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

Mon, 28/02/2022, 2:34 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
The Melbourne Rebels hosted the Western Force at AAMI Park.

After another exciting weekend of action, there were a plethora of Australian players who stood up during round two of Super Rugby Pacific.

The Reds found a way to weather the storm and Waratahs as they came away with the win whilst the Brumbies produced a dominant display to defeat the Fijian Drua.

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Along with this, the Western Force cruised to victory over the Melbourne Rebels as they look to make a statement ahead of their return home.

With this in mind, Rugby.com.au has selected the best from the Australian sides for round one.

1.Angus Bell

Another immense game from the loosehead, putting the Waratahs on the front foot throughout the contest, even though it looked like he had one good foot at times.

Bell had a tied game-high 15 carries, consistently marching the ball over the advantage line to set up their attack.

He made it his mission to target Harry Wilson and got the best of him on a couple of occasions, setting the tone for the forward pack to dominate, just beating out the likes of Tom Robertson in the squad.

2. Lachlan Lonergan

Lachlan Lonergan showcased the depth the Brumbies have had hooker, engineering the win inside the first half.

Lonergan excites every time he gets the ball and got a well-deserved try at the back of a maul, with his second denied after the TMO found a Darcy Swain knock-on in the build-up.

Such was the performance of his replacement Billy Pollard and Dave Porecki that they nearly nabbed his spot in this side, however, the younger Lonergan’s strong start cements his spot.

3. Harry Johnson-Holmes

Johnson-Holmes joins his fellow front-rower after another solid performance for the Waratahs.

Playing out of his preferred loose-head, the 24-year-old dominated Dane Zander and Harry Hoopert and exposed a Reds scrum missing Taniela Tupou, drawing several penalties from his opposition.

It’s easy to forget how young Johnson-Holmes is given how quickly he burst onto the scene and his versatility and improved work rate will slowly get the selector’s attention if he can maintain performances like this.

4. Fergus Lee-Warner

Lee-Warner continues to impress in a forward pack stacked with talent.

He once again leads the team in carries (13) and was immense in defence (13 tackles), setting the tempo for the rest of the side.

His offloading seems to be an improved asset of his game in 2022, needing to continue his high output if Izack Rodda’s injury is anything too serious.

5. Matt Philip

The Wallabies lock put in a valiant effort in a team that just couldn’t find its way into the contest.

Philip was all over the park in attack and defence whilst providing a reliable target at line-out time for Jordan Uelese and James Hansen.

The Rebels need more performers like Philip if they wish to turn around their fortunes in 2022.

6. Rob Valetini

Rob Valetini has picked up where he left off, dominating the Fijian Drua as he inspired the Brumbies to victory.

Valetini’s physicality was crucial as they looked to control the contact battle and eventually slowly took the Drua out of the game via the set-piece.

His efforts were rewarded with a late try to go with a solid performance in defence and a key turnover won.

7. Fraser McReight

The main reason the Reds found a way to win.

McReight produced arguably the performance of the competition so far, finishing with 21 tackles and numerous clutch turnovers on their goal-line.

He was everywhere in defence, making a try-saver on Will Harris just before the break to keep them in the contest.

Performance likes that show why the 23-year-old is so highly regarded within the Rugby community and highlight the importance of ensuring he plays regular game-time even when Liam Wright returns from injury.

8. Harry Wilson

A tough position to pick this week but Harry Wilson just edges out Tim Anstee and Will Harris on sheer work rate alone.

Wilson made 15 carries in wet and wild conditions. To put that in perspective, it’s the same amount as the rest of the starting forward pack for the Reds combined.

This combined with 15 tackles in testing conditions saw him claim the number eight spot, which has become such a highly-contested position in Australian Rugby.

9. Ryan Lonergan

Lonergan joins his brother in the team after a brilliant performance stepping up in Nic White’s absence.

His passing and speed from the ruck were immense, providing the up-tempo style of Rugby the Brumbies relish playing.

This combined with some dangerous touches saw him take the position despite the likes of Jake Gordon and Tate McDermott having solid games.

10. Reesjan Pasitoa

The young Force flyhalf showed maturity beyond his years as he slots seamlessly into their attack.

Pasitoa controlled the attack alongside Richard Kahui (who narrowly missed out in the centres), mixing up his attack nicely to keep the Force always guessing.

He just beats out James O’Connor, who did nearly everything right to guide the Reds home.

11. Andy Muirhead

Muirhead remains a constant threat in the Brumbies backline and again delivered a high-quality performance on the wing.

He seems to glide around the field, finishing with three tackle busts, seven carries and a try assist.

12. Hamish Stewart

The defensive leader of the Reds stood up and delivered a clinical performance.

Stewart was all heart throughout the contest, marshalling their backline and doing whatever was necessary to prevent the Waratahs from crossing the line.

In a Wallaby-lathered backline, the 23-year-old flies under the radar and more than deserves his spot in this team.

13. Kyle Godwin

Godwin recovered from a below-standard performance against the Brumbies, reminding everyone of his class against the Rebels.

He sliced through the defence to score a wonderful try after the half-time break, giving the Force a crucial momentum boost as they sealed the victory.

The veteran centre finished the night with four tackle busts, a line break, 11 tackles to go with his try, edging out Izaia Perese for the spot.

READ MORE:

CALM: Sampson calls for Pasitoa patience

FIVE THINGS: Force make statement

ESCAPE: England hold off Wales

14. Toni Pulu

Toni Pulu’s development over the past 12 months has flown under many radars as he once again delivered a solid performance on the wing.

His combination with Manasa Mataele is one of the most exciting within the Australian teams as they terrorise the Rebels defence with ball in hand.

15. Tom Banks

Banks was the standout of the Brumbies’ demolition of the Fijian Drua.

He lit up the Drua’s defence with every touch, looking like he’s added an extra step of pace as he returns from a broken arm.

The highlight of his performance came in the 13th minute with a blistering 60-metre run to score the second try of the match, bursting through the line before breaking two defenders to step inside and finish off a brilliant individual effort.

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