It was a surprising weekend of Super Rugby.
Who were the Aussie standouts in round eight?
1. Scott Sio
Scott Sio continued to entrench himself as the form loosehead in Australia with another impressive performance for the ACT. The Brumbies scrum gave away the match-winning penalty in Melbourne but Sio was on the bench well before that.
2. Alex Mafi
Replacing the Wallabies skipper in your run-on debut is a bit to handle and Mafi took it in his stride. Worked hard and kept the Reds lineout steady in his first-half stint. Big praise from coach Nick Stiles after the game too.
3. Allan Alaalatoa
Alaalatoa continues to grow as a prop each week and he and Sio are building a formidable partnership.
4. Rory Arnold
He didn’t have the breaks he found against the Reds but Rory Arnold was again a standout for the Brumbies in Melbourne. The 26-year-old has built into the year nicely and his second row partnership with Sam Carter is looking very intimidating.
5. Steve Cummins
Cummins generally goes under the radar but he has been one of the Rebels’ most consistent when he’s played this year. Another solid game from the lock helped them to their maiden 2017 win.
6. Scott Fardy
Fardy seems to have rediscovered some of his best rugby this season and was once again a key player for the Brumbies.
7. George Smith
Smith celebrated his 150th game in style - one try, 12 tackles and a whopping five turnovers put him at the top of an impressive pile against the Kings. Turns out, he’s still got it.
8. Amanaki Mafi
Another powerful game from the Japanese international and his attacking prowess shone through against the Brumbies, finishing with 51 metres from 16 carries and throwing two offloads.
9. James Tuttle
Two of Australia’s young halfbacks shone this weekend, in Tuttle and the Brumbies’ Joe Powell. Tuttle has taken his Super Rugby chances with both hands this season and had another impressive outing in Brisbane.
10. Quade Cooper
He had a bit to make up for after three weeks out suspended and Cooper did exactly that in his Super Rugby return. The enigmatic playmaker set up one of the tries of the season for Izaia Perese and steered the Reds around with composure.
11. Izaia Perese
Perese was the one that finished off Cooper’s sensational assist in one of his best games this season. The youngster finished with 93 run metres and three clean breaks in a scintillating performance.
12. Reece Hodge
Hodge bore much of the point-scoring responsibility against the Brumbies and though his final penalty miss could just as nearly taken a win away from the Rebels, his boot put them in front.
13. Samu Kerevi
Kerevi still has some defensive bugbears but his attacking potency shines through each and every week. The 23-year-old didn’t score a try himself but he had a hand in one and created opportunities for the Reds.
14. Henry Speight
You’d be hard-pressed to find too many losing teams with an individual performance like Speight put in on Saturday night. Two tries for the superstar winger were the icing on top of a cake that included 158 run metres and four clean breaks, adding more credibility to his 2017 renaissance.
15. Karmichael Hunt
The Reds really missed Hunt against the Brumbies and his impact was immediately seen at Suncorp on Saturday. Five tackles added to 124 run metres and five clean breaks made him one of the side’s best. This is easily the best year he has had in rugby.