Super Rugby proved to deliver another weekend jam-packed with tries, open-field running, and some massive hits. We’ve assessed the players who stood tallest this past weekend in order to gather our Super Rugby team of the week for Round 2:
1. Trevor Nyakane (Bulls) – The Bulls seemed to hit their stride against a inspirited Rebels side, and Trevor Nyakane was one of the standout players. Nyakane was strong at the close-encounters, carried well, and put in a few big hits during his tenure on the field.
2. Malcolm Marx (Lions) – Marx showed that he is more valuable in the starting lineup than on the bench. The 21-year-old was powerful at scrum-time and scored a great try for himself.
3. Marcel van der Merwe (Bulls) – Marcel van der Merwe linked up with his fellow front-rowers well and had a hand in one of the tries. He played a big role in pulverising the Rebels’ scrum in the first-half.
4. Eben Etzebeth (Stormers) – The Stormers’ enforcer deserved his Man of the Match award. He was utterly dominant in the lineouts and tackled his heart out.
5. Pieter-Steph du Toit (Stormers) – The Stormers’ second-row completely outplayed their Cheetahs’ counter-parts. Like Etzebeth, Pieter-Steph du Toit was a menace at the lineouts, stealing a number of Cheetahs’ throw-ins.
6. Sikhumbuzo Notshe (Stormers) – Notshe was impressive in the Stormers’ back-row, making a lot of tackles and attempting to get over the ball at the breakdown with every opportunity. His try was a pivotal turning-point in the game too.
7. Matt Hodgson (Western Force) – the Force had imposing performance against an admittedly poor Reds side, and Matt Hodgson led from the front with some incredible work at the breakdown and dominating the Reds with his driving tackles.
8. Warren Whitley (Lions) – Another commanding performance by the Lions captain. Whitely was immense in the loose and provided a pivotal connection between the forwards and backs, not too mention racking up the tackle count.
9. Fad de Klerk (Lions) – The Lions pint-sized scrumhalf provided some serious momentum and speed for his team in Hamilton. De Klerk combined excellently with Jantjies and showed what a terrier he is in defence, being the first one to take down the Chiefs’ big forwards
10. Elton Jantjies (Lions) – Jantjies has clearly benefitted from his time in Japan, as the Lions flyhalf had an extra spark in attack against the Chiefs. Jantjies took the ball to the line a number of times, and threw some try-creating passes that kept the Chiefs’ defence guessing throughout the game.
11. Bjorn Basson (Bulls) – Basson was on the end of a few great movements from the Bulls, scoring a hat-trick for himself and controlling some high-balls excellently. A good performance from the left winger.
12. Juan de Jongh (Stormers) – Andre Esterhuizen was strong for the Sharks, but Juan de Jongh’s centre performance was worth a nod. The Stormers co-captain made some great spot-tackles, threw some great passes, and showcased a bit of his trademark footwork that all helped the Stormers’ momentum.
13. Malakai Fekitoa (Highlanders) – the All Blacks outside centre was a powerful entity for the Highlanders. Fekitoa scored showed some great handling skills to finish off a try and made a number of tackle-breaks, causing some headaches for the Hurricanes.
14. Ruan Combrink (Lions) – Lions winger Ruan Combrink was in a league of his own in Hamilton, scoring a great try and making numerous line-breaks to keep his side moving forward. His brilliance in the air can’t be understated too.
15. David Havili (Crusaders) – the Crusaders fullback didn’t get on the score-sheet, but did the basics better than any other fullback this past weekend. He was solid in defence, took some difficult kicks, and had a hand in all the tries, timing his passes excellently and supporting well.
Who do you think deserves to be in the Super Rugby team of the week? Let us know in the comments below and tweet us @MenStuffZA.