Super Rugby Team of the Week: Round Six
OPINION: To use a hackneyed adage: ‘There is a new sheriff in town!’
The Waratahs have been rather erratic this season, but this past weekend they produced a display that suggests they may just be play-off material.
They were, without doubt, the team of the weekend – with their 20-12 win over the out-of-sorts Crusaders – and are duly rewarded in @rugby365com’s famous weekly selection.
There are five Waratahs players in our starting XV.
The Blues, Chiefs and Lions are next best with two each. The Sunwolves, Reds, Hurricanes and Stormers (one each) make up the numbers.
There are also some rewards for the victorious Sharks in our back-up squad – with five of their players bubbling under.
The Hurricanes (three) and Reds (two) are also represented – with the Highlanders, Chiefs, Waratahs, Blues and Bulls one each) making up the numbers.
Four players return from last week – fullback Damian McKenzie (Chiefs), flyhalf Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes), lock Brodie Retallick (Chiefs) and hooker Malcolm Marx (Lions).
* Did we get it right this week?
Team of the Week – Round Five:
15 – Damian McKenzie (Chiefs):
They did him a huge favour by moving him back to fullback, where his full array of skills could be put on display. The second week in a row that the Chiefs game plan allowed McKenzie to stamp his authority on the match.
Bubbling under: Ben Smith (Highlanders)
14 – Gerhard van den Heever (Sunwolves):
At times the Sunwolves looked like a one-man show, the Van Heerden show. He made more than 140 metres with his 11 carries, beating defenders almost at will. Another reminder to Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus what his options are outside South Africa.
Bubbling under: Wes Goosen (Hurricanes)
13 – Adam Ashley-Cooper (Waratahs):
The veteran Wallaby showed his class, outplaying All Black Jack Goodhue. He is going to be invaluable to the Waratahs cause.
Bubbling under: Lukhanyo Am (Sharks)
12 – Samu Kerevi (Reds):
Was an awesome specimen with ball in hand, making clean breaks and beating defenders.
Bubbling under: Alex Nankivell (Chiefs)
11 – Rieko Ioane (Blues):
Showed what a classy finisher he is, even showing up his All Black teammate Waisake Naholo. Going to be a major attraction at the World Cup.
Bubbling under: Ben Lam (Hurricanes)
10 – Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes):
It has been an iffy season so far, often erratic. However, the real Beauden Barrett emerged in Wellington at the weekend – especially with his improved goal-kicking.
Bubbling under: Bernard Foley (Waratahs)
9 – Nic Groom (Lions):
His best performance of the season – a much crispier service and good decision-making.
Bubbling under: Louis Schreuder (Sharks)
8 – Akira Ioane (Blues):
Powerful with ball in hand, getting over the advantage line like clockwork. Won some crucial turnover and made his tackles.
Bubbling under: Scott Higginbotham (Reds)
7 – Michael Hooper (Waratahs):
Put down a big marker for the international season, making Matt Todd look very ordinary. Apart from a handful of carries, he made 22 tackles.
Bubbling under: Liam Wright (Reds)
6 – Ned Hanigan (Waratahs):
Powerful on defence, making 18 tackles, winning a couple of crucial turnovers in a very energetic display.
Bubbling under: Tom Robinson (Blues)
5 – Rob Simmons (Waratahs):
It was in the close exchanges where he shone – making 20 tackles and even stealing a line-out.
Bubbling under: Hyron Andrews (Sharks)
4 – Brodie Retallick (Chiefs):
Showed why he is rated as one of the premier locks in world rugby, bullying the Bulls and providing the physicality that left the Loftus locks looking like kindergarten level players.
Bubbling under: Ruben van Heerden (Sharks)
3 – Sekope Kepu (Waratahs):
Seems to have regained his zest for the game, doing much more than just scrumming – taking his tackle count into double figures.
