Team of the week: Stars of Super Rugby shine
By Sky Sports Rugby
Last Updated: 05/03/18 3:40pm
The best of Super Rugby, the Aviva Premiership and Top 14 feature in this week's Team of the week.
15. Arthur Retiere (La Rochelle)
French champions Clermont ended their six-match losing streak with a 21-17 win over La Rochelle, but even in defeat, full-back Retiere once again showed what an exciting talent he is.
Fleet of foot, with a neat turn of step and a deceptive strength that belies his stature, Retiere was electrifying in possession.
14. Jack Maddocks (Melbourne Rebels)
The 21-year-old became the Rebels' first player to score a hat-trick and that return is another achievement of note on the scorecard of someone who is tipped for a big Australian future, but in the fly-half position.
Maddocks' three tries arrived in his side's 37-17 demolition of Sun Wolves in Tokyo, but the somewhat reluctant winger may yet have to vacate the position for the returning Marika Koroibete.
13. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)
In a weekend that saw a host of front-liners take a back seat ahead of round four of the Six Nations, England's Eddie Jones must have been encouraged by the performance of Henry Slade, who was influential in Exeter's 24-12 win over Saracens at Sandy Park.
The centre once again displayed the kind of quality that could add something to England's midfield.
12. Lukhanyo Am (Sharks)
Remi Lamerat was immense with and without the ball in Clermont's Top 14 win over La Rochelle, demonstrating the kind of qualities that could pose a headache when pitted beside the bulk of Mathieu Basteuraud against England this weekend.
However, Lukhanyo Am proved a real handful in Sharks' 24-24 Super Rugby draw with Waratahs, running incisive lines that yielded two crucial tries.
11. Denny Solomona (Sale Sharks)
Hours after Jack Maddocks posted his hat-trick for Rebels in Tokyo, Denny Solomona wrapped-up a superb three-try performance in just 34 minutes of Sale's 34-25 win over Northampton Saints.
Special mention must also be made of Connacht's Matt Healy who ran for two tries in the Irish province's last gasp 26-25 defeat to Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.
10. Joe Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs)
Brother Sam has been stealing the spotlight in recent weeks, but on Sunday it was the turn of the lesser-known Simmonds to shine, when he engineered a match-winning performance that saw him kick 12 points from fly-half in Exeter's clinical 24-12 win over Saracens.
Crusaders' Richie Mo'unga enjoyed a brilliant contest in Crusaders 45-28 win over Stormers that finished with a try and the All Black in need of surgery for a broken jaw. It really is a paper-thin call for this week's fly-half berth.
9. Micky Young (Newcastle Falcons)
Opposite numbers Augustine Pulu (Blues) and Brad Weber (Chiefs) both enjoyed fine contests in their Super Rugby collision that saw Blues run out 27-21 victors.
But Newcastle's ascent in the Aviva Premiership is worthy of a marking and in this respect, Micky Young was pivotal in Falcons' 21-20 success over Gloucester.
The scrum-half created space out of nothing for Ally Hogg to score and later dummied his way through the opposition defence to seal the contest and strengthen Newcastle's place in the top four.
1. Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks)
The Beast was at his scrummaging best in a front row that won three against the head in the Sharks' 24-24 draw with Waratahs in Durban. He also made 10 carries in a dynamic performance.
2. Tom Cruse (Wasps)
Codie Taylor was prominent for Crusaders and similarly, Malcolm Marx for Lions, but on a miserable afternoon in Coventry, Tom Cruse knuckled down to produce a gritty performance.
And it was a showing that yielded two tries - one of which proved the game's match-winning score after he kicked through and dotted down in the final minutes of Wasps' 24-16 win over London Irish.
3. Heinke Van der Merwe (Stade Francais)
Wilco Louw made big carries and finished with a try in Stormers' aforementioned defeat to Crusaders, but Heinke Van der Merwe was arguably Stade's most influential performer in his side's 33-27 defeat to Oyannax.
At scrum time, Oyannax just couldn't live with the powerful tight-head.
4. Scott Barrett (Crusaders)
The tallest of the three Barrett brothers punctuated Crusaders' winning performance with 15 tackles and two of his side's five lineout steals.
5. Sam Whitelock (Crusaders)
It's impossible to break up the Crusaders' second-row partnership such was their collective influence, and while Whitelock matched his partner for line-out steals, the big lock made an astonishing 22 tackles.
6. Hika Elliot (Oyannox)
Signed from Hurricanes for his hooking prowess, the New Zealander featured as a blind-side flanker for Oyannax in their 33-27 win over Stade and scored a try in an industrious and abrasive performance.
7. Michael Wells (Waratahs)
Chiefs captain Sam Cane scored an early second-half try to spark a 14-point turnaround for his side as they continued a remarkable unbeaten streak against the Blues with a 27-21 victory at Eden Park on Friday.
But 15 tackles and four turnovers by Michael Wells kept his side in the contest against Sharks.
8. Akira Ioane (Blues)
The stock of the No 8 continues to rise following his performance against the Chiefs at Eden Park. Ioane ran for 42 metres and again showed a real skill in his ability to beat defenders and finished with his third try in two games.