The Brumbies and Western Force held on for wins in Round Three of Harvey Norman Super Rugby AU but who stood out?
Two thrilling games that were alive until the final seconds – with a number of standout displays in key positions.
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Here’s our team of the week.
1. Cabous Eloff – Melbourne Rebels
Scott Sio very unlucky to miss out. To be honest, we have just been seduced by those two delectable runs by the Rebels cult hero. You know what, we did also see a glimpse of those famous pink budgie smugglers too. Again, sorry Scotty.
2. Feleti Kaitu’u – Western Force
Energetic all-round display by the Western Force number two. Dave Rennie plucked him out of nowhere for last year’s wider Wallabies squad and it’s now becoming clearer as to why. The Force scrum is a weapon and Kaitu’u threw a perfect dart to set up Tim Anstee (more on him later..) for the match turning try.
3. Santiago Medrano – Western Force
The Pumas prop did not miss a beat as he revisited his field of dreams on Friday night. Argentina beat the All Blacks at Bankwest Stadium in last year’s Tri Nations, so it was only apt that Medrano, and co-conspirator Tomas Cubelli, ended the Force’s run of outs. Handy to have veteran Greg Holmes come off the bench as a more than capable replacement too.
4. Trevor Hosea – Melbourne Rebels
Big wraps on the Rebels youngster and Trevor is starting to find his feet at this level. Hosea was a menace for the Brumbies, and up against two more fancied opponents in Cadeyrn Neville and Darcy Swain. Is a Wallaby cap calling in 2021?
5. Fergus Lee-Warner – Western Force
Speaking of Wallabies aspirants, Lee-Warner has done his claims no harm. Fergus was one of the finds of last year’s Super Rugby AU and he’s hit the ground running this year. He’s in the mould of Matt Philip, and we saw his impact at Test level last year. An agile lock with a huge appetite for the grunt work – and the engine to go with it.
6. Tim Anstee – Western Force
Agility is just one of the traits of Tim Anstee. A graduate of the Australian Sevens program, Anstee has developed a terrific all-round game. Tim took the short ball off Jeremy Thrush, hit the gap and put metres on the chasing defence before a right-to-left pass at full speed for Fergus Lee-Warner to finish. Then, off a red zone lineout attack, Anstee wore a huge hit from opposite number Lachie Swinton and still had presence of mind to find a way to the line. An exciting prospect that has the Australian Rugby public watching with interest.
7. Carlo Tizzano – NSW Waratahs
Cue the Tahs haters (for the record, the writer is a Reds fan through and through) but Carlo Tizzano is stepping up and up. Thrown in the deep end in an inexperienced team, Tizzano can more than hold his head high following a great start to the season, and another tireless display on Friday night.
8. Brynard Stander – Western Force
This was a tough spot to pick, with Michael Wells also enjoying a good night. Jack Dempsey had his fair share of moments too and looks to have that competitive glint in his eye even though an overseas is months away. But Stander was the skipper to break the Force streak. He is just a workhorse.
9. Ryan Lonergan - Brumbies
Match winning kick from about 1000 metres out into a hurricane-like wind. Iconic moment. And what about that Gregan inside flick. Delicious.
10. Matt To’omua – Melbourne Rebels
Eight from eight off the tee. Some people may not like the Rebels game plan but they very nearly knocked off both of last year’s grand finalists in back-to-back weeks, in their own backyard. And a lot of that has to come down to To’omua’s on field leadership and kicking out of hand, and off the tee.
11. Marika Koroibete – Melbourne Rebels
117 metres from 15 carries, two clean breaks, five offloads – and get ready for this – 12 defenders beaten. 12!! Just insane numbers from this genuine gamebreaker.
12. Richard Kahui – Western Force
Did it on attack and in defence. What a great sight it was to see the ageless veteran throw his head into that dark place to force an almighty turnover while the Tahs were on the attack late in the game. What a learning experience for some of the Force’s young brigade to learn off the likes of Kahui, Rob Kearney and Tomas Cubelli.
5 THINGS WE LEARNED: Brumbies v Rebels
KEREVI KILLING IT: Former Wallaby starring in the Top League
BANS HANDED DOWN: Alaalatoa and Ready set for the sidelines
13. Len Ikitau - Brumbies
Another hard position to pick but Ikitau edges it for us. Already a nice little combination with Irae Simone and Noah Lolesio. That grubber try behind under advantage is another example of this.
14. James Ramm - Waratahs
While James Ramm inexplicably spilt a delightful chip over the top, he again showed he is set for this stage. Ramm has athleticism and poise (he was a former gymnast!), and we can’t wait to see him develop over the coming weeks and years.
15. Tom Banks - Brumbies
Stepped up when it counted on Saturday night. Ryan Lonergan said that Tom Banks called for that inside flick, and boy, didn’t he deliver! The Wallabies 15 jersey is there for the taking if Banksy keeps this form up.