Super Rugby team of the week: Crusaders lead the way after title-clinching win
Last Updated: 09/08/20 6:10pm
The Crusaders dominate our team of the week after their title-clinching win over the Highlanders in Super Rugby Aotearoa.
Hurricanes, Rebels and Waratahs players also feature, as well as a physically-dominant Highlanders flanker.
15. Jordie Barrett (Hurricanes)
Barrett set the tone early on with a big tackle on Chiefs fly-half Kaleb Trask and his influence grew as the game progressed.
The All Black was excellent under the high ball and threw three perfectly-timed passes to put team-mates through gaps, one of which led to Dane Coles' try.
Barrett also made one linebreak and beat five defenders as the Hurricanes powered to a bonus-point win.
14. Sevu Reece (Crusaders)
No try this week but a fantastic performance nonetheless. Reece made some excellent reads in defence as the Highlanders threatened to run riot and displayed great pace and an eye for a pass when he broke to set up Richie Mo'unga's try.
Reece edges out his opposite number Josh McKay, who made a brilliant try-saving tackle on Bryn Hall.
13. Peter Umaga-Jensen (Hurricanes)
The powerful centre celebrated his contract extension with a two-try display against the Chiefs.
Umaga-Jensen crossed twice in the first half, running a great line for the game's opening try before combining down the left with Wes Goosen for his second.
12. Jack Goodhue (Crusaders)
Goodhue was stopped in his tracks by a shuddering tackle from All Blacks team-mate Shannon Frizell but that didn't deter him.
The centre worked his socks off in both attack and defence and it was his lovely step that created space for George Smith's try on the hour mark, sucking in three defenders before throwing a trademark offload.
11. George Bridge (Crusaders)
Marika Koroibete impressed for the Rebels but Bridge takes the left wing position on account of his two-try showing.
Both tries were put on a plate by Will Jordan but Bridge has the knack of always being in the right place at the right time.
10. Richie Mo'unga (Crusaders)
Mo'unga hangs onto the No 10 shirt after yet another man-of-the-match display.
The All Black bamboozled defenders with some nifty footwork and no-look passes, while he also kicked intelligently and found some excellent touch-finders.
Mo'unga scored the opening try, made 88 metres from 10 runs and beat two defenders as he finished with 17 points.
9. Jake Gordon (Waratahs)
Gordon grabbed a hat-trick as the Tahs finally gave their fans something to cheer about with a landslide win over the Reds.
The scrum-half ran a nice support line for his first try and caught the Reds napping with a quick tap penalty for his second.
His third was the pick of the bunch, though, Gordon making the break and playing a one-two with half-back partner Will Harrison before dotting down.
1. Tom Robertson (Waratahs)
The loosehead formed part of a dominant Waratahs pack that won six scrum penalties against the hapless Reds.
2. Codie Taylor (Crusaders)
Taylor enjoyed a great battle against opposite number Ash Dixon in Christchurch and it brought out the best in the Crusaders captain.
Solid in the set-piece, Taylor found a team-mate with all seven of his lineout throws and thrived in the loose. He made 68 metres from nine carries, which included two linebreaks, 10 tackles and a defensive turnover.
3. Michael Alaalatoa (Crusaders)
You don't many tightheads playing much longer than 50 minutes these days but Alaalatoa was on the pitch for all but nine minutes of the Crusaders' title-clinching win.
The Samoa international was called back into the fray after replacement prop Oli Jager copped a high shot from Sio Tomkinson and couldn't continue. He helped ensure the Crusaders backs worked off stable scrum ball and made eight tackles in defence.
4. Matt Philip (Rebels)
Set-piece ball was crucial given the wet conditions in Sydney on Friday night, and Philip delivered in this area.
The go-to man at the lineout, Philip won six throws and two stole two more.
Three missed tackles will frustrate the 26-year-old but he redeemed himself in attack, making a lung-busting 14 carries.
Philip takes the No 4 shirt ahead of Pari Pari Parkinson, who impressed against the Crusaders before suffering a leg injury.
5. Scott Scrafton (Hurricanes)
Scrafton frustrated the Chiefs with his work at the breakdown and also impressed in defence, where he made nine tackles and missed none.
6. Shannon Frizell (Highlanders)
Frizell crashed over for the opening try and continued that physical approach for the remainder of the contest.
We already mentioned the blindside's big hit on Jack Goodue, which was one of a team-leading 15 tackles. Frizell also carried with intent, making 46 metres and beating three defenders from 10 carries, and was a useful option at lineout time.
7. Tom Christie (Crusaders)
Christie kept his head while his team-mates were losing theirs during the opening quarter and made a vital turnover on his own tryline that prevented the Crusaders from going 14-0 behind.
He was rock-solid in defence throughout, making a team-high 13 tackles, earning him the openside spot ahead of Du'Plessis Kirifi.
8. Isa Naisarani (Rebels)
The Wallabies No 8 produced a commanding display as the Rebels' ended the Brumbies unbeaten start.
Played in testing conditions, Naisarani fronted up with a team-leading 16 carries, making 66 metres, while his offloading game kept the Brumbies on their toes.
The 25-year-old also chipped in with 10 tackles.