Super Rugby: XV of the Week
Now that the dust has settled in the southern hemisphere, SARugby.com thought it only right to praise to the star men of Super Rugby, Round 9.
Without further ado, here comes our offering - be sure to send in your own 15-1 team selections
15 Charles Piutau (Blues) - Israel Dagg was back with a bang as he racked up 190 metres but we couldn't ignore Piutau. Credit to the Blues that they have bounced back from two defeats with two wins before their bye and Piutau was excellent, hitting nice lines and getting a try to his name.
14 Henry Speight (Brumbies) - Scored inside two minutes for the side from Canberra, taking his season tally up to five. Speight was always a threat to the Highlanders and is forming a nice back-three with Jesse Mogg and Joe Tomane. Mentions for Frank Halai and Ed Stubbs.
13 Juan de Jongh (Stormers) - It was poetry in motion when De Jongh crossed after being put through by centre partner Jean de Villiers. He did not stop there though as the number thirteen continued to be solid against the Sharks. Richard Kahui was next in line after a fine shift on Saturday.
12 Andries Strauss (Kings) - Our twelve jersey was arguably the hottest property this week as the game in Waikato saw both Bundee Aki and Ben Tapuai go well while Kyle Godwin racked up sixteen tackles in victory over the Crusaders. Jean de Villiers and Jan Serfontein were also strongbut for leading the Kings to victory, nineteen-tackle Strauss gets in.
11 Rod Davies (Reds) - The standout eleven for sure after he caused the Chiefs all kinds of problems with ball in hand. 159 metres for him as he played a key role in the Reds' victory.
10 Quade Cooper (Reds) - Firstly a mention for Blues Mr Cool Chris Noakes and also Kings playmaker Demetri Catrakilis who, like he did in the Currie Cup final for Western Province, landed a late drop-goal for victory. But Cooper - whether wanting to or not - sent a message to Wallaby coach Robbie Deans that he will not be downhearted and let his form suffer after his recent squad snub. Cooper scored sixteen points, with a try also recorded in Waikato.
9 Cobus Reinach (Sharks) - Now this was a tough call on Kings scrum-half Shaun Venter after that virtuoso try at the Rebels. However, Reinach was superb for the Sharks, with his carry up the middle worthy of a number eight. Jano Vermaak and Piri Weepu also shone.
8 Richard Brown (Western Force) - Was a rock against the Crusaders alongside Matt Hodgson. Peter Saili was also good for the Blues against the Hurricanes while Red Jake Schatz stoop up against the Chiefs. However, Brown played a major role for the Force.
7 George Smith (Brumbies) - This one was out of the two Australians leading the race to step in for David Pocock when the Lions arrive. Of course we wait on whether Smith will become eligible but Gill is currently leading the race, despite us plumping for the veteran.
6 Steven Luatua (Blues) - His stock continues to rise in New Zealand. So often a carrying option but it was a try-saving tackle on Reynold Lee-Lo that made us stand up and applaud. Wimpie van der Walt was another to play well but it was always going to be Luatua.
5 James Horwill (Reds) - A true captain's showing from the Wallaby. Ticked all the boxes.
4 Luke Romano (Crusaders) - One try but he could have gotten three at nib Stadium.
3 Frans Malherbe (Stormers) - The home side's pack got the better of their counterparts at scrum-time, winning penalties on a few occasions as they regularly had the Sharks back-pedaling. Malherbe was a big part of that as his journey toward a Bok shirt gathers pace.
2 James Parsons (Blues) - A bit of a tough one here as both James Hanson and Stephen Moore put their hand up for their respective Aussie outfit. Moore made 20 tackles while Hanson was strong in red. But for his good lines and set-piece, Parsons gets the nod.
1 Ben Franks (Hurricanes) - Despite being on the losing side, Franks was immense for the 'Canes with a highlight being chasing down Frank Halai, yes Frank Halai, on the wing to take him down. Tom McCartney also deserves a mention for his try-scoring effort while Stormers loosehead Steven Kitshoff was solid in getting the better of Jannie du Plessis.