Team of the Week: Looking at the best Australian performers from Super Rugby Pacific Round 14

Mon, May 23, 2022, 2:34 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
The Highlanders hosted the Waratahs to close out round 14.

Round 14 of Super Rugby Pacific saw plenty of players produce incredible performances as the finals race heats up.

The Waratahs were the standout of the round, defeating the Highlanders in Dunedin whilst the Reds got back to their winning ways as they overcame Moana Pasifika.

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Meanwhile, the Brumbies showed they were contenders during a narrow defeat to the Blues whilst the Rebels and Force will be disappointed by their defeats to the Hurricanes and Chiefs respectively.

With this in mind, has selected the best from the Australian sides for round 14.

1.Harry Hoopert

Hoopert stepped up when the Reds needed him the most, powering them to victory.

The loosehead had a season-high seven carries, with the majority of those taking the hosts well and truly over the advantage line.

He was rewarded with a rare try late in the first half.

2. Dave Porecki

Another solid and reliable performance by Porecki, who emerged as a key leader of their pack with a host of starters either on the bench or rested.

The hooker was everywhere in attack and defence whilst anchoring a dominant Waratahs scrum to victory.

3. Allan Alaalatoa

Alaalatoa continues to produce captain's knocks in big games as he was immense for the Brumbies.

With their line under attack, Alaalatoa was one of the key figures in defence, holding out a mountain of attacking opportunities from the Blues as he made a team-high 19 tackles.

He was also a key driver in their attack, doing more than enough to get his side over the line.

4. Darcy Swain

Swain was the standout for the Brumbies in the heartbreaking defeat, continuing to do his Wallaby aspirations little harm.

He remains one of the best lineout technicians in the world, reading the Blues' throw early in the game to set up their first try.

5. Rob Leota

Leota continues to impress regardless of his position as he makes up for lost time.

The Wallaby was always the first there to make a key tackle or carry as the Rebels' finals aspirations slipped further and further away as time ran out.

Even still, Leota never wilted as he did everything he good to remain Wallabies selectors of his class.

6. Langi Gleeson

Gleeson took the opportunity to start with both hands as he brutalised the Highlanders.

The backrower's physicality was on display early with a number of key carries as he set the tempo for the Waratahs, along with winning multiple key turnovers on defence.

As a result, he just beats out Tom Hooper and Seru Uru, both delivering quality performances for their respective teams.

7. Michael Hooper

The Wallabies skipper was at his best as he marshalled the Waratahs across the park.

His workrate remains the best in the country, if not the world, and showcased his smarts and pace as he picked the ball from the ruck and raced away for the try just before the break.

Even after being dropped on his head, Hooper was able to recover and deliver a world-class performance to edge out Fraser McReight and Tim Anstee.

8. Harry Wilson

Wilson showed little signs of rust on his return from concussion, delivering another dominant performance.

The number eight made a game-high 13 carries, 13 tackles, two offloads and the game-sealing try to power the Reds the victory.

For this, he just beats out Will Harris after his strong showing for the Waratahs

9. Tate McDermott

The Wallabies scrumhalf was a worthy winner of the Frank Ivory Medal as player of the match.

He set the first try up with a great box kick to find Josh Flook, before chasing Moana napping to set up another try.

McDermott deserved a try at the end and whilst it was pulled back due to a forward pass, his efforts before that had the game well and truly won for the Reds.

10. Tane Edmed

Edmed continues to solidify his position in the starting line-up for the Waratahs with another brilliant showing.

His long ball to put Mark Nawaqanitawase over for his try was good execution of a set-play against 14 Highlanders whilst he put himself in the perfect position to finish off Ned Hanigan's break.

Couple this with a near-perfect night with the boot and he finds himself selected over James O'Connor, who looked strong before he limped off the field.

11. Mark Nawaqanitawase

Nawaqanitawase has to be one of the favourites to be crowned most improved player after starring for the Waratahs.

The winger has made it a habit of producing key moments when the 'Tahs need it and this was no different, lighting the game up in the second half.

He finished the match with two line breaks, five tackle busts, 95 metres (all game-highs) to go with one of the easiest tries he will score.

12. Lalakai Foketi

Foketi stepped up in the absence of Izaia Perese as he controlled the attack and guided the Waratahs to victory.

The inside centre time and time again delivered brutal hit-ups as he made a team-high 10 carries whilst showing some great skill to set up a break late.

For this, he just managed to claim the razor-thin decision over Hamish Stewart, who remains one of the best defensive centres in Super Rugby.

13. Josh Flook

Flook relished the chance to start in the centres and delivered an impressive performance in his 66-minute stint.

He showed some under-rated pace to gather McDermott's kick before throwing a great pass to find Fraser McReight whilst he was reliable as ever in defence.

The only downside for Flook was the suspected dislocated shoulder, likely ruling him out for the rest of the season.

14. Lukas Ripley

Ripley took his early inclusion with both hands as he was the shining light for the Rebels.

The young gun finished the game with all three tries for the visitors as they were blown away by the Hurricanes.

After a shaky start, Ripley showed why he is considered one of the best prospects in Australian Rugby as he showcased an exciting combination of speed and strength.

15. Jock Campbell

Campbell continues to shine at the back, taking any discussions of a move to the wing firmly off the table.

He kicked the Reds into action with some great pace and strength to power over the line before latching onto a James O'Connor grubber for his second.

With the Reds struggling, Campbell was the much-needed spark as they look to build momentum ahead of the finals

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