Team of the week: Hat-trick heroes and Super Rugby stars
By Julian Crabtree
Last Updated: 04/04/16 2:54pm
Hat-trick heroes Thomas Waldrom and Ryan Crotty make our team of the week, with 12 different clubs represented.
Damian McKenzie is the only player to retain his place after another outstanding display for the Chiefs, with veterans George Smith and Taufa'ao Filise named in the pack.
15. Damian McKenzie (Chiefs)
Alex Goode and Rob Millar both had blinders in convincing wins for Saracens and Wasps but McKenzie holds onto the full-back position for the second successive week.
According to some pundits in New Zealand, McKenzie could be bigger than Dan Carter if he gets a good run in his favoured position of fly-half. However, he's not doing a bad job at full-back and showed his class against the Brumbies.
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McKenzie is Super Rugby's top try scorer and the top points scorer - while his Joker-esque smile before he kicks is already taken on a cult-like status. The 20-year-old had a hand in two tries against the Brumbies before crossing himself at the death to finish with an outstanding tally of 23 points.
14. Chris Ashton (Saracens)
Jack Nowell may not have scored against Worcester but the Exeter winger had a marvellous game and played a huge part in their win.
However, back from a 10-week ban, Ashton was straight into his finishing best as he claimed a brace against Bath.
The 29-year-old gained 56 metres from his 11 carries which included two line breaks and three offloads, while also making six tackles in defence.
13. Peter Betham (Leicester)
Betham scored the winning try for Leicester and also won a crucial turnover at the death as Gloucester were throwing everything at the Tigers.
The Wallaby made 11 carries for an average of 6.3 metres and beat seven defenders.
12. Ryan Crotty (Crusaders)
It's great to see Manu Tuilagi fit and firing as he scored two tries and created another for Leicester but Crotty was sublime as he cut the Lions defence to shreds and scored a hat-trick.
The All Black beat seven defenders in all and made an average of 10 metres every time he got the ball.
With Charlie Ngatai also tearing it up for the Chiefs, the battle for the All Blacks No 12 jersey should be very interesting indeed.
11. James Lowe (Chiefs)
Lowe scored his first career brace in the Chiefs' win over the Brumbies. In a backline that oozes class, Lowe really stood out and looked dangerous every time he got the ball.
Lowe also has one heck of a boot on him and used it effectively to pin the Brumbies back.
10. Colin Slade (Pau)
Hats off to Johnny Sexton and Danny Cipriani but Slade occupies the fly-half berth after a phenomenal display in Pau's comeback victory at Agen.
The All Black scored two tries in nine minutes late in the second half. He also kicked three conversions and four penalties to finish with a tally of 28 points.
9. Rhys Webb (Ospreys)
The Wales international took full advantage of the solid platform his forwards laid for him with an eye-catching performance against the Dragons.
Webb scored the Ospreys' second try at Rodney Parade and showed plenty of pace around the fringes.
1. Jack McGrath (Leinster)
McGrath backed up his fine Six Nations form with another solid performance as he helped anchor the Leinster scrum.
The loosehead also did more than his fair share around the field, putting in eight tackles and making seven carries.
2. Armand van der Merwe (Lions)
The 'Angry Warthog' made a big impact for the Lions when he came on and helped them claim a losing bonus point against the Crusaders.
Van der Merwe score two tries, the first showcasing his pace as he ran 45 metres down the wing and his second a powerful carry from short range.
He may not be the biggest hooker out there but Van der Merwe was at his explosive best for the Lions.
3. Taufa'ao Filise (Cardiff)
The veteran prop had a good day at the office for Cardiff with some heavy carries and some even heavier tackles.
Filise turns 39 in May but with performances like this, there is plenty of mileage left in him yet!
4. Devin Toner (Leinster)
Toner dominated the lineout for Leinster and put massive pressure on the shaky Munster throw-in.
He worked hard at the breakdown and was always on hand with a clean-out, while also making 14 tackles.
5. Steven Sykes (Kings)
Sykes helped lead the Kings to their first Super Rugby win as they beat the Sunwolves in Port Elizabeth.
The 31-year-old scored the Kings' opening try and led from the front in defence. He was also the go-to man at the lineout, claiming five throws.
6. Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues)
Rhys Rudocck impressed for Leinster but Warburton's performance against the Scarlets was excellent.
One of three opensides in the Blues back row, the Wales skipper dominated at the breakdown, winning two turnovers. He also put in some massive tackles and carried very well.
7. George Smith (Wasps)
Dai Young believes Smith is one of the leading contenders for Premiership player of the season after producing another outstanding display in Wasps' win over Northampton.
The 35-year-old Wallaby displayed his playmaking prowess by using footwork and guile to create two tries for man of the match Rob Miller.
Smith beat four defenders and made one line break as he gained 48 metres from his eight carries, while he topped the tackle charts for Wasps with 11 and won two turnovers.
Sam Cane was excellent for the Chiefs and outplayed David Pocock, but Smith is more than deserving of his place.
8. Thomas Waldrom (Exeter)
Liam Squire produced a fantastic all-round display in the Highlanders' win over the Force but Waldrom edges him out after scoring his second hat-trick of the season.
'Thomas the Tank' took his Premiership tries tally to 13 as Exeter tore Worcester apart. The Kiwi powered over from close range for all three tries, while also making 17 carries and beating three defenders.