Vodafone Super Rugby AU Team of the Week: Round One

Super Rugby - AU
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Super Rugby is back and so is the Australian team of the week.

The Brumbies and Reds sit on top after opening round wins but which players stood out across the weekend?

1. Matt Gibbon - Rebels

The Rebels scrum notched up a win over the Brumbies and it's in large part due to Gibbon. Goes under the radar but is a very strong scrummager and sets the platform for the rest of his team.

2. Folau Fainga’a - Brumbies

The Brumbies lineout looked as strong as ever and Faingaa'a played a pivotal role. Threw a lovely inside ball to set up Andy Muirhead for the opening try of the game and scored one himself in open play. 

3. Taniela Tupou - Reds

Tupou was dominant at scrum time, facing off against rookie Angus Bell. While the Waratahs weren't overly happy with some of the scrum officiating, it was clear that Tupou had the upperhand. Yellow carded for two late charge down attempts but apart from that, Tupou was one of Queensland's best.

4. Murray Douglas - Brumbies

Douglas is the experienced head in the Brumbies second row with a host of injuries and departures affecting their lock department this season. He is more than up to taking on that responsibility and showed his quality on Saturday. The Brumbies lineout was strong, was a beast in defence with 15 tackles and had a handy break in attack.

5. Darcy Swain - Brumbies

Swain has a major opportunity in this Super Rugby AU season to step up and he showed he's ready to do that against the Rebels. Earned big praise from coach Dan McKellar post-match, which reflected a huge shift from the 23-year-old.

6. Lachie Swinton - Waratahs

Swinton was his maniacal self at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night. A huge hit in the first half set the tone for the rest of his team in Brisbane. Finished with 13 tackles in a strong outing. Just pips Queensland skipper Liam Wright for this spot, who was also very good.

7. Fraser McReight - Reds

It has seemed a matter of when not if McReight would finally have an opportunity to play significant minutes in Super Rugby and he made an instant impact. The openside flanker had four turnovers, including one at the death that snuffed out the Waratahs' hopes of a final attacking charge. Superstar in the making.

8. Harry Wilson - Reds

He was the form player in Australian Super Rugby when the competition was shut down and Harry Wilson didn't miss a beat on his return to competition. He had 13 carries, 11 tackles and barged over for an important try for Queensland.

9. Tate McDermott - Reds

McDermott is absolutely gunning for a shot at the next level. The Reds halfback had one of his best games for Queensland against the Waratahs. Scored an impressive try and had a hand in another, ensuring the Reds kept the pace of the game up. And he's only 21. Brumbies no. 9 Joe Powell just misses out here after an industrious performance on Saturday.

10. Noah Lolesio - Brumbies

Lolesio faced off against the Wallabies incumbent in Matt To'omua on Saturday night and for the second time this year, bested him. The 20-year-old was composed and effective in steering the Brumbies around the park and set up a nice Tom Wright try to keep his side's momentum going. 

11. Tom Wright - Brumbies

Wright has found his feet on the edge for the Brumbies picked up where he left off against the Rebels. His try to kick off the second half was a superb display of strong support lines, capping off a very good night for him.

12. Irae Simone - Brumbies

Simone was effective without being flashy against the Rebels. Helped create some attacking opportunities and had seven strong carries for the night. Made six tackles in defence as well.

13. Hunter Paisami - Reds

Paisami laid out Waratahs winger James Ramm in a tackle that reminded everyone of his physical threat despite his size. Finished with 31 metres off seven carries and nine tackles on the other side of the ball. One to watch.

14. Andy Muirhead - Brumbies

Muirhead often gets overlooked in discussions about the Brumbies' back three but he is absolutely pushing his case every time he has a chance. Scored the opening try for the Brumbies, off the back of a lineout, and looms as a threat almost every time he touches the ball. 

15. Jack Maddocks - Waratahs

There can be no doubt any more that fullback is Maddocks' best position. He had his best game in recent memory for the Waratahs on Friday night. He was dangerous in attack, very good under the high ball. 

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