Super Rugby Team of the Week: Round seven

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

It was a mixed bag for the Australian conference teams this week, with the Waratahs the only winners.

Who stood out in round seven?

1. Tom Robertson

The Waratahs scrum is proving itself against some early-season critics, certainly punching above its weight and that was true again in Canberra. Robertson is an integral part of that even though he's still developing as a loosehead prop.

2. Damien Fitzpatrick 

Fitzpatrick has well and truly cemented his starting spot and though this wasn't his most consistent effort, the Waratahs lineout functioned effectively and put them at an advantage against the Brumbies, who have for so long pinned their game on set piece.

3. Sekope Kepu 

Similarly to his fellow front rowers, Kepu helped give NSW an advantage early, playing a critical part in their scrum and giving their backs a chance to show some X-Factor.

4. Matt Philip 

Matt Philip scored a try for the Rebels. Photo: Getty imagesPhilip scored the only Rebels try on a difficult night for his side, stepping up against some adversity. The second rower showed he's dangerous in attack and also managed to win a turnover in defence. 

5. Rob Simmons

The Waratahs' lineout certainly bested the Brumbies' set piece on Saturday night and Simmons is the chief caller in that area. Simmons is becoming an increasingly important part of this Waratahs team and his fresh start appears to be agreeeing with him.

6. Michael Wells 

Wells is an absolute workhorse for the Waratahs and he showed that again on Saturday. Finished with 39 run metres from seven carries in Canberra, as well as an immense 14 tackles in defence. Jack Dempsey is nearing his Super Rugby return, but Wells has certainly been a serviceable replacement at blindside flanker.

7. Michael Hooper 

It was the battle of two of the world's best sevens on Saturday night and Michael Hooper came out just on top of long-time teammate and rival, David Pocock. Hooper finished with 12 tackles and a turnover, and had a mjor influence on the match. 

8. Amanaki Mafi 


It is rare to see Mafi have a bad game and even in a trans-Tasman flogging, the no. 8 stood out. Tallied 107 run metres and made eight tackles. The Japan international continues to be one of Melbourne's biggest threats each week.

9. Jake Gordon

Gordon returned from a concussion to take on the Brumbies and picked up where he left off. The 24-year-old gives the Waratahs plenty of spark out of rucks and is a force in defence as well, particularly handy in cover defence. Going to be an interesting battle between he and Nick Phipps for a starting spot this week.

10. Bernard Foley 

Foley was patchy off the boot on Saturday night, but across the field he was the architect of much of the Waratahs' good work. Set up a spectacular Taqele Naiyaravoro try in the second half that was decisive in the game, and steered the Waratahs well.

11. Taqele Naiyaravoro 

 

A set play special from the @nswwaratahs in Canberra. #BRUvWAR

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Naiyaravoro is finally fitting the bill as the impact player coach Daryl Gibson wants him to be. The mammoth winger has scored doubles in two consecutive matches and his timmer figure is helping him have a continuous influence on matches. 

12. Kurtley Beale

Beale had another impressive game against the Brumbies. Though at times he could be accused of trying to overcompensate for the absence of Israel Folau, the inside centre created some opportunities for the Waratahs and his combination with Bernard Foley is seamless.

13. Curtis Rona

Rona had a chance to play in his preferred 13 spot and he showed his promise. He was switched to the wing in the second half, but continued to be effective on the edge.

14. Alex Newsome

Alex Newsome.Newsome had the unenviable task of filling Israel Folau's shoes, and he did so with aplomb. Newsome's blistering run gave Naiyaravoro that super second-half try and he provided a reliable target under the high ball. Expect more where that came from.

15. Bryce Hegarty 

Hegarty had some missteps, including being on the end of a crunching Lachie McCaffrey tackle that forced a knock on, but he continues to be a strong presence in the Waratahs lineup.