Wallaby Watch: Wilson takes top spot, Lee-Warner rockets into contention

Mon, 07/06/2021, 05:00 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
The Chiefs and Rebels travelled to Leichhardt Oval to close out round four.

With just days until Dave Rennie named his squad for the France series, a host of Wallaby hopefuls made emphatic statements as they press for selection.

Reds number eight Harry Wilson was once again inspirational whilst there was a renewed push from Force back-rower Fergus Lee-Warner to earn selection in the squad.

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As the Brumbies added to the wins tally for Australian teams, Rugby.com.au looked at the top ten performances from Australian players in Round Four of Super Rugby Trans-Tasman.

1.Harry Wilson (Last Week: 2)

What more can you say about Harry Wilson? The number eight was immense for the Reds and is looking like a completely new player since he was rested by Brad Thorn.

The line he ran for the opening try of the game was a thing of beauty as he dominated the Blues pack in a losing effort.

He made 17 runs for 73 metres along with six tackle busts and three clean breaks and put in a performance that even left the opposing team stunned.

2.Isi Naisarani (Last Week: NR)

This was Naisarani’s best game in recent memory.

The number eight played like a man possessed as he powered over the Chiefs, almost doing enough to get the Rebels over the line.

For a player that has seemingly fallen out of favour, Naisarani produced everything that Dave Rennie is looking for in a back-rower, running for 88 metres to go with two tries and five tackle busts.

Michael Wells lays a big shot on Bryn Gatland.

3.Fergus Lee-Warner (Last Week: NR)

Lee-Warner is making a fair case to be in contention for the Wallabies and is probably one of the most under-rated players in Australian Rugby.

Against the Crusaders, he finished with a stat line of 16 carries for 58m, 3 defenders beaten, 11 tackles along with one turnover and 3 lineouts wins.

He remains the engine room of the Force and is the type of player that would thrive at the International level if he is given a chance over the three-Test series.

4.Rob Valetini (Last Week: 10)

With the Brumbies desperate for a win, Valetini produced an incredible show of force to get them over the line.

He seemed to embrace the match-up with Ardie Savea and was immense for the Brumbies throughout the contest.

Valetini has been their best throughout the Trans-Tasman tournament and has seemingly locked up a spot in the back-row alongside Wilson and Michael Hooper.

5.Filipo Daugunu (Last Week: 5)

Daugunu was a menace in both attack and defence as he tried to will the Reds over the line.

His work rate is incredible and was on full display when he got bumped off by Bryce Heem, only to immediately get back up and put him into touch.

He also once again found the try-line as well as showing off his versatility as he slotted a 40 metre penalty towards the end of the match.

Filipo Daugunu finishes a cross-field kick from Hamish Stewart

6.Len Ikitau (Last Week: NR)

Ikitau sent a reminder to Wallabies selectors as the race for the centres position starts to get interesting.

His match-winning try was all class as he bumped off three defenders to score, although he should’ve given Noah Lolesio an easy kick, opting instead for a swan dive in the corner.

He remains steady in defence as he caused a crucial turnover and is really starting to find his feet at the right time.

7.Tom Banks (Last Week: 8)

Another Brumby, Banks was back to his electric best during the win over the Hurricanes.

He finished the game with 12 runs for 102 metres to go with three tackle busts and a clean break.

With every touch, he looked dangerous taking the ball back to the line and continues to streak ahead from the rest of the fullback prospects.

8.Marika Koroibete (Last Week: 1)

Whilst he failed to add to his double from last week, Koroibete’s influence was still felt as he bowled his way through defenders.

His Lomu-like run over Bryn Gatland summed up his performance as he finished with 11 runs for 75 metres.

He continues to set himself apart from the rest of the wing contenders, finding new ways to influence the game and should be one of the first picked in Dave Rennie’s squad on Sunday.

Gatland stands up to a rampaging Marika Koroibete.

9.Izaia Perese (Last Week: 3)

The centre is a shining light for the Waratahs in a season which they will want to forget.

Perese managed 6 runs for 35 metres, along with two clean breaks and a tackle busts to go with a much-improved defensive effort.

No longer a bolter, Perese has made a real case for selection for the first Test and looms as an exciting prospect for the rest of the season.

10.Toni Pulu (Last Week: 9)

Pulu has embraced the return to New Zealand as the former Chief causes havoc for the Kiwi teams.

Stepping up against the defending champions, Pulu added to his try-scoring antics as he found space, stepping past Will Jordan to cap an electric half.

It’s just a shame that he could only manage 40, coming off with an injury that will all but keep him out of the July series.

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