Harvey Norman Super Rugby AU Team of the Week for Round 1

Super Rugby - AU
by RUGBY.com.au staff

Round one of Harvey Norman Super Rugby AU kicked off with a bang.

The Reds blitzed the Waratahs while the Brumbies took their chances against a much-improved Force side.

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But who stood out?

Here's our team of the week.

1: Tom Robertson – Western Force

The prop doctor shifted west in the off-season and didn’t let his new side down with a true workman-like performance at HBF Park. Opposite number James Slipper was strong too but a yellow card for repeat infringements put the Brumbeis under pressure late in the piece.

2: Alex Mafi - Reds

How did he score that try? Mafi showed great hands and even better athleticism for a big boy as he picked the ball up around his ankles, spun and planted it over the line as he ended up on his back.

The Reds lineout has been its Achilles heel though and Mafi will want to tidy up the five throws lost (75% success rate).

3: Taniela Tupou - Reds

Off the bench but a one-man wrecking ball.

Tupou was injected at half-time at immediately tore through the Tahs. One tighthead scrum turnover was all Tupou as he churned through the NSW pack, five metres from his own line. Will Thorn start him next week?

4: Cadeyrn Neville - Brumbies

An absolute pest.

Neville has his eyes on Wallaby Gold and with a few more performances like Friday night, he will get there. Neville disrupted the Force set piece all night, but contribution didn’t end there. Very close to being Player of the Round.

5: Seru Uru - Reds

Where’d this guy come from??

80 minutes in the Reds second row for a man that many thought was a backrower. Ten carries, two clean breaks and offloads galore – Uru is one to watch!

6: Rob Valetini - Brumbies

The type of performance we now expect from the now 22-year old. So close to player of the match in the west, and not just for his work in attack but his defensive presence as well. More please!

7: Carlo Tizzano - Waratahs

This will be a contentious one but Tizzano was everywhere man on Friday night at Suncorp Stadium. 25 tackles and some turnovers to boot – Tizzano never gave up in his 80-minute shift.

Opposite number Fraser McReight unlucky to miss out. He was immense for Queensland.

8: Brynard Stander – Western Force

Stander beat off a number of other strong performances around the comp to grab the honour. The big number 8 showed why Dave Rennie invited him to a wider Wallabies training squad last year.

He’s abrasive, and a key player in the Force attack and defence. Tim Sampson will want another big year from Brynard.

9: Nic White - Brumbies

There was some great half-time analysis by the Stan Sport team, showing how Nic White picked apart the Force defence. His partnership with Noah Lolesio is getting better and better and White won’t be resting on his laurels, with so much strength at halfback around the comp.

Tate McDermott played a blinder in Brisbane for a notable mention – as did Force recruit Tomas Cubelli off the bench in Perth.

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10: James O’Connor - Reds

Who would have thought this evolution would be possible two years ago?

JOC was faultless in his captaincy debut, contributing 16 points off the tee as well as a couple of try assists. Those who doubted he was a top shelf flyhalf are now oddly quiet..

11: Filipo Daugunu - Reds

Two tries, 100 metres made from 10 carries, three clean breaks, six defenders beaten – but just another night in the office for the Reds dynamite winger.

12: Irae Simone - Brumbies

Irae Simone and his centre partner Len Ikitau are both in the team of the week after standout combination on Friday night. Simone got over for a try (thanks to Ikitau) and was a second playmaker option for Noah Lolesio all game too.

13: Len Ikitau - Brumbies

There have been huge wraps on the kid after Wallabies coach Dave Rennie picked him from nowhere last year, and finally we got to see Ikitau in full flight.

He was dynamic and powerful against the Force, beating four defenders, offloading after contact and proving more than a handful for opposite number – and Test veteran – Tevita Kuridrani. Outside centre could become a headache for Rennie longterm..

14: Jordan Petaia - Reds

A quiet night by his now outrageous standards but Jordan Petaia was still ruthless against the Tahs. What’s more pleasing is his defensive work, which is much improved. You don’t want to see the Reds number 14 lining you up when you have the ball in hand..

15: Rob Kearney – Western Force

All eyes were on the Irish import, and he lived up to the billing.

Rob Kearney was a steady hand for the Force against the Brumbies with touches of quality across the 80 minutes. Stan Sport had mic’d him up during the game and we had a sneak peak of his contribution, with Kearney already a key voice in the Force backline. Age is just a number, and class is forever obviously!