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Michael Hooper bounds ahead in Castrol EDGE Strongest Performer Award

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Qantas Wallabies flanker Michael Hooper is in danger of turning the Castrol EDGE Strongest Performer of the Series Award in to a one-horse race after again taking the lion’s share of points on offer in Saturday night’s narrow victory over the Pumas in Perth.

Once again the young Tahs loose forward was the Fairfax panel of Rugby writer’s pick for the Wallabies Castrol EDGE Strongest Performer of the match earning 13-points for his all round performance.

Hooper just edged out scrumhalf Nic White, who in his first start for the Wallabies played a major role in the 14-13 win with his speedy distribution and pin-point kicking game. White’s 11 points see him debut in the list at seventh.

The other big mover on the night was Tahs fullback Israel Folau, whose strong all round performance was topped by a superbly taken try, and saw him collect 10 points to move up to outright third.

Another strong performer was rugged flanker Scott Fardy who collected five points for his high work rate at the breakdown where he took the powerful Argentinean pack head on. Fardy now jumps up to equal fourth with wing James O’Connor.

Christian Leali’ifano holds on to second place after collecting a duo of points for the match while vice-captain Adam Ashley-Cooper also picked up a point for another solid performance.

Each week during the 2013 Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship, Fairfax’s panel of leading Rugby writers, who includes some of Australia’s top Rugby scribes such as Paul Cully, Georgina Robinson and Spiro Zavos, vote for the best-performing Qantas Wallabies.

Points are allocated on a three, two, one basis by each panelist, with the player with the highest points tally at the end of the tournament being awarded the Castrol EDGE Strongest Performer of the Series trophy.

A running points table will be published in the Sydney Morning Herald and each week during the Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship.

The full points table is below.

Points after Round Four:
(Placing last Round) [Points scored this Round]

1. (1) Michael Hooper 68 [13]
2. (2) Christian Leali’ifano 26 [2]
3. (4) Israel Folau 21 [10]
4. (6) Scott Fardy 15 [5]
4. (3) James O'Connor 15 [0]
6. (4) Adam Ashley-Cooper 12 [1]
7. (-) Nic White 11 [11]
8. (7) Will Genia 9 [0]
8. (7) Rob Simmons 9 [0]
10. (9) Ben Mowen 5 [0]
11. (10) James Slipper 4 [0]
11. (10) Stephen Moore 4 [0]
13. (12) James Horwill 3 [DNP]
14. (13) Matt Toomua 1 [0]
14. (13) Quade Cooper 1 [0]

Panellists: Georgina Robinson, Paul Cully, Stephen Samuelson, Chris Dutton, Spiro Zavos, Matthew Burke, Peter FitzSimons, Rupert Guinness, Phil Lutton.