The Super XV: Australian team of the week, Round 12

Connor Bennett Roar Guru

By Connor Bennett, Connor Bennett is a Roar Guru & Live Blogger

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    Each week we’ll be looking at the best of the best in Australian rugby and piecing together the top 15 players out of the Aussie Super Rugby sides from the round gone by.

    It was an interesting week for the Aussie sides, with plenty of fight and close games coming out of the round, a rarity this season.

    The Brumbies went down 13-6 at home to the Lions in a very grinding affair, while the Reds and Rebels put on a tense thriller in Melbourne, with the Reds just sneaking home 29-24 thanks to a 79th-minute try.

    The Force rounded out the week with a win over the Jaguares over in Argentina to end the round with two wins for Australian sides.

    1. Toby Smith (Rebels)
    Smith hasn’t been given much of a run for the Rebels this year but he got his chance against the Reds and threw his name into the hat for a permanent loosehead spot in the starting 15.

    He put out an impressive showing in what was a tight game in the scrum, while taking charge with a strong running game through the guts.

    2. Stephen Moore (Reds)
    The old dog that still has some new tricks, Moore has been fighting criticism and age all season but has shown that he still has some juice in the legs.

    He was the beneficiary of the rolling maul late in the first half to bag a try, but he really put in the hard yards defensively against the Rebels and in a tight scrum battle.

    3. Allan Ala’alatoa (Brumbies)
    Rounding out the front row this week is big 23-year-old Ala’alatoa. He didn’t have a blowout of a game, but consistency was on his side against the Lions in what was a very hard outing for the Brumbies.

    4. Rob Simmons (Reds)
    The Wallaby lock has had a fairly undulating season in 2017 and that continued this week against the Rebels but this time for the better.

    His lineout work was strong and he was able to pick up good metres around the fringes of the ruck when the Reds began to shift down that left wing.

    5. Sam Carter (Brumbies)
    The 27-year-old was damaging with ball in hand against the Lions, breaking tackles around the edges as he targeted the smaller backs.

    He still has a lot to do to lock down a Wallabies spot for the upcoming internationals, but these kinds of performances don’t hurt.

    6. Ross Haylett-Petty (Force)
    The big flanker put in a big performance against the Jaguares, piling on the pain when taking on the line, creating chances with the offload and breaking the advantage line in a game where forward momentum and the try line was hard to come by.

    7. George Smith (Reds)
    It was a toss up between Smith and the Rebels’ Will Miller, but I thought that Miller’s performance relies a lot on his try so it’s the veteran who finds himself in the team again this week.

    Smith was his typical self at the breakdown, counter-rucking like there was no tomorrow and throwing himself around a long way above his weight and size. His ability to break initial contact in the tackle is so damaging in keeping the ball moving forward.

    8. Richard Hardwick (Force)
    The 22-year-old, who was actually born in Namibia, had a stellar outing in the Force’s win over the Jaguares in Argentina.

    He racked up the most running metres of anyone in the entire game, breaking more tackles than anyone in the entire game as he caused big headaches for the Argentine’s defence.

    9. Ian Prior (Force)
    Joe Powell was well in the running for the No.9 spot this week after a good showing for the Brumbies, but it’s the rarely talked about Ian Prior that takes pole position this week.

    His break through the line in the second half to set up the Alex Newsome try gave them the lead late in the game and it only added to a big overall performance that saw him set up another line break and rack up the metres himself.

    His running game late in the game was the catalyst for the Force’s two late game-winners, weaving his way around the tired big men.

    10. Ben Volavola (Rebels)
    He couldn’t quite play his side to victory against the Reds but the former Waratah and Crusader certainly did his best to get them there with a classy performance.

    He was a damaging force at the line, either leaving it as late as possible to draw and pass, or throwing the dummy like he was selling a house and finding his way into the backfield.

    While his kicking game still leaves a bit to be desired, his playmaking capabilities were certainly on show this week.

