Brodie Retallick (Chiefs), 4 Lodewyk de Jager (Cheetahs), 3 Sekope Kepu (Waratahs), 2 Adriaan Strauss (Cheetahs), 1 Jamie Mackintosh (Chiefs).

 

Team of the Week – Round 17: 15 Israel Folau (Waratahs), 14 Richard Buckman (Highlanders), 13 Malakai Fekitoa (Highlanders), 12 Ma'a Nonu (Blues), 11 Julian Savea (Hurricanes), 10 Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes), 9 Nick Frisby (Reds), 8 Wycliff Palu (Waratahs), 7 Michael Hooper (Waratahs), 6 Steven Luatua (Blues), 5 Blade Thomson (Hurricanes), 4 Jacques Potgieter (Waratahs), 3 Charlie Faumuina (Blues), 2 Brayden Mitchell (Highlanders), 1 Benn Robinson (Waratahs).

 

Team of the Week – Round 16: 15 Ben Smith (Highlanders), 14 Johnny McNicholl (Crusaders), 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper (Waratahs), 12 Kurtley Beale (Waratahs), 11 Julian Savea (Hurricanes), 10 Marnitz Boshoff (Lions), 9 Will Genia (Reds), 8 Kieran Read (Crusaders), 7 Luke Braid (Blues), 6 Jaco Kriel (Lions), 5 Kane Douglas (Waratahs), 4 Sam Carter (Brumbies), 3 Charlie Faumuina (Blues), 2 Stephen Moore (Brumbies), 1 Scott Sio (Brumbies).

 

Team of the Week – Round 15: 15 Ben Smith (Highlanders), 14 Henry Speight (Brumbies), 13 Malakai Fekitoa (Highlanders), 12 Damian de Allende (Stormers), 11 Nemani Nadolo (Crusaders), 10 Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes), 9 Aaron Smith (Highlanders), 8 Victor Vito (Hurricanes), 7 Lubabalo Mtembu (Sharks), 6 Jordan Taufua (Crusaders), 5 Victor Matfield (Bulls), 4 Dominic Bird (Crusaders), 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen (Hurricanes), 2 Bismarck du Plessis (Sharks), 1 Ben Franks (Hurricanes).

 

Team of the Week – Round 14: 15 Ben Smith (Highlanders), 14 JP Pietersen (Sharks), 13 Juan de Jongh (Stormers), 12 Kurtley Beale (Waratahs), 11 Cheslin Kolbe (Stormers), 10 Bernard Foley (Waratahs), 9 Aaron Smith (Highlanders), 8 Johannes Prinsloo (Cheetahs), 7 Michael Hooper (Waratahs), 6 Heinrich Brüssow (Cheetahs), 5 Luke Jones (Rebels), 4 Will Skelton (Waratahs), 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen (Hurricanes), 2 Bismarck du Plessis (Sharks), 1 Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks).

 

Team of the Week – Round 13: 15 Ben Smith (Highlanders), 14 Johnny McNicholl (Crusaders), 13 Marcel Brache (Western Force), 12 Jan Serfontein (Bulls), 11 Nemani Nadolo (Crusaders), 10 Colin Slade (Crusaders), 9 Francois Hougaard (Bulls), 8 Warren Whiteley (Lions), 7 Ardie Savea (Hurricanes), 6 Tanerau Latimer (Chiefs), 5 Brodie Retallick (Chiefs), 4 Paul Willemse (Bulls), 3 Ben Alexander (Brumbies), 2 Stephen Moore (Brumbies), 1 Wyatt Crockett (Crusaders)

 

Team of the Week – Round 12: 15 Ben Smith (Highlanders), 14 Johnny McNicholl (Crusaders), 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper (Waratahs), 12 Ma'a Nonu (Blues), 11 Willie le Roux (Cheetahs), 10 Colin Slade (Crusaders), 9 Bryn Hall (Blues), 8 Liam Messam (Chiefs), 7 Michael Hooper (Waratahs), 6 Heinrich Brüssow (Cheetahs), 5 Franco Mostert (Lions), 4 Paul Willemse (Bulls), 3 Marcell van der Merwe (Bulls), 2 Stephen Moore (Brumbies), 1 Tony Woodcock (Blues).

 

Team of the Week – Round 11: 15 Andre Taylor (Hurricanes), 14 Cory Jane (Hurricanes), 13 Malakai Fekitoa (Highlanders), 12 Ma'a Nonu (Blues), 11 Willie le Roux (Cheetahs), 10 Matt Toomua (Brumbies), Aaron Smith (Highlanders), 8 Victor Vito (Hurricanes), 7 Matt Hodgson (Force), 6 Heinrich Brüssow (Cheetahs), 5 Sam Carter (Brumbies), 4 Patrick Tuipulotu (Blues), 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen (Hurricanes), 2 Dane Coles (Hurricanes), 1 Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks).

 

Team of the Week – Round 10: 15 Jason Woodward (Rebels), 14 Damian de Allende (Stormers), 13 Conrad Smith (Hurricanes), 12 Alapati Leiua (Hurricanes), 11 Julian Savea (Hurricanes), 10 Colin Slade (Crusaders), 9 TJ Perenara (Hurricanes), 8 Scott Higginbotham (Rebels), 7 Michael Hooper (Waratahs), 6 Heinrich Brüssow (Cheetahs), 5 Brodie Retallick (Chiefs), 4 Will Skelton (Waratahs), 3 Owen Franks (Crusaders), 2 Shota Horie (Rebels), 1 Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks).

