Super Rugby Pacific Team of the Week: Chiefs and Crusaders fill the side as Julian Savea makes history
Following the enthralling round 11 action in Super Rugby Pacific, Planet Rugby selects the team of the week.
The Chiefs dominate selection after winning their 10th game on the bounce, whilst there is also a good showing from the Crusaders.
Team of the week
15 Will Jordan (Crusaders): The popular fullback made a very successful return after an extended time out of the game due to migraine concerns. He was brilliant for his side notching up an outstanding 130 metres with ball in hand, beating five defenders and assisting two tries in the process. It was another reminder of how good the All Black is.
14 Macca Springer (Crusaders): A very difficult choice this week, with Reds star Suliasi Vunivalu, Rebel Lachlan Anderson and Chief Emoni Narawa all putting in strong performances. However, it was the Christchurch man who earned selection through his brace of tries that saw him beat three defenders and break the line twice in a great outing.
13 Daniel Rona (Chiefs): It has been a tremendously good rookie season from the centre, who was heavily involved in the Chiefs’ tenth win on the trot. He scored a brace of tries and set Shaun Stevenson up with a beautiful dink over the defensive line. Rona also ran 106 metres with the ball, beating three defenders and breaking the line three times.
12 Anton Lienert-Brown (Chiefs): Another player who made a solid return from injury in his 100th game for the club. The All Black scored a neat try whilst being committed defensively, making an impressive 11 tackles and winning a turnover. There will be more to come from the veteran.
11 Julian Savea (Hurricanes): A brace of tries for the great winger put him level at the top of the all-time Super Rugby try scorers list with a grand total of 60. It is a delight to see him back on the scoresheet and underlining his reputation as one of the competition’s greatest. Crusaders Leicester Fainga’anuku managed a brace of his own, but the history-making Savea is preferred this week.
10 Noah Lolesio (Brumbies): Whilst Chiefs star Damian McKenzie had yet another great game, it was the fiery outing from Lolesio that gets the nod. The fly-half scored a brace of tries and controlled the game brilliantly in a performance that surely would have caught Wallabies’ head coach Eddie Jones’ eye.
9 Brad Weber (Chiefs): The All Black is throwing his name into the World Cup conversation with another great performance. He is a master of organisation and has all the attributes of a great scrum-half. Weber scored a try and beat four defenders in a brilliant outing.
8 Ardie Savea (Hurricanes): The number eight joins his brother in the lineup this week after an inspired display, particularly on defence, where the star made eight tackles and won an impressive three turnovers. He was less impactful on attack but was effective overall in a tireless ‘Cane loose trio.
7 Jahrome Brown (Brumbies): The flank showed off his impressive work rate last weekend with a busy outing that saw him cross for a brace of tries. Meanwhile, on defence, he was seemingly everywhere, with a grand total of 16 tackles made and a turnover won in what was a performance to remember. Hurricanes star Du’Plessis Kirifi also deserves mention for his efforts.
6 Akira Ioane (Blues): The physical flank completed a very successful return to the starting lineup. He made a whopping 15 carries that resulted in a try. On defence, he was also brilliant, making 12 tackles and winning a turnover. Brumby Rob Valetini was a notable performer for his side.
5 James Tucker (Blues): The second-row put in an impressive shift, particularly on defence, with a ridiculous 15 tackles against Moana Pasifika. He also took three lineouts, made seven carries and broke the line once in a positive outing.
4 Tupou Vaa’i (Chiefs): The All Black continues to grow and mature with each game. Last weekend he put in yet another influential performance from the second-row. Not only did he get his hands on the ball a lot, he also made an outstanding 16 tackles and one crucial turnover.
3 George Dyer (Chiefs): The tighthead was sound at scrum-time, providing his team with a good platform. He also scored a try that rewarded his support running in a long-range effort. Outside of that, he made seven tackles.
2 Brodie McAlister (Crusaders): A hat-trick of tries earns the hooker selection this week. Defensively he was sound and in the set-piece accomplished. It was a solid outing from the star, who made the most of his starting chance.
1 Ethan de Groot (Highlanders): The All Black is a fantastic player and one who has an impressive engine for a big man. He crossed for a try and made 10 tackles in a losing cause.
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