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Super Rugby round six team of the week
ESPN Staff
March 25, 2013

15. Ben Smith (Highlanders)

Ben Smith was superb against the Chiefs in Hamilton, in particular his defence. His effort to strip the ball from Aaron Cruden with the Chiefs playmaker set to score a try had to be seen to be believed. Now, if only the Highlanders can find a way to involve him more on attack ...

14. Gio Aplon (Stormers)

Gio Aplon has a whale of a game before he ran into the brick wall known as Fota Auelua, producing seven runs for 115 metres and a try to illuminate any highlights reel: the way he stood up Robbie Coleman, the Brumbies fullback ending on his knees, was the star turn of the weekend.

13. Tim Nanai-Williams (Chiefs)

The Chiefs were understandably lethargic after the flight back from South Africa, but Sonny Bill's cousin retained his quicksilver instincts and scored the early try that ultimately proved crucial in the hosts' tough victory.

12. Kyle Godwin (Force)

The Force centre was both solid in defence, and provided the hosts with most of their attacking thrust in a tight game. One of the few centres r=to shine this week.

11. Drew Mitchell (Waratahs)

The Wallabies flyer produced his best game of the season, a week after being stood down by Michael Cheika. He was involved and dangerous throughout, making 11 runs for 151 and his first try of the campaign. Welcome back, Drew.

10 Riaan Smit (Cheetahs)

Many people thought the Cheetahs would fall in a heap after Johan Goosen suffered a season-ending knee injury in training. Step forward, Riaan Smit; he directed the Cheetahs capably, landed all his goal kicks, and monstered Ben McCalman in the pivotal tackle of the game that created Willie Le Roux's try.

9. Will Genia (Reds)

The Queensland half-back was brilliant for the 65 minutes he was on the field, sparking the Reds' offensive game and also defusing bombs in defence. His presence was a key factor in the improved performance of Quade Cooper, and the Reds noticeably were less effective, if not rudderless, when he left the pitch.

8. Keegan Daniel (Sharks)

You can easily overrate the performance of any of the Sharks against the Rebels, but Daniel produced a powerful all-action effort that claimed one try, 65 metres and two linebreaks.

7. George Smith (Brumbies)

The elder statesman continues to press a firm case that he should replace David Pocock in the Wallabies team, if the Australian Rugby Union wants to fight his contract case. He produced four turnovers in the brutally competitive breakdown in Cape Town, and already Brumbies fans might be asking "David Who ... ".

6. Heinrich Brussow (Cheetahs)

Brussow put on a masterclass in the art of the openside flanker against the Force so we picked two fetchers as he and Smith were clearly the best players of the weekend. But iIf you want a genuine blindside in the team, look no further than Crusaders hat-trick hero George Whitelock.

5. Andries Bekker (Stormers)

Produces another monster performance for the Stormers, strong in all aspects of the game and racking up another linebreak and another two tries. The form second-row of the competition.

4. Hugh Pyle (Rebels)

Scott Higginbotham scored the Rebels' try in Durban, but the second-rower was "the man" for the overmatched visitors, standing tall with a "manful" display in an overmatched pack.

3. Paddy Ryan (Waratahs)

Gains selection perhaps as a cumulative reward for his efforts through the season, but he was key in the grunt work that put the Waratahs in position to overcome the Blues.

2. Kyle Cooper (Sharks)

Heavily involved in all aspects of the Sharks' destruction of the Rebels, he lacked only a try in a complete hooker's performance.

1. Wyatt Crockett (Crusaders)

Highly visible, for a prop, and rumbled over for his second try in as many weeks. Also did all the pig-in-mud stuff you need from a front-rower.


Who would you pick in your team of the week? Leave a comment below to tell us.

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