Super Rugby: Team of Round 7

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistMarch 31, 2014

Super Rugby: Team of Round 7

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    The Sharks took one step closer to the Super Rugby title, capitalising on the Chiefs' 34-34 draw against the Bulls, triumphing over the Waratahs to take a six-point lead at the summit of the standings.

    The quality performances rolled in from across the league, though, with the Hurricanes and Chiefs contributing their share of star displays to the weekend line-up.

    Read on for a compilation of the most impressive individual outings across Round 7 of the Super Rugby campaign.

Front Five

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    1. Tendai Mtawarira, Sharks

    The Sharks' effort in the set piece gave Waratahs one constant threat in need of restraining, with Tendai Mtawarira's performance in the scrum helping to ensure the hosts lost none of their own feeds.

    However, it was in the loose that "The Beast" was more fiendish, adding seven tackles to his season tally and forcing one turnover from a rabid rucking performance. 

     

    2. Stephen Moore, Brumbies

    For the second time in a week, Stephen Moore's active and energetic showing was among the most impressive in the Brumbies' pack, this time in a losing display against the Rebels.

    The hooker's 17 tackles stand as the joint-second-highest amount managed by any visiting player on the day, and Brumbies were solid at the scrum, helped in large by Moore's easy translation to the new laws.

     

    3. Chris King, Highlanders

    Jeff Toomaga-Allen looked as though he could be on track for a blockbuster performance against the Crusaders were it not for an early injury forcing him off after 14 minutes, so the Hurricanes prop is beaten by Chris King to our team of the week.

    King's 14 tackles for the Highlanders weren't good enough to prevent the Blues triumphing in Auckland, but his individual additions can't be denied. 

     

    4. Luke Jones, Rebels

    Making eight tackles and 47 carrying metres against the Brumbies, Luke Jones was more of an attacking force for the Rebels than some of his side's backs. 

     

    5. Brodie Retallick, Chiefs

    Brodie Retallick's claims for maintaining his prominent placement in Steve Hansen's All Blacks team look to be in safe hands with performances like this.

    The Chiefs lock made nine tackles in defence against the Bulls, making a lot of his yardage with ball in hand, too, and taking a couple of throws at the line-out.

Back Row

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    6. Liam Messam, Chiefs

    Liam Messam got to stretch his offensive stride in a fashion that's not always attributed to his name, carrying for 48 metres against the Bulls and once again flying a strong flag for the Chiefs.

    The back-rower's performance paved a strong route for the Chiefs to rally and draw against their Loftus hosts.

     

    7. Siya Kolisi, Stormers

    Again, Siya Kolisi's effort came as part of a losing effort in Queensland, but his talents stood out enough in the bonus-point defeat to warrant his inclusion this week.

    The Stormers lock made 18 tackles in restricting the flow of the Reds' assault, and though he could only average two metres per carry, his work with ball in hand ensured a solid rate of turnover for the visitors.

     

    8. Steven Luatua, Blues

    Steven Luatua's malleability around the Blues' back row was once again on display in the win over the Highlanders, his move to No. 8 not slowing any momentum in quality of his play.

    The All Blacks figure was strong in the loose, making 36 metres from his 11 carries, but also stood tall at the line-out collecting six throws from the set piece and providing a general nuisance to the Highlanders' effort.

Half-Backs

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    9. Bryn Hall, Blues

    Piri Weepu's stroke scare in midweek, per the Irish Times, meant that Bryn Hall took his place in the Blues' starting XV this week, and the franchise will be pleased to have another reliable half-back presence in their midst.

    The 22-year-old took some initiative with the opportunity afforded to him, kicking intelligently from hand to construct pieces of ingenuity for his team-mates, as well as setting up a later score for Ma'a Nonu.

     

    10. Quade Cooper, Reds

    Quade Cooper's one-man army approach of late was once again on display this weekend as the fly-half collected 17 of the 22 points scored by the Reds in their win over the Stormers.

    Kicking reliably from the tee, Cooper's hard running lines resulted in a 64-metre carrying total, second highest of any player on the team, and meant that his individual involvement once again proved vital in Queensland's push up to ninth in the standings.

Centres

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    12. Ma'a Nonu, Blues

    The Blues' 30-12 win over the Highlanders on Saturday was a confident, gradual drive over the opposition that required discipline and the physical fortitude which was well summed up by Ma'a Nonu's outing.

    The midfield mauler made eight tackles and forcing two turnovers, not to mention scoring one try and setting up another.

     

    13. Andrew Horrell, Chiefs

    The Chiefs' last-gasp revival in Pretoria was a staunch announcement from the New Zealand outfit that upheld their credentials as Super Rugby title candidates, with Andrew Horrell providing the spearhead for their cause.

    Horrell made the line breaks that the visitors needed to burst back into the fixture, assisting two Chiefs tries and carrying for 70 metres as his forays forward made up a lot of the ground Dave Rennie's side had to muster.

Back Three

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    11. Julian Savea, Hurricanes

    The Crusaders' Johnny McNicholl is unfortunate to miss out this week, having scored a brace of tries against the very back line figures that took precedence over him both on the pitch and in this week's line-up.

    Julian Savea led the Hurricanes' drive in Canterbury from the beginning, forcing his way through the line before offloading to set up the game's opening try, crossing over later himself and finishing with 83 carrying metres to his name and seven defenders beaten.

     

    14. Alapati Leiua, Hurricanes

    And it's Savea's wing counterpart Alapati Leiua who led the Hurricanes' other flank with such aplomb, beating seven defenders himself and forcing three clean breaks along the way.

    Leiua made 94 carrying metres with ball in hand and contributed six tackles to the Hurricanes cause.

     

    15. Jason Woodward, Rebels

    The high-flying Brumbies succumbed to a resolute Rebels performance that comprised of several standout individual displays, of which Jason Woodward was one.

    Ninety-five metres to his name in the carrying column and a second-half try that ensured the Rebel's scoreline kept on ticking over for a victory, Woodward pitched in with a barnstorming effort at a time when it was most needed.