Vodafone Super Rugby Team of the Week: Round Three

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

It was another mixed weekend for Australian teams in Super Rugby.

The Rebels were the only Australian winners in round three with the Reds and Waratahs still winless in 2020.

Don't forget to vote for the player from the Aussie teams who you think stood up the most in round three.

1. James Slipper (Brumbies)

Slipper put the pressure on in the scrum early in Canberra and was a key anchor in the Brumbies' near-unstoppable rolling mauls. That he is keeping Scott Sio out of a starting spot at the moment says it all, really.

2. Folau Fainga’a (Brumbies)

Folau Fainga'a nabbed a second career hat-trick in Canberra. Photo: Getty ImagesIt's rare that front rowers receive plaudits for their finishing skills but after his second Super Rugby hat-trick, Folau Fainga'a has surely earned the praise. The hooker was on either end of their mauling set plays, throwing lineouts accurately, and finishing the drive. Having another solid year.

3. Taniela Tupou (Reds)

Tupou was a major threat in attack for Queensland in Buenos Aires, particularly in their scintillating first half performance. The tighthead prop was part of a more than serviceable scrum as well against a formidable Jaguares outfit.

4. Matt Philip (Rebels)

Philip is back to some of his best rugby in 2020 and he showed that in another impressive performance for the Rebels. The second rower was abrasive and physical against the Waratahs and certainly helped the Melbourne pack get the better of their northern rivals.

5. Cadeyrn Neville (Brumbies)

Cadeyrn Neville has been solid for the Brumbies. Photo: Getty ImagesNeville probably came into the 2020 season as one of the less lauded recruits to the Brumbies but he has proven to be super dependable in 2020. Was consistent against the Highlanders and finished with 11 tackles and one turnover for his efforts.

6. Rob Valetini (Brumbies)

Valetini is developing into the most consistent blindside flanker in Australian rugby right now. Was again effective for the Brumbies despite their last-gasp defeat on Saturday night.

7. Liam Wright (Reds)

Wright might have left Buenos Aires frustrated but the Reds skipper was once again one of his team's best in a roller coaster clash. Finished with a monstrous 15 tackles and managed 19 run metres off four carries. 

 8. Isi Naisarani (Rebels)

Naisarani has found his groove in the past two weeks and was back to some of his better rugby against the Waratahs. The bullocking no. 8 had 13 carries on Friday night and made 43 metres, beating five defenders along the way. Won two turnovers on the other side of the ball too.

9. Ryan Louwrens (Rebels)

Ryan Louwrens was impressive against the Waratahs. Photo:Getty ImagesFrank Lomani was touted preseason as being the Will Genia replacement but if Louwrens continues to play like he did last weekend, Lomani will find it tough to return to the starting side. Former Force halfback Louwrens was the Rebels' best in Melbourne, quick from the base of the ruck and creating opportunities for the Rebels in attack.

10. James O’Connor (Reds)

Who would've picked this, hey? James O'Connor back in Australian rugby after five years and back playing flyhalf as well. While the game didn't end the way the Reds wanted, O'Connor was a huge part of the reason why they burst out of the blocks. O'Connor set up Tate McDermott for a slick try and was a pivotal link man throughout the match. 

11. Henry Speight (Reds)

Speight is in vintage form in Queensland, quickly becoming a key cog in the Reds backline. Puts himself in the right positions and like a number of his colleagues on the weekend, ran some perfect support lines to help open up chances in attack.

12. Billy Meakes (Rebels)

It wasn't long ago that punters were banging the door down for Billy Meakes to be included in a Wallabies 23. The reliable centre had a mixed 2019 but has bounced back early this year. Played a strong supporting role for flyhalf Matt To'omua and had a potential try disallowed that would have given Melbourne the momentum going into half-time.

13. Hunter Paisami (Reds)

Paisami moved up to Brisbane for a second chance in 2019 and now that the Reds have given him that chance, he is paying them back in spades. An injury to Jordy Petaia sent alarm bells through the Reds' fanbase but Paisami might make it difficult for Petaia to force his way back into the Queensland side. Ran superb lines in Argentina and had a hand in most of their effective attacking chains. Watch this space.

14. Andrew Kellaway (Rebels)

Andrew Kellaway in action for the Rebels. Photo: Getty ImagesKellaway was the match sealer for the Rebels with two tries in the final 10 minutes in Melbourne. Showcased his ability to put himself in the right spots and finish well. A previous record U20s try-scoring record holder, Kellaway's finishing ability could be very useful for his new side and he proved that on Friday night.

15. Jock Campbell (Reds)

Campbell has mainly played wing in Super Rugby but looked more comfortable in his natural position of fullback. Adds plenty of zip in attack but is also smart with his positioning. Was clear he's not the team's regular kicker with his shots at goal but had his best game of the year in Buenos Aires.