Two Aussie teams came away with wins this weekend, keeping the finals race tight.
Who were the standouts from round 13?
1. Ben Alexander
The Brumbies scrum has been solid all year and even without incumbent Wallabies loosehead Scott Sio, it continues to thrive, in big part because of Ben Alexander’s consistency. The veteran kept it up on Sunday morning.
2. Tatafu Polota-Nau
Stand-in skipper Billy Meakes described the Force’s loss to the Highlanders as ‘embarrassing’, but Tatafu Polota-Nau continued his consistent form in their forward pack. Keeping injury-free has been one of his biggest problems in recent times and a clean run has put him right up there in the Australian conference.
3. Sekope Kepu
Kepu has been the cornerstone of Australia’s scrum on the weekend and was again strong against the Rebels. Had some stiff competition at Allianz, though, with youngster Tyrel Lomax biting at his heels when it came to this tighthead spot.
4. Dean Mumm
Mumm scored a try and was one of the better forwards for the Waratahs in their emphatic win over the Rebels. Has been in and out of form this season but stood up on Sunday.
5. Sam Carter
Carter’s workrate has been exceptional in 2017 and that was true again against the Kings.
6. Ned Hanigan
Hanigan has stepped up into relatively unfamiliar territory this season, at blindside flanker, and thrown himself well and truly into Test contention. The 22-year-old scored an impressive try against the Rebels, as well as three clean breaks, and making 35 metres in five carries. Managed a lazy 10 tackles as well.
7. Michael Hooper
Michael Hooper delivers every week and this time his team finally stepped up with him. Hooper finished with 129 run metres, five clean breaks,three crucial turnovers and nine tackles to help the Waratahs to a win.
8. Amanaki Mafi
Every week, social media is flooded with fans calling for Amanaki Mafi to be picked for the Wallabies. PSA: He is a Japan international, so ineligible. That aside, this guy has been the biggest revelation in Super Rugby this season and the Rebels have him to thank for almost all of their highlights this year.
9. Joe Powell
Joe Powell was typically impressive for the Brumbies in Port Elizabeth, continuing to press his credentials as a Test contender as the June Series creeps up.
10. Bernard Foley
Bernard Foley looked back to some of his best rugby against the Rebels on Sunday. The Wallabies flyhalf had 78 run metres, two try assists and three clean breaks against Melbourne, sparking the Waratahs’ attack.
11. Henry Speight
Speight has all but locked in Wallabies wing spot after another threatening performance for the Brumbies. Eighty run metres is a strong return for a winger, though his defence still needs work.
12. Dave Horwitz
David Horwitz had the best game of his career on Sunday afternoon, with the pressure off his shoulders. The emerging centre was able to focus on his own job with Bernard Foley on song, rather than trying to make too many things happen of his own accord. And, unsurprisingly, it paid dividends.
13. Tevita Kuridrani
Tevita Kuridrani showed some attacking penetration against the Kings, in another strong outing in the Brumbies’ 13. Ultra reliable for the Canberra side, he finished with 29 run metres, one clean break and a try assist.
14. Marika Koroibete
Aside from a rookie blooper when he caught the ball just on the touch line as it was going out on the full, Marika Koroibete proved himself as one of the Rebels’ better players again in Sydney. Koroibete looked ultra dangerous in attack, finishing with 126 run metres, three clean breaks and four offloads.
15. Israel Folau
Israel Folau’s enjoying rugby again and it showed in a two-try showing on Sunday. The fullback had a double ,104 run metres, two clean breaks, four offloads and a try assist on his stats sheet in the Waratahs’ big win - a performance that should excite NSW and Wallabies fans.