Super Rugby Team of the Week: Round two

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

After five months in the wilderness,'s Super Rugby team of the week is back.

Each week, we'll pick the best Australian Super Rugby player in each position, tallying it up at the end of the year.

Here's who caught the eye in round two.

1. James Slipper - Reds

Slipper was excellent up front in his first Super Rugby match since snapping his achilles in South Africa last year.

He held the seven man scrum together with Scott Higginbotham sent for a very early shower and when Slipper departed in the 48th minute, the Rebels picked up the ascendency.

His defensive work was tireless, racking up a team high 12 tackles in just over a half of football.

Looked damaging when he had the football, too, busting two tackles and making a break from his pair of carries.

2. Damien Fitzpatrick - Waratahs

Damien Fitzpatrick was in fine form for the Waratahs. Photo: WalmsleyAn energetic performance from Fitzpatrick, who warranted his selection ahead of Hugh Roach.

Scored a try and worried the Stormers with most carries, making 19 metres from his eight runs, beating a defender and making two line breaks.

Add that to a clean slate at lineout time and you have a sturdy performance in an otherwise unremarkable weekend for Australian hookers.

3. Allan Alaalatoa - Brumbies

In a Brumbies pack that struggled for go forward against a big hitting Sunwolves side, Alaalatoa churned through 12 carries and kept the scrum ticking over, too.

The issues the Brumbies scrum had were typically on Ben Alexander's side and Alaalatoa was solid in all other aspects.

4. Matt Philip - Rebels

There was plenty of hype - and rightfully so - focusing on Will Genia's masterclass against the Reds but more on that later.

Philip was enormous in the second half, taking control of the team's engine room and dominating at the tackle, too.

Philip was so good he outshone Adam Coleman, which is no small feat.

He wreaked havoc with the Reds lineout and racked up 39 metres from 11 carries, with three tackle busts and a line break thrown in for good measure.

5. Sam Carter - Brumbies

Outside of Philip's stellar night it was a rather lean week for locks, Sam Carter the best of a fairly average bunch.

Carter was his typically industrious self getting through plenty of tough stuff at the breakdown, making a team high 11 tackles and running the Brumbies lineout with command.

6. Lachlan McCaffrey - Brumbies

McCaffrey entered the fray for Rob Valetini in the 22nd minute and immediately made an impact, scoring a try two minutes later.

He was energetic on either side of the breakdown and had 30 metres from his five runs, breaking a pair of tackles to boot.

His most impressive touch was a superb try assist for Tom Banks, picking a pass up off his boot laces and dishing to the fullback for what proved to be a critical try with 13 to play.

Will be a more than capable replacement in the absence of Valetini.

7. Michael Hooper - Waratahs

Another season, another "follow me" performance from the Waratahs skipper.

Hooper was at his leg pumping, gut running best in putting the Waratahs pack on his back, scoring a try and putting his hand up for 10 carries which produced 29 metres.

Add 11 tackles to that attacking output and you have a night where the Wallabies captain did it on both ends.

8. Isi Naisarani - Brumbies

Isi Naisarani was a forced to be reckoned with in Tokyo. Photo: WalmsleyNaisarani was forecast as one of the recruits of the year and did that tag justice in his first start for the Brumbies.

It was a ubiquitous performance from the No. 8 as he amassed 67 metres from 19 runs, a tackle bust, two line breaks and eight tackles.

A stellar start to his career in Canberra.

9. Will Genia - Rebels

Halfbacks don't play much better than Genia did against his old club on Friday night.

He sniped for 40 metres from six runs, set up teammates for three tries and had a hand in one other.

Genia was the orchestrator of the attack which produced the Rebels' highest ever points tally, in a start where they were supposed to be more rusty than polished.

A masterful performance.

10. Christian Lealiifano - Brumbies

Christian Lealiifano impressed for the Brumbies. Photo: Getty ImagesWhile he wasn't as dominant in every facet like Genia was the night before, Lealiifano's composure was critical to the Brumbies' win.

Lesser playmakers would have forced their hand trailing 19-8 to the rank underdogs with 28 minutes already played but Lealiifano kept the attack ticking over, finding holes through patience rather than sheer power.

His radar was slightly ajar in slotting three from six off the kicking tee but he attacked the line enough to keep the Sunwolves honest and was astute in choosing when to kick in general play.

11. Sefa Naivalu - Rebels

Naivalu wasn't forced to overplay his hand in scoring a simple double against the Reds but it was brilliant to see him back at his high flying best.

His acceleration and explosiveness remains potent, picking up two line breaks in a performance that was bigger on quality than it was quantity.

12. Kyle Godwin - Brumbies

Kyle Godwin starred for the Brumbies. Photo: Getty ImagesGodwin was impressive in midfield, playing a more direct role with Lealiifano taking almost all responsibility as chief playmaker.

He picked up 44 metres from his 11 runs, beating three tackles, busting the line twice and scoring a try to boot.

Add a perfect 100 percent strike rate from his eight attempted tackles and you have a game which deserved attention at inside centre.

13. Tom English - Rebels

English was one of the chief destroyers for Melbourne as they ran rampant in the second half.

The Reds were seemingly unable to bring him down as he beat seven tackles, made three line breaks, scored a try and had an assist.

A big night out for the Rebels centre.

14. Curtis Rona - Waratahs

All smiles for Curtis Rona and the Waratahs after their last gasp win. Photo: WalmsleyMost expected the Waratahs to deploy Rona at outside centre but he looked at home on the wing in his first match in sky blue.

A try assist, line break and 30 metres from his eight runs capped an impressive start to his time in Sydney.

15. Dane Haylett-Petty - Rebels

Haylett-Petty was simply unstoppable for Melbourne in his first start in the red, blue and white.

An eye-popping 146 metres from 13 carries, three tackle busts, two line breaks and two tries is a huge shift.

Hasn't missed a beat after an injury riddled 2017.

A notable mention to Israel Folau, too, who was similarly spectacular for the Waratahs.