Super Rugby Team of the Week

Super Rugby Team of the Week

This weekend saw the return of Super Rugby in Australia while New Zealand enjoyed their fourth consecutive weekend of live rugby.

The action kicked off in Brisbane with James O'Connor's late double with his boot gave the Reds a long-awaited win over rivals the Waratahs.

Saturday's action saw two games with the Crusaders maintaining their unbeaten start to the Super Rugby Aotearoa season by beating the Highlanders 40-20 on Saturday. That was followed by another Super Rugby AU clash as the Rebels came up short with a second-half fightback from the Brumbies as they ran in five tries in a 31-21 Super Rugby AU victory.

The final game on the weekend saw the Hurricanes claim their first win of the Super Rugby Aotearoa season over the Chiefs.

Here is our combined team of the week from the two competitions.

15. Jordie Barrett - Hurricanes

There were a number of candidates for the fullback slot in our team of the week with Jack Maddocks, Damian McKenzie and Bryce Hegarty all impressing.

While Hegarty made more running metres than any other fullback this weekend, he and the other two fullbacks mention all miss out to the match winning performance from Jordie Barrett.

The All Black fullback was a standout across the weekend's action assisting two tries, scoring 10 points and slotting a monstrous penalty. He was a link man for the Hurricanes and the side certainly made the side look far better than they did in previous games.

14. Will Jordan - Crusaders

Hard to look past the incredible game from the Crusaders' youngster for the right wing slot. 

Will Jordan has been in sensational form for the Crusaders since their return to action and with David Havili back to full fitness, Scott Robertson opted to move the former u20 international to the wing. The switch didn't faze Jordan in the least as he racked up an impressive 127 running metres, beating 10 defenders and scoring a superb brace.

A mention for Sevu Reece who had a huge impact from the bench which saw Jordan move to fullback as well as Kobus van Dyk who also scored a pair.

13. Tevita Kuridrani - Brumbies

The Wallabies' 13 claims the outside centre slot seeing off the likes of Braydon Ennor, Thomas Umaga-Jensen, Hunter Paisami, Rob Thomson and Alex Newsome.

While all the players mentioned had solid games, Kuridrani was effective in all facets of the game giving him the edge over the other candidates. 

Kuridrani made some excellent reads on defence, carried strongly and guided his side to a victory over the Rebels.

12. Jack Goodhue - Crusaders

The glue that holds the Crusaders' backline together. Jack Goodhue continues his impressive run of form for the Crusaders as his side ran out 20-40 winners over the Highlanders.

The All Black centre played another starring role in the victory adding to his long list of strong games for the red and black.

Goodhue was great on defence, effective on attack and was a real headache for the Highlanders' defence. He over 40 running metres beat four defenders.

11. Ben Lam - Hurricanes

While Ben Lam is well known for his brutal ball carries and poacher with a keen eye for the try line but it's defensive work which earns him a place in our side.

While Leicester Fainga'anuku was superb for the Crusaders, Filipo Daugunu effective for the Reds and Tom Wright excellent for the Brumbies, Lam's performance against the Chiefs was pivotal to the side's victory.

The Bordeaux-bound winger rampaged to 51 running metres making two clean breaks and beating three defenders while making 11 of his 10 tackles keeping the in-form Sean Wainui quiet.

10. Noah Lolesio - Brumbies

An inside centre at u20 level, Lolesio has starred for the Brumbies in 2020 replacing Christian Leali'ifano in the ten jersey for the Canberra outfit.

A well-balanced game that included six points, a try assist and 70 running metres, Lolesio made an early claim for the Wallabies' jersey against the Rebels.

The playmaker outplayed the veteran, Matt Toomua, across from him and did enough to beat the impressive performances from Aaron Cruden, James O'Connor and Richie Mo'unga.

 9. Tate McDermott - Reds

The break seems to have done Aaron Smith wonders as he has been in stellar form for the Highlanders in Super Rugby Aotearoa while his fellow All Black TJ Perenara also impressed this weekend.

However, Tate McDermott joins aspiring Wallaby in our team of the week. The 21-year-old nailed the first 50/22 kick in Super Rugby Au with passing just as accurate as his kicking.

