Super Rugby Pacific Team of the Week: Blues and Crusaders dominate after semi-final wins

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 Credit: PA Images
Credit: PA Images

After the first ever Super Rugby Pacific semi-finals, Planet Rugby breaks down the key performers from a thrilling weekend of rugby.

The Blues and Crusaders take up most of the team but there is a strong showing from the Brumbies who very nearly toppled the Auckland men at Eden Park.

Super Rugby Pacific Team of the Week

15 Stephen Perofeta (Blues): The versatile star continued his sublime form again this weekend. A complete performance contributing accurately to the kicking game (both out of hand and at goal), attack and defence. The full-back held up a certain try with an unbelievable defensive effort – a play that would prove vital for the game’s outcome.

14 Jonah Lowe (Chiefs): The wing worked hard in his team’s defeat to the Crusaders, and whilst he did not set the game alight, Lowe completed the fundamentals of the game efficiently whilst looking threatening with ball in hand.

13 Rieko Ioane (Blues): The lightning-fast centre continues his blistering form breaking the line on one occasion whilst carrying the ball 64 metres in seven carries. Ioane is performing consistently and proving his worth as a world-class centre.

12 Irae Simone (Brumbies): A physically powerful performance from the centre began with a brilliant try early on where Simone ran over the top of Beauden Barrett to score and give his side early momentum. Making just short of 50 metres from eight carries, the centre was massive for the Brumbies. The Crusaders’ David Havili also had a notably good performance in the semi-final.

11 Mark Telea (Blues): The wing finished a good team try and looked to get involved in the game wherever possible. Solid in the air and on defence, the 25-year-old produced a mature performance and provided stability for the Blues.

10 Richie Mo’unga (Crusaders): The fly-half was firing on all cylinders and was a pleasure to watch as he carved open the Chiefs’ defence. It was a calculated and well-rounded performance of the highest order, including a try assist earning him selection over an inspired Beauden Barrett, who was outstanding again for the Blues.

9 Finlay Christie (Blues): The Blues scrum-half was brilliant again. The speed generated from the base of the ruck is immense and prevented the Brumbies’ defensive line from setting at times. Meanwhile, his ability to snip around the ruck or scrum always makes him a threat — a massive performance.

8 Cullen Grace (Crusaders): The All Black had a magnificent game scoring two key tries, including a carry from the back of the scrum and a big stretch for the line. The number eight produced an incredibly hard-working shift, with 22 tackles made in one of the his best performances of the season. Blues star Hoskins Sotutu was unlucky not to be selected.

7 Tom Christie (Crusaders): An industrious performance from the flank who seemed to be everywhere on the day as his whopping 26 tackles suggest. A defensive masterclass from Christie whose work rate would benefit any team.

6 Akira Ioane (Blues): The All Black has found his rhythm again since returning from injury and produced an imposing performance. His physicality in the contact point is tremendous and an asset to the Blues’ structure. Ioane made 12 tackles on the day in a solid outing.

5 Tom Robinson (Blues): The versatile forward had one of his best games in a Blues jersey and was a menace at the line-out, disrupting the Brumbies set-piece at critical moments in the game. In broken play, Robinson was an extra loose forward and made 10 tackles.

4 Scott Barrett (Crusaders): With all the pre-match chatter about the All Blacks second-row battle, the Crusaders skipper managed to come out on top against veteran Brodie Retallick. Barrett made a ridiculous 25 tackles and led his team from the front in an impressive fashion. A world-class performance.

3 Nepo Laulala (Blues): The tighthead won several penalties at scrum time as he single-handedly destroyed the Brumbies set-piece. A dominant performance from Laulala, who made six tackles on top of his scrummaging heroics.

2 Lachlan Lonergan (Brumbies): The only replacement to feature in the team of the week, Lonergan scored a brace of tries from the back of the maul and was strong all round when on the field. The importance of his two tries in the near comeback earns him a spot ahead of Codie Taylor.

1 George Bower (Crusaders): The loosehead continues to play well and made 15 tackles whilst being very solid at scrum time. If he keeps up his current form, Bower will be in the All Blacks mix.

READ MORE: Australia: Suliasi Vunivalu headlines newcomers in the Wallabies squad to face England

The article Super Rugby Pacific Team of the Week: Blues and Crusaders dominate after semi-final wins appeared first on Planetrugby.com.

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