Now that the dust has settled after Round 5 of Super Rugby, we select the players that stood out over the weekend.
1. Sef Fa’agase (Reds) – the Reds front-row were immense against the Force, and Sef Fa’agase was one of the standout players in the performenace. His contribution at scrumtime helped achieve the penalty try, and his work in the tight encounters was notable.
2. Edgar Marutlulle (Kings) – The Kings were on the receiving end of a big scoreline, but the performance of the Kings’ hooker would’ve made you think otherwise. Slipping through tackles, delivering offloads, throwing clinically in the lineouts, and putting in some big hits, Marutlulle was in great form against the ‘Canes.
3. Ben Alexander (Brumbies) – Alexander scored a great try following some powerful forward play from the Brumbies pack. He also performed well in the scrum and showed some great work at the breakdown.
4. Tomás Lavanini (Jaguares) – the giant Argentine lock had a huge task in taking on Eben Etzebeth, but managed to win the personal duel despite the final scoreline. Lavanini was prominant in the lineouts and caused chaos with ball in hand.
5. RG Snyman (Bulls) – Was at the forefront of the Bulls’ forward effort against the Sunwolves in Singapore. Snyman was a willing ball carrier, making eight runs and gaining 26 metres with a clean break, one defender beaten and two offloads.
6. Sikhumbuzo Notshe (Stormers) – The Stormers’ loose forward put in yet another stellar performance. Notshe gained 40 metres, beating two defenders in their 13-8 victory over the Jaguares in Buenos Aires, and his defence was as clinical as his attacking prowess.
7. David Pocock (Brumbies) – Pocock’s ability to dominate the contact resulted in him gaining valuable metres. His ability to effect turnovers was an integral part of the Brumbies’ overall dominance at the breakdown.
8. Jed Holloway (Waratahs) – Holloway has filled in Wycliff Palu’s boots excellently, carrying the ball strongly and hitting rucks hard. He also racked up a lot of metres with his clean break on the halfway line, which then resulted in a try.
9. Brad Weber (Chiefs) – Crisp, fast passing at the breakdown while managing to control and organise the forwards where necessary. A strong performance from Weber to help his side get the early ball that makes them so dangerous.
10. Aaron Cruden (Chiefs) – Beauden Barrett of the Hurricanes was superb, but Aaron Cruden was purely sublime. The Chiefs playmaker orchestrated an attacking masterclass against the Force, delivering pinpoint passes and creating space for his outside backs to exploit.
11. Nemani Nadolo (Crusaders) – The Sunwolves’ Akihito Yamada was in great form, but Nadolo gets the nod this week as the Fijian powerhouse was at his destructive best against the Sharks, scoring one try and setting up another as the Crusaders won in Durban.
12. Charlie Ngatai (Chiefs) – The Chiefs midfielder must be putting his name on the potential roster for the All Blacks. Ngatai scored four tries and had a hand in every pivotal play that tore the Western Force open.
13. Ngani Laumape (Hurricanes) – Switched to our 13 slot from inside centre, Laumape has bubbled under the radar until the last two rounds, with his hard running style punishing defences. Scored another try on Friday, as Laumape beat eight defenders off 11 carries and made seven tackles.
14. Jack Wilson (Highlanders) – Wilson was playing Sevens for England only in February and marked his Super Rugby debut with a well-taken try as the Highlanders cruised in Melbourne. Busy with the ball in hand, making nine runs.
15. Damian McKenzie (Chiefs) – McKenzie continued his sublime form this season with yet another great performance. The 20-year-old scored two tries and always joined the line at the precise time to create an overlap and help put the outside backs away.
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.