Team of the week: Three Saracens and Super Rugby tryscorers
By Julian Crabtree and Tony Tighe
Last Updated: 25/04/16 5:00pm
There is a seven-six split between the hemispheres in our team of the week, with Saracens leading the way.
Sarries secured a second Champions Cup final appearance in three years at the weekend, while Israel Folau broke the Waratahs' tryscoring record.
Three Saracens are included in the pack while the backline is dominated by Super Rugby stars such as Damian McKenzie and Nemani Nadolo...
15. Damian McKenzie (Chiefs)
The Chiefs starlet returns to our team of the week after a three-week absence but he may not be appearing at full-back for long.
Such have been the quality of McKenzie's performances, there are calls for him to replace Aaron Cruden at fly-half.
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McKenzie was again impressive in the Chiefs' narrow win over the Hurricanes, averaging over eight metres per carry, making two line breaks and beating three defenders.
While Beauden Barrett struggled to judge the Wellington wind, McKenzie was flawless from the tee, converting all four of his side's tries.
14. Christian Wade (Wasps)
Wade created a sensational try for Dan Robson after only 73 seconds in Reading as he carved up the vaunted Sarries defence. Shaun Edwards called it one of the tries of the season.
The Wasps wing also made an excellent run in the second half and finished with a whopping 100 metres from six carries, beating seven defenders.
Joe Rokocoko also deserves a mention for creating Racing's early try against Leicester. He also popped the pass to Johan Goosen for his disallowed try, which was a beauty!
13. Israel Folau (Waratahs)
Switched from full-back to outside centre, Folau became the Waratahs' top tryscorer in Super Rugby history when he bagged one of his team's six tries against the Western Force.
The Wallaby scored his 30th career try during a second-half rout in Perth to overtake Lote Tuqiri's franchise record.
Folau forged a potent midfield partnership with Kurtley Beale and made 13 carries, including one line break.
12. Jamie Roberts (Harlequins)
The Welshman was a big ball carrier in difficult conditions on Friday night. Grenoble's defence was solid but Roberts ran a clever line to open up the scoring for Quins.
Although he gained just 18 metres from 10 carries, Roberts still managed to beat three defenders and he was as ferocious as ever in defence, making a team-high 10 tackles and winning one turnover.
11. Nemani Nadolo (Crusaders)
The powerful Fijian produced another impressive all-round performance as the Crusaders crushed the Brumbies in Canberra.
Nadolo scored the opening try after five minutes but it was his offload to tee up Israel Dagg that really caught the eye. Surrounded by four defenders, the wing somehow managed to get his pass away and put the full-back underneath the posts.
The 28-year-old also won two turnovers and made seven tackles but he could be facing a suspension after being cited for a lifting tackle on Brumbies scrum-half Tomas Cubelli.
10. Tusi Pisi (Sunwolves)
There were plenty of excellent fly-half performances over the weekend, including the usual suspects such as Dan Carter and Beauden Barrett. However, Pisi gets the nod after guiding the Sunwolves to their first ever Super Rugby win.
After being humiliated 92-17 by the Cheetahs last weekend, the Sunwolves bounced back with an historic 36-28 win over the Jaguares.
Pisi kicked 18 points and set up the match-winning try with a deft offload in the final moments.
9. Maxime Machenaud (Racing 92)
The Racing scrum-half marshalled his troops very well and always appeared in control during a physical contest in Nottingham.
Machenaud caught Leicester napping when he burrowed over for his second-minute try. He and half-back partner Dan Carter ran the show for the visitors as they booked a first ever Champions Cup final appearance.
1. Mako Vunipola (Saracens)
Maro Itoje got the man of the match award but Vunipola was superb for Saracens and epitomises everything good about them.
Willing to do all the hard graft in the set-pieces, he really exerted huge pressure on the Wasps front row and dominated the collisions when he carried.
The England loosehead also showed good mobility, great hands and excellent defence too.
2. Codie Taylor (Crusaders)
A good all round performance from Taylor saw him finish the day with two tries as the Crusaders walloped the Brumbies.
Taylor made 46 metres from seven carries and completed six tackles. He had an 85 per cent success rate at the lineout, finding a Crusader with 11 of his 13 throws.
3. Vincent Koch (Stormers)
You don't see many tightheads playing the full 80 minutes these days. What's even rarer is seeing a tighthead race in from 20 metres to score from the final play, stepping the full-back and holding off two tackles.
Koch also put in a shift in the tight against the Reds and was the Stormers' joint-highest tackler with nine, while he was solid in his primary role at the scrum.
4. Maro Itoje (Saracens)
It was another man-of-the-match performance from the England forward, who was excellent against Wasps.
The 21-year-old's defensive lineout work was extraordinary - Wasps hooker Carlo Festuccia will be having nightmares of Itoje leaping in front of him for months to come.
Itoje backed that up by working hard round the field, making 15 tackles and six carries.
5. Luke Charteris (Racing 92)
The Wales lock will be sorely missed by Racing when he departs for Bath this summer. Charteris was outstanding against Leicester and worked his socks off in an all-consuming 80-minute display.
Charteris made 16 tackles - missing none - and won one turnover as Racing edged a tight, physical battle in Nottingham. He was also excellent in the lineout, winning four of his own throws and stealing one of the opposition's.
6. Michael Rhodes (Saracens)
The South African kept his cool when he charged down Jimmy Gopperth's kick to score Saracens' opening try.
He won four lineouts and stole one off Wasps, and was also his usual industrious self around the paddock, hitting rucks and putting in a solid defensive effort.
7. Sam Cane (Chiefs)
A very good performance from the openside, who was on the side of a scrum under immense pressure from the Hurricanes.
Cane put in a masterclass in defence with 19 tackles and one turnover. He was also busy in attack, making a team-high nine carries.
8. Taulupe Faletau (Dragons)
There is not much you can do when your pack is going backwards under the weight of a huge Montpellier pack. However, Faletau never gave up and kept on coming at the French giants.
The Wales No 8 made 15 carries for the Dragons and also put in seven tackles. He showed lovely hands to get Hallam Amos away for his try, and that gets him the nod ahead of Billy Vunipola.