It was a mixed bag for Australian teams in Super Rugby round nine.
Who stood out over the weekend?
1. Scott Sio
The Brumbies were patchy against the Highlanders, but their scrum was one area where they matched the Kiwis. Particularly early on, the Brumbies scrum was strong in Dunedin, and Sio was critical to that.
2. Folau Faingaa
Faingaa’s performance was in a similar vein to Sio’s, with the scrum a positive for the ACT side. Though there were some missteps with the lineout, that was by no means Faingaa’s fault alone.
3. Allan Alaalatoa
Alaalatoa was the third prong in the Brumbies’ positive front row performance, with the visitors certainly taking it to the Highlanders in that area.
4. Rory Arnold
Arnold was one of the better Brumbies in Dunedin, wreaking some havoc in the maul and making 11 tackles in defence.
5. Rob Simmons
Simmons’ night ended somewhat prematurely, with a suspected sternum issue, but the time he was on, he had one of his best games of the year. Showed some physicality, making 10 tackles, showing signs of the aggression and fire that Wallabies coach Michael Cheika wants to see from him.
6. Will Miller
Miller hasn’t put a foot wrong since being given a starting chance and was impressive again against the Reds. Clinching three turnovers and making 10 tackles, Miller showed why he has been so revered in the Shute Shield in recent years. A shoulder concern might be his only one at this stage.
7. David Pocock
Pocock is well and truly back. Pilfered at some crucial times against the Highlanders and was a force in defence. Was cleaned up by Elliot Dixon at one stage, but that was the only negative point for the monster no. 7. Narrowly bested Michael Hooper in this spot, with the pair looking cherry ripe for the June Series.
8. Michael Wells
Wells plays with few plaudits, but he earned some on Saturday night. An absolute workhorse, Wells finished with 12 tackles, a turnover and 50 run metres. A hit to his shoulder brought his night to an early end, the first match this season where he hasn’t played out the 80.
9. Will Genia
Perhaps, the most telling moment of Genia’s value to the Rebels came once he was forced off the ground in the 50th minute. The Rebels halfback set up two tries for the Rebels and was their anchor in attack, before straining his hamstring. Once he was off, things really unravelled.
10. Bernard Foley
Foley has been super consistent in 2018 and he was again strong on Saturday night. A perfect seven-from-seven off the boot was more than handy for the Waratahs as well.
11. Taqele Naiyaravoro
Another week, another double from Naiyaravoro. The winger is monstering through his minutes each week, showing the potential plenty of spectators have hoped for since his switch to rugby.
12. Billy Meakes
It was a tough afternoon for the Rebels but Meakes put in until the final whistle. One of the side’s hardest workers, he was lifting the side until the end.
13. Curtis Rona
Rona has found his sweet spot at 13 and was influential for the Waratahs on Saturday night. Ran for 79 metres, and made eight tackles as well.
14. Filipo Daugunu
Daugunu created what appeared to be a match-turning moment for the Reds in Sydney, showcasing his potential. A super talent, who brings some much-needed X-factor to his side.
15. Bryce Hegarty
Hegarty is finally getting the chance to play regular Super Rugby and he’s benefiting greatly. He is reliable as a 15 option and produced some strong support play against the Reds as well.