He also darted over for a cheeky try from a quickly taken penalty that caught the Waratahs napping while racking up 56 running metres and one try assist.

8. Ardie Savea - Hurricanes

Hoskins Sotutu dominated the #8 jersey in our team of the week in the opening rounds of Super Rugby Aotearoa but with the Blues on a bye this weekend, he was unable to defend his spot with All Black Ardie Savea stepping in.

After a weekend playing some club footy, Ardie Savea lined up for his second start of Super Rugby Aotearoa. The All Black no.8 was excellent from the base of the scrum. He made 8 tackles was superb at the breakdown and didn't miss a beat on defence. On attack, however, he was devastating making 67 running metres from his 6 carries beating 3 defenders and made two clean breaks.

He beats the excellent performance from Reds' rookie Harry Wilson who was excellent in the opening game of the weekend as is incredibly unlucky to miss out to the All Black.

7. Fraser McReight - Reds

Tom Christie's double against Highlanders as well as his strong defensive performance would normally see him make our team of the week while Dillon Hunt's excellent game would normally result in the same outcome but it was the sublime game from rookie Reds' flanker Fraser McReight that nabs the jersey.

The former u20 captain could be pushing to replace David Pocock in the Wallabies squad at the age of 21 and his game against the Waratahs displayed how much he has to offer. While Hunt performed on defence and Christie on attack, McReight was superb on both fronts while being dominant at the breakdown.

He won no less than 4 pilfers at the breakdown, won a number of penalties to add to that and made all of his attempted tackles. If he wasn't burrowing into rucks, he was carrying strongly and distributing on attack making 6 passes.

6. Shannon Frizell - Highlanders

McReight's captain Liam Wright was pivotal in leading his side to victory while Reed Prinsep was brilliant in his 50th appearance of the Hurricanes, Shannon Frizell put in a freakish performance on Saturday to cement his place in the side.

He did brilliant work in the air to tap a kick off back to his side, thumped players backwards on defence, won a turnover and four lineouts while carrying the ball to the line on 10 occasions. 

The makeup of the new All Black back row without Kieran Read is far from settled with Frizell certainly making a statement albeit in a defeat to the Crusaders.

5. Mitchell Dunshea - Crusaders

Tipped to be an All Black in the near future, Dunshea showed his credentials against the Highlanders with a strong showing at the lineout in the rucks and on defence.

Having impressed early on in Super Rugby Aotearoa, Naitoa Ah Kuoi suffered a horrid injury that forced him off the field while Scott Scrafton was given his marching orders in the latter stages of Sunday's clash.

While Lukhan Salakai-Loto and Rob Simmons were solid on Friday, they weren't able to better Dunshea's effort.

4. Pari Pari Parkinson - Highlanders

A strong showing against the Crusaders sees the Highlanders' youngster make our team of the week.

Parkinson was abrasive for the Highlanders, effective at the lineout and threw his weight around throughout the game.

3. Nepo Laulala - Chiefs

Harry Johnson-Holmes starred for the Waratahs in defeat while the Brumbies pack was spearheaded by the powerful Allan Alaalatoa but our tighthead of the weekend goes to Nepo Laulala.

While the Chiefs' struggled in many aspects of the game against the Hurricanes, Warren Gatland's pack was effective at scrum time with Nepo Laulala powering forward and winning penalties.

Laulala got the better of Fraser Armstrong in the opening stages of the game before breezing through his replacement Ben May before departing the pitch after just under an hour of hard work.

2. Folau Faingaa - Brumbies

The Brumbies pack is a well-oiled machine designed to power forward and Folau Faingaa was the driving force in the packs' win over the Rebels.

While Dan Coles was up to his usual tricks for the Hurricanes and Codie Taylor shining for the Crusaders, Faingaa was accurate and busy for the Brumbies.

He made 12 tackles, scored a try and assisted another in the Brumbies victory.

1. Angus Bell - Waratahs

Our team of the week is completed with the only Waratah to make our XV despite their defeat.

Bell held his own against the powerful Taniela Tupou and was busy on the pitch making 15 tackles in under an hour without missing while making an impact with ball in hand with six carries. 

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