Super Rugby: XV of the Week
Now that the dust has settled over in Australia, SA Rugby thought it was only right to hand out some praise to the stars of Super Rugby, Round One.
Without further ado, here comes our offering - be sure to send in your own 15-1 team selections.
Team of Round 1
15 Jesse Mogg (Brumbies) - Two tries for the former rugby league man as he followed up a strong debut campaign with a good opening hit-out in 2013. Mogg glided across the turf on Saturday and was solid under the high ball so beats James O'Connor to our opening jersey.
14 Richard Kingi (Rebels) - Made a couple of errors but for a half-back playing out of position, not too bad at all. Kingi finished well after a long pass from O'Connor and before that he put a lovely inside ball out the back door to Hugh Pyle for the Rebels' second. A good showing.
13 Ben Tapuai (Reds) - Out of position yes but no thirteen stood out over the opening weekend. Tapuai possesses an cultured left boot and showed that on Saturday. It is always difficult playing alongside a newbie centre (Aidan Toua) but Tapuai did enough to catch the eye.
12 Kyle Godwin (Western Force) - Beat eight defenders and offloaded four times in what was an impressive season opener from the 20-year-old, born in Zimbabwe. One blot on his copy book would have to be his three from six record off the tee so there's room to improve.
11 Alfie Mafi (Western Force) - Edges out Reds wing Digby Ioane here after his two-try performance that has him alongside Mogg as the early pace-setters in the standings. Mafi always had potential and it seems his pre-season was solid as he hit the ground running.
10 Sam Christie (Western Force) - While Matt Toomua ticked all the necessary boxes against the Reds in a no frills effort and Quade Cooper tried all of his tricks to spark his backline, it was Christie who caught the eye this first weekend. 51 metres gained with ball in hand to accompany beating three Rebels tacklers saw the Tokoroa-born playmaker open his Super Rugby account at the Force like a duck to water. He must back this up in PE.
9 Nic White (Brumbies) - Rarely lets his team down. White was his assured self against the Reds and also stepped up to the plate when kickers Christian Lealiifano and Mogg were struggling, knocking over two kicks, which put the Brumbies clear of their conference rivals.
8 Ben Mowen (Brumbies) - The skipper made 42 metres against the Reds and was used as a regular line-out option at Canberra Stadium. Back in May, boss Jake White admitted to not understanding Mowen's absence from the Wallaby squad following consistent performances in 2012. One wonders if 2013 will finally see Mowen's international debut.
7 Liam Gill (Reds) - Billed as the one-to-watch battle of the weekend, David Pocock versus young Gill lived up to the hype. While the Wallaby starter played well in his Brumbies debut, we had Gill slightly ahead in this scrap. The breakdown contest was fierce in Canberra and Gill was regularly involved. Despite being on the losing side, the 20-year-old made 46 metres to accompany his 11 tackles. Next up, a duel with 'Tahs youngster Michael Hooper.
6 Peter Kimlin (Brumbies) - While the Reds lost Scott Higginbotham to the Rebels, they had Ed Quirk in reserve and he was impressive on Saturday. However, the 21-year-old was up against a blindside who continued from where he left off last season. Kimlin has converted from second-row with consummate ease and was excellent again in the six jersey.
5 Hugh Pyle (Rebels) - The stand-out lock from the four franchises playing over the weekend. Pyle finished his try well and also amassed eight go-forwards in Melbourne.
4 Scott Fardy (Brumbies) - The former Western Force second-row forward is forming a decent partnership with Sam Carter at the Brumbies and was the hosts' key line-out man against the Reds. He claimed seven in total and was also a powerful running option.
3 James Slipper (Reds) - When you see a 14 in the tackle column next to a player it usually follows a centre or back-row's name. Not in this case as tighthead Slipper got through a heap of work in Canberra. Whether the captaincy spurred him on or not, Slipper was busy.
2 Ged Robinson (Rebels) - Three hookers caught the eye in Round One as Nathan Charles and Stephen Moore were strong for the Western Force and Brumbies respectively. However, the running threat of Robinson at times caused the men from Perth all kinds of bother.
1 Pek Cowan (Western Force) - Some may disagree with this next comment but we feel credit needs to be paid to how much Cowan has improved over the past year and a half. The 26-year-old led the Force superbly on Friday in the absence of captain Matt Hodgson.