Bubbling under: Coenraad Oosthuizen (Sharks)
2 – Malcolm Marx (Lions):
Showed once again why he is rated the best hooker in the world. A busy day at the office – 10 carries, 10 tackles, three turnovers and 100 percent accuracy at the line-outs (supposedly his Achilles heel).
Bubbling under: Ricky Riccitelli (Hurricanes)
1 – Steven Kitshoff (Stormers):
No wonder he is so in demand with European clubs – not just powerful scrummager, but also very busy outside the set pieces.
Bubbling under: Lizo Gqoboka (Bulls)
Our individual selections:
Jan de Koning XV: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Wes Goosen, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Paul Dobson XV: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Team of the Week – Round Five: 15 Damian McKenzie (Chiefs), 14 Jordie Barrett (Hurricanes), 13 Samu Kerevi (Reds), 12 Billy Meakes (Rebels), 11 Wes Goosen (Hurricanes), 10 Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes), 9 Will Genia (Rebels), 8 Lachlan McCaffrey (Brumbies), 7 Liam Wright (Reds), 6 Siya Kolisi (Stormers), 5 John Schickerling (Stormers), 4 Brodie Retallick (Chiefs), 3 Carlü Sadie (Lions), 2 Malcolm Marx (Lions), 1 Scott Sio (Brumbies).
Team of the Week – Round Four: 15 Will Jordan (Crusaders), 14 Sevu Reece (Crusaders), 13 Jack Goodhue (Crusaders), 12 Ngani Laumape (Hurricanes), 11 Rieko Ioane (Blues), 10 Handre Pollard (Bulls), 9 Will Genia (Rebels), 8 Duane Vermeulen (Bulls), 7 Michael Hooper (Waratahs), 6 Jordan Taufua (Crusaders), 5 Scott Barrett (Crusaders), 4 Josh Dickson (Highlanders), 3 Carlü Sadie (Lions), 2 Codie Taylor (Crusaders), 1 Dylan Smith (Lions).
Team of the Week – Round Three: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty (Rebels), 14 Gerhard van den Heever (Sunwolves), 13 Jack Goodhue (Crusaders), 12 Michael Little (Sunwolves), 11 Ramiro Moyano (Jaguares), 10 Handre Pollard (Bulls), 9 Will Genia (Rebels), 8 Duane Vermeulen (Bulls), 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit (Stormers), 6 Shannon Frizell (Highlanders), 5 Uwe Helu (Sunwolves), 4 Eben Etzebeth (Stormers), 3 Hiroshi Yamashita (Sunwolves), 2 Dane Coles (Hurricanes), 1 Joe Moody (Crusaders).
Team of the Week – Round Two: 15 Tom Banks (Brumbies), 14 Chance Peni (Brumbies), 13 Jordan Petaia (Reds), 12 Samu Kerevi (Reds), 11 George Bridge (Crusaders), 10 Christian Lealiifano (Brumbies), 9 Tomas Cubelli (Jaguares), 8 Lachlan McCaffrey (Brumbies), 7 Albertus Smith (Lions), 6 Shannon Frizell (Highlanders), 5 Josh Dickson (Highlanders), 4 Scott Barrett (Crusaders), 3 Carlu Sadie (Lions), 2 Armand van der Merwe (Sharks), 1 Joe Moody (Crusaders).
Team of the Week – Round One: 15 Israel Folau (Waratahs), 14 Jack Maddocks (Rebels), 13 Braydon Ennor (Crusaders), 12 Anton Lienert-Brown (Chiefs), 11 Rosko Specman (Bulls), 10 Handre Pollard (Bulls), 9 Will Genia (Rebels), 8 Duane Vermeulen (Bulls), 7 Ardie Savea (Hurricanes), 6 Marnus Schoeman (Lions), 5 Lodewyk de Jager (Bulls), 4 Scott Barrett (Crusaders), 3 Carlu Sadie (Lions), 2 Armand van der Merwe (Sharks), 1 Dylan Smith (Lions).