Who stood out after another rough weekend for Australia's Super Rugby sides?
1. Ben Daley
The Force front row has been one of the most consistent across Australian rugby in the opening six weeks of the season and Daley is enjoying a career regeneration as part of that.
2. Tatafu Polota-Nau
After his second start, Tatafu Polota-Nau looks to be working his way back to his best form at number two. That’s only good news for the Wallabies
3. Tetera Faulkner
The third plank of the Force front row, Tetera Faulkner has played his role in making the Force scrum a weapon.
4. Matt Philip
The young lock has made his presence felt in recent weeks and he was impressive again for the Force in Auckland. Stole a lineout and set up Dane Haylett-Petty’s try late in the game.
5. Kane Douglas
He had a slow start to the year but Kane Douglas was back to some of his best rugby against the Hurricanes. Using his body well without erring on the wrong side of the disciplinary line, he reminded everyone of the threat he can be.
6. Ned Hanigan
He showed promise in 2016 and Ned Hanigan is filling a hole for the Waratahs this season, Hanigan has been among the best for the side since replacing Jack Dempsey at six and in a leaky defensive team, his 13 tackles
7. Michael Hooper
If every Waratah played with half the desperation of Michael Hooper, they probably wouldn’t be sitting at 2-4 this season. The skipper led from the front, scoring a try and sparking a late resurgence from his team.
8. Scott Higginbotham
A try and a try assist were but two highlights of Scott Higginbotham’s standout performance for the Reds against the Hurricanes. He brings an air of unpredictability to Queensland with his attacking weapons and he’s been making an impact each week for the Reds.
9. Jake Gordon
Gordon doesn’t look like giving up the Waratahs’ number nine spot any time soon. The scrumhalf again brought energy and zip to the Waratahs’ attack and added a second try to his Super Rugby tally as the Waratahs mounted a comeback against the Crusaders. He made 12 tackles as well, the second most of any Waratah on Sunday afternoon.
10. Hamish Stewart
Call us harsh, but to find a standout 10 in this weekend’s round of Super Rugby, it was hard to go past bench-rider Hamish Stewart. Sure, he didn’t get a minute in the Reds’ match with the Hurricanes, but he was the dominant player by far in the Super U20s grand final on Sunday.
11. Eto Nabuli
This season has been the making of Eto Nabuli, who was again one of Queensland’s best. Eighty-two run metres and five clean breaks showed his attacking potency, though he didn't’ notch a try.
12. Bill Meakes
Meakes has certainly found his feet in his debut Super Rugby season and was again influential for the Force. In a position that no one has really claimed for the Wallabies, another standout performance from Meakes offensively and defensively has only boosted his Test chances.
13. Samu Kerevi
Samu Kerevi is continuing to set the bar at the Reds every week, and another strong performance from the Hurricanes shored up his form. The outside centre beat four defenders and fired off two offloads, as he tried to spark the Reds’ attack.
14. Taqele Naiyaravoro
The Tank came off the bench at Allianz Stadium on Sunday and George Bridge pretty quickly felt his impact...in fact he might still be feeling it. Running over the top of opponents is what gives Naiyaravoro value and he was begging for another chance to show it as the minutes ticked down.
15. Dane Haylett-Petty
One week’s rest did the world of good for Dane Haylett-Petty. The Force fullback finished with a super try, 120 run metres and four linebreaks in a starring performance. Good to have you back, Dane.