 

Team of the Week – Round Nine: 15 Lwazi Mvovo (Sharks), 14 Joe Tomane (Brumbies), 13 Malakai Fekitoa (Highlanders), 12 Bundee Aki (Chiefs), 11 Nick Cummins (Western Force), 10 Colin Slade (Crusaders), 9 Nic White (Brumbies), 8 Kieran Read (Crusaders), 7 Matt Hodgson (Western Force), 6 Angus Cottrell (Western Force), 5 Luke Jones (Rebels), 4 Lodewyk de Jager (Cheetahs), 3 Ben Alexander (Brumbies), 2 Bismarck du Plessis (Sharks), 1 Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks).

 

Team of the Week – Round Eight: 15 Jayden Hayward (Western Force), 14 Tim Nanai-Williams (Chiefs), 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper (Waratahs), 12 Pat McCabe (Brumbies), 11 Johnny McNicholl (Crusaders), 10 Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes), 9 Sarel Pretorius (Cheetahs), 8 Scott Higginbotham (Rebels), 7 Jack Lam (Hurricanes), 6 Jaco Kriel (Lions), 5 Brodie Retallick (Chiefs), 4 Franco Mostert (Lions), 3 Sekope Kepu (Waratahs), 2 Dane Coles (Hurricanes), 1 Chris King (Highlanders).

 

Team of the Week – Round Seven: 15 Jason Woodward (Rebels), 14 Alapati Leiua (Hurricanes), 13 Juan de Jongh (Stormers), 12 Mitch Inman (Rebels), 11 Julian Savea (Hurricanes), 10 Aaron Cruden (Chiefs), 9 Bryn Hall (Blues), 8 Steven Luatua (Blues), 7 Luke Braid (Blues), 6 Deon Stegmann (Bulls), 5 Victor Matfield (Bulls), 4 Willem Alberts (Sharks), 3 Jannie du Plessis (Sharks), 2 Bismarck du Plessis (Sharks), 1 Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks).

 

Team of the Week – Round Six: 15 Ben Smith (Highlanders), 14 Cornal Hendricks (Cheetahs), 13 Malakai Fekitoa (Highlanders), 12 Kurtley Beale (Waratahs), 11 Robbie Coleman (Brumbies), 10 Quade Cooper (Reds), 9 Francois de Klerk (Lions), 8 Duane Vermeulen (Stormers), 7 Matt Hodgson (Western Force), 6 Seven Luatua (Blues), 5 Brodie Retallick (Chiefs), 4 Franco Mostert (Lions), 3 Kieran Longbottom (Western Force), 2 Tatafu Polota Nau (Waratahs), 1 Jean-Pierre Smith (Brumbies).

 

Team of the Week – Round Five: 15 Jesse Mogg (Brumbies), 14 JP Pietersen (Sharks), 13 Conrad Smith (Hurricanes), 12 Tom Marshall (Chiefs), 11 Lwazi Mvovo (Sharks), 10 Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes), 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow (Chiefs), 8 Kieran Read (Crusaders), 7 Willem Alberts (Sharks), 6 Marcell Coetzee (Sharks), 5 Brodie Retallick (Chiefs), 4 Jeremy Thrush (Hurricanes), 3 Julian Redelinghuys (Lions), 2 Nathan Charles (Western Force), 1 Schalk van der Merwe (Lions).

 

Team of the Week – Round Four: 15 Jesse Mogg (Brumbies), 14 Roc Davis (Reds), 13 Jean de Villiers (Stormers), 12 Par McCabe (Brumbies), 11 Lwazi Mvovo (Sharks), 10 Frans Steyn (Sharks), 9 Cobus Reinach (Sharks), 8 Ben McCalman (Western Force), 7 Schalk Burger (Stormers), 6 Marcell Coetzee (Sharks), 5 Wilhelm Steenkamp (Western Force), 4 Flip van der Merwe (Bulls), 3 Werner Kruger (Bulls), 2 Stephen Moore (Brumbies), 1 Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks).

 

Team of the Week – Round Three: 15 Israel Folau (Waratahs), 14 Tim Nanai-Williams (Chiefs), 13 Conrad Smith (Hurricanes), 12 Kurtley Beale (Waratahs), 11 Bjorn Basson (Bulls), 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter (Bulls), 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow (Chiefs), 8 Scott Higginbotham (Rebels), 7 Jacques du Plessis (Bulls), 6 Jaco Kriel (Lions), 5 Tom Donnelly (Blues), 4 Hugh Pyle (Rebels), 3 Charlie Faumuina (Blues), 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau (Waratahs), 1 Benn Robinson (Waratahs).

 

Team of the Week – Round Two: 15 Israel Folau (Waratahs), 14 Lachie Turner (Reds), 13 Robbie Fruean (Chiefs), 12 Frances Saili (Blues), 11 Lwazi Mvovo (Sharks), 10 Marnitz Boshoff (Lions), 9 Aaron Smith (Highlanders), 8 Nasi Manu (Highlanders), 7 Pieter Labuschagne (Cheetahs), 6 Jaco Kriel (Lions), 5 Brodie Retallick (Chiefs), 4 Sam Whitelock (Crusaders), 3 Jannie du Plessis (Sharks), 2 Bismarck du Plessis (Sharks), 1 Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks).

 

Team of the Week – Round One: 15 SP Marais (Sharks), 14 Cornal Hendricks (Cheetahs), 13 Paul Jordaan (Sharks), 12 Frans Steyn (Sharks), 11 Lwazi Mvovo (Sharks), 10 Marnitz Boshoff (Lions), 9 Cobus Reinach (Sharks), 8 Ryan Kankowski (Sharks), 7 Derick Minnie (Lions), 6 Marcell Coetzee (Sharks), 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit (Sharks), 4 Lodewyk de Jager (Cheetahs), 3 Coenie Oosthuizen (Cheetahs), 2 Bismarck du Plessis (Sharks), 1 Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks).

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