Super Rugby: Team of Round 14
Now that the dust has settled in the southern hemisphere, we thought it was only right to hand out praise to the stars of Super Rugby, Round 14.
Feel free to give us your 15-1 selections below!
Super Rugby Team of Round 13:
15 Robbie Robinson (Chiefs) - It's hotly contested at the back, with Riaan Viljoen, Jesse Mogg and Ben Smith all putting in eye-catching performances. However, having seen his opportunities limited this term, Robinson stepped up to grab his chance against the Hurricanes, with some great attacking from deep and astute kicking in tricky conditions.
14 Peter Betham (Waratahs) - The Waratahs flyer notched up the match-winning score for his side, slicing through the Brumbies line to go over with just six minutes left on the clock. While not always a hub of activity, Betham looks dangerous when given good ball.
13 Rene Ranger (Blues) - Ranger seems to shine regardless of whether or not his team is doing well. A constant menace, with three line breaks and 133 metres made, he certainly made his mark against the Crusaders. Blues centre JJ Englebrecht was another who impressed as part of an exciting partnership with Jan Serfontein.
12 Berrick Barnes (Waratahs) - Tough on Kyle Godwin who put in a good showing in a losing effort, but Barnes' impact turned the game for the Waratahs. After two big performances off the bench, Barnes has really put himself in the frame for a starting spot with the Wallabies.
11 Digby Ioane (Reds) - He was only on the field for 60 minutes and in a side that was playing poorly, but Ioane still managed to put in a lot of graft on the attacking front, largely due to his high work rate.
10 Morne Steyn (Bulls) - It's safe to say Steyn is unlikely to ever set the world alight in the fashion of the likes of Quade Cooper and Dan Carter, but he does a certain job for his team and on Saturday he did it very well. Controlling play and as always retaining great accuracy from the kicking tee.
9 Piet van Zyl (Cheetahs) - Two pieces of brilliance from the scrum-half were pivotal in securing victory for the Cheetahs. A great charge down and collect had opposite number Will Genia looking a tad foolish while his speed onto the ball in a planned move for his second try was impressive. Certainly justifies Naka Drotske's decision to select him ahead of Sarel Pretorius.
8 Kieran Read (Crusaders) - Redefining 'back with a bang', Read was all over the park against the Blues, really making his presence felt. With 14 runs and 12 tackles to his name, the Crusaders skipper made his mark in both attack and defence. Playing in his 100th game, Pierre Spies was good, but not quiet good enough.
7 Michael Hooper (Waratahs) - Another tough position to call with Willem Alberts, George Smith, Matt Todd, Lappies Labuschagne and John Hardie all prominent, but it's the man from Sydney who gets our vote. A try and an assist are signs of strong work in the loose where the flanker was on top form.
6 Liam Messam (Chiefs) - Messam pips Deon Stegmann by a whisker. With Brad Shields and Steven Luatua breathing down his neck for a spot in the All Black starting line-up, Messam - who is the master of consistency - produced a powerful defensive showing that helped put the Chiefs on the front foot.
5 Sam Whitelock (Cursaders) - A tower of strength for the Crusaders. Not only strong at the line-out, Whitelock's abilities going forward and in defence were impressive. Even more so was his willingness to really throw himself about in the hunt for victory.
4 Hugh Pyle (Rebels) - With five tries for the season, Pyle is making a name for himself as a scorer. It is not only his fondness for the whitewash that catches the eye, however, as his work at the line-out and in general play also impresses.
3 Owen Franks (Crusaders) - Ben Afeaki gets a shout out for yet another top-drawer showing but Franks was the key cog in ensuring that the Crusaders pack were thoroughly dominant against the Blues.
2 Adriaan Strauss (Cheetahs) - Another barnstorming display from the Cheetahs hooker. Solid in the set plays and big in the loose, the Cheetahs skipper seems to be getting better and better.
1 Benn Robinson (Waratahs) - Robinson goes about his business in a fashion that isn't always appreciated, but with Tatafu Polota-Nau going off early, Robinson was forced to take charge of the front-row even more than usual and did so well.