Super Rugby round nine team of the week
April 15, 2013
15. Israel Dagg (Crusaders)
Produced a monumental performance against the Force, with 16 runs for nearly 200 run metres and one line-break. Charles Piutau had seemed to have a lock on the jumper this week.
14. Patrick Osborne (Chiefs)
Has a player ever had such an impact in a 20-minute cameo off the bench? Bad luck Henry Speight, who set twitter abuzz with his performance against the Highlanders, and Blues star Frank Halai.
13. Richard Kahui (Chiefs)
Immense in a losing cause, combining brutal defence with strong straight-line running; just what we've come to expect, then.
12. Kyle Godwin (Force)
Continues to press his outside Wallabies claims with another strong performance, claiming hard-fought run metres and typically strong in defence.
11. Rene Ranger (Blues)
Involved in so much that was good about the Blues on Saturday, producing a remarkable performance after returning to the wing from the centres.
Queensland Reds fly-half Quade Cooper hit back at his critics with a fine display © Getty Images
10. Quade Cooper (Reds)
Apparently on the nose with Wallabies coach Robbie Deans, he sparked the Reds' attack against the Chiefs to show why he must start against the British & Irish Lions.
9. Will Genia (Reds)
Produced a half-back masterclass behind a dominant pack to show why he is the No.1 scrum-half in the world right now.
8. Richard Brown (Force)
Inspirational in a physical breakdown against the Crusaders, playing a key role in the shock result at nib Stadium and reminding pundits of his Test credentials ahead of the British & Irish Lions series.
7. Liam Gill (Reds)
Simply outstanding at the breakdown and with ball in hand against the Chiefs, showing the Wallabies might be able to look past George Smith (who was also monumental this week).
6. Steven Luatua (Blues)
In a weekend of outstanding individual performances, his was the best. Did absolutely everything brilliantly against the Hurricanes, and was the key to shutting down the visitors.
5. James Horwill (Reds)
Does so much of the grunt work for the Reds, and his presence on the field inspires team-mates. A colossus against the Chiefs.
4. Rob Simmons (Reds)
Dominated the line-out in Hamilton, giving the Reds a crucial edge against the defending champions.
3. Frans Malherbe (Stormers)
The rock around which the Stormers built their set-piece dominance that laid the foundations for victory in a thunderous clash against the Sharks.
2. Adriaan Strauss (Cheetahs)
Is there a better hooker in the game at the moment? He was fantastic in all aspects against the Bulls, and he will surely claim the Springboks jumper.
1. Ben Franks (Hurricanes)
Strong all round, but how can we pick anyone else after his desperate attempt to haul in and pull down a runaway Frank Halai?
Who impressed you in Super Rugby round nine? Which players made your team of the week? Leave a comment below to join the conversation.
Huw Richards rewinds to 1864 to mark the birth of Welsh rugby's first authentic star - Arthur Gould