Two Australian wins from three matches produced a few more highlights this week.
Who were the round 12 standouts?
1. Sef Faagase
Sef Faagase’s form has not been ignored by the powers that be and his week-to-week form is only propelling him up the prop stakes. Taking added responsibility in his stride after the departure of some senior front rowers from Ballymore in recent years.
2. Stephen Moore
Michael Cheika backed Stephen Moore to turn things around and it seems the Wallabies skipper is finally doing that. Some good vision from the hooker set up Samu Kerevi for the match-winning try, capping off one of his rare 80-minute efforts.
3. Tetera Faulkner
The Force pack went toe-to-toe with a Jaguares pack that is all but a Test forward group and Faulkner was a huge part of that. The veteran has found some vintage form this season and that showed once again in Argentina.
4. Rob Simmons
Rob Simmons has found some consistency for the Reds in the past fortnight, after a year he’d probably rather forget. The Wallabies lock has plenty of competition breathing down his throat but another strong showing will only help him.
5. Adam Coleman
Adam Coleman is fit and firing at the perfect time of the year. The 25-year-old has made a noticeable impact on the Force since his return from a calf injury. His role as enforcer is one he has taking with aplomb as well, not afraid to take on some intense Argentinian foes last weekend.
6. Sean McMahon
Rebels, and Wallabies, fans rejoiced with the return of human wrecking ball Sean McMahon. He only played the final half of the game but he made the most of that time, with seven carries and 26 run metres with the momentum turning towards te Reds.
7. Will Miller
Will Miller will surely have a Super Rugby home in 2018, if he wants it. The 24-year-old hasn’t missed a beat since his elevation to the big leagues and scored his first try on the weekend against the Reds.
8. Richard Hardwick
Richard Hardwick is in Michael Cheika’s sights and he would only have gone up in Test estimations after last Sunday morning. Handling errors cost him two tries but the no. 8 was effective across the ground without getting the five points. Made 74 run metres, six tackles and won a turnover against the Jaguares.
9. Ian Prior
Ian Prior was composed and collected for the Force in Buenos Aires and that was exactly what they needed. Prior was the third-choice halfback at one point and has filled in at flyhalf but he showed his value to the Force with his best game of the year against the Jaguares.
10. Quade Cooper
Quade Cooper has been on a rollercoaster this year and it hit its peak against the Rebels. The Queensland flyhalf was influential in all the right ways as the Reds eked out the win.
11. Alex Newsome
The intercept king took his game an extra step on the weekend - scoring a try from his own team’s attack. The youngster is going from strength to strength, with a cross-country move to the Force paying dividends for the Sydney teen.
12. Mitch Inman
Inman has been one of the quiet achievers for the Rebels this season and was once again one of their best in last weekend’s derby. It’s in defence where his influence shows, with 10 tackles against the Reds.
13. Samu Kerevi
Captaincy is doing amazing things for Samu Kerevi, who went to another level against the Rebels. Made 150 run metres, and managed a lazy 10 tackles and two turnovers. Oh, and scored the match-winner, if you don’t mind.
14. Henry Speight
Henry Speight has established himself as the form winger in Australian rugby after another standout performance. In a grinding game, Speight made 92 run metres, almost twice that of anyone else, bar Lions flanker Kwagga Smith, who scored an 80-metre runaway try. Lock up that Wallabies jersey now.
15. Reece Hodge
It was a loss but the derby against the Reds was Reece Hodge’s best game of the year. The 22-year-old kept the Rebels in it off his boot with 14 points in front of the posts. Add a try assist and a linebreak to that and Hodge might be finding some form at the right time.