Here it is – the G&GR writers’ Super Rugby team of the week for round 8.
With the Tahs and the Force sitting out this week, the door was opened for a few of the players from the Australian conference’s poorer performing teams to step up and stake a claim for the coveted GaGR Team of the Week jersey. So who made the cut?
1. Scott Sio
Was a rock in the scrum and ran like a man possessed. One GAGR writer had him as Aussie player of the round!
2. Pat Leafa
Ran the ball well and got the Rebels over the gain line on more than a few occasions. Worked hard on attack and defence.
3. Greg Holmes
Was the cornerstone of the Reds 7 man scrum holding their own against the Rebels 8 man scrum for the best part of the match.
4. Blake Enever
Ran hard, tackled hard and well, worked hard all night. If only all of our Aussie locks could play like this all the time.
5. Lopeti Timani
He’s a big man but he seems to play even bigger. He used his big frame to excellent effect in the rucks and carrying the ball.
6. Sean McMahon
He ran well. Didn’t make massive metres but his runs broke tackles and beat defenders giving his team valuable front foot ball on the next phase.
7. Liam Gill
20 Tackles with only one miss. He did the work of two men and was probably the main reason that the Rebels didn’t run away with the game having a one man advantage for 60 mins.
8. Jarrad Butler
I think all three No 8’s were quiet over the weekend. This guy went about his work quietly though and gets through on that alone.
9. Nic White
Had an excellent run almost setting up a try. Was a general around the field, communicated well with his forwards and gave good service to his backs.
10. Jack Debreczeni
A cracking game from the Rebels first five. Made some great breaks and took good options most of the time. Rated amongst many of the fans here as one of the Rebels best on the night.
11. James O’Connor
Being a winger when your team only has 30% of the ball is tough. He had a huge night on defence and gets the call up for that alone.
12. Christian Leali’ifano
Scored 15 of the Brumbies 20 points. Was elusive with the ball in hand and found space for his outside men.
13. Henry Speight
‘A revelation at 13’ was just one of the plaudits for him from the GaGR writers. Although he might have marked himself hard on the night, the rest of us loved what we saw!
14. James Dargaville
Set the tone early by smashing the Cheetahs #7 from the kick off. Was a handful for his opposite man in both attack and defence. Love the look of this guy!
15. Robbie Coleman
As always, punched above his weight. Lethal in space and gutsy in traffic. Hard not to like him.
There were a few guys unlucky to get a call up this week.
David Pocock was into everything. Ran well and seemed to be really enjoying himself which is good for Australian Rugby. Samu Kerevi had a great night at 13 for the Reds in a performance that would’ve seen him picked most weeks. Couldn’t have him in front of Speight though.
The big one though was Sefenaia Naivalu. Missed out due to ineligibility for the Wallabies but his performance on the weekend could not go without a mention. 192 run metres. 192! But wait, that’s not all. He also clocked up 5 clean breaks, 5 defenders beaten, 4 offloads and 2 turnovers. With numbers like that, I hope he hangs around long enough to gain eligibility for the Wallabies!