    11. Alex Newsome (Force)
    While Marika Koroibete had a decent game for the Rebels and Eto Nabuli for the Reds in the 11 jumper, it wasn’t quite up to Newsome who created headaches down the sideline for the defence throughout the night.

    His try late in the game off the back of Prior gave his side the lead, but it was just reward for a strong performance on the sting, often finding galloping room and making good ground on the edges.

    12. Bill Meakes (Force)
    It’s a bit harsh leaving Kyle Godwin out of the inside centre spot but Meakes did enough to edge him out.

    Meakes was a machine against the Jaguares, taking nearly twice as many runs as anyone else for the Force and by far the most in the whole game from both sides. He was all over the park and took on the Argentinians at every turn.

    He created opportunities as a playmaker and broke the advantage line as a ball runner.

    13. Samu Kerevi (Reds)
    It’s hard to miss out on the team of the week when you score two and set up a third of your team’s five tries, including crashing over inside the final two minutes to break the 24-all deadlock and win the game.

    No one even got close to the running metres Kerevi piled on to the poor Rebels fringe defence. He made a mountain of line breaks, tackle busts and offloads, putting in one of the attacking performances of the season.

    14. Henry Speight (Brumbies)
    A shining attacking light for the Canberra side in a game where offence was far from the order of the day for either side.

    Thanks to Godwin and Kuridrani on his inside, Speight was able to use his size and speed to capitalise on good ball and notch up the ground coverage. He made a habit of breaking tackles, but he wasn’t quite able to find that five-pointer to get his side into it.

    15. Reece Hodge (Rebels)
    Despite letting in five tries to two, the Rebels still only finished just five points behind, and that was thanks to the boot of Reece Hodge whose goal-kicking kept the Melbourne side in it.

    It wasn’t just that either, his return game in broken play shone through on a few occasions throughout the game as he looked to take on his opposite number, Karmichael Hunt.

    Do you agree with the XV? You’re sporting fans, of course you don’t, so let us know who you think should or shouldn’t be in the side for this week.

    Have Your Say



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    The Crowd Says (91)

    • May 15th 2017 @ 9:36am
      barbz said | May 15th 2017 @ 9:36am | ! Report

      I thought Peter Grant was the best 10 even though he only played there for less than a half.

      I also think Quade was better than Volavola. He even made a few try-saving tackles.

      • Roar Guru

        May 15th 2017 @ 9:45am
        Train Without A Station said | May 15th 2017 @ 9:45am | ! Report

        I didn’t watch the Force game barbz but geez while I didn’t think it was by any means a great performance by Quade on Saturday night, he was well ahead of Volavola.

        The Reds attack was just so much more threatening that the Rebels who only had 3 line breaks all game, and only 2 by their backs.

        I read a Rebels supporter describe his game as the best he’d played for the Rebels and still terrible. I think the Rebels would have been stronger if Debreczeni was fit.

        • May 15th 2017 @ 1:16pm
          The Slow Eater said | May 15th 2017 @ 1:16pm | ! Report

          I was at the game and thought QC had an average performance. Volavola was worse though. His kicking game is rubbish. If he’s the best 10, then the problem is worse than I thought.

          Simmons was quiet and doesn’t deserve to be there either. Both Frisby and Meehan had forgettable games too. Great to see Sean McMahon back from injury. The side really lifts for him

        • May 15th 2017 @ 1:19pm
          Crazy Horse said | May 15th 2017 @ 1:19pm | ! Report

          Do yourself a favour and watch the replay.

          • May 15th 2017 @ 4:54pm
            Train Without A Station said | May 15th 2017 @ 4:54pm | ! Report

            On second watch will the Rebels backline suddenly make some line breaks?

            • Roar Rookie

              May 15th 2017 @ 5:08pm
              piru said | May 15th 2017 @ 5:08pm | ! Report

              I feel reasonably safe in saying Crazy Horse meant watch The Force Jags replay

              • May 15th 2017 @ 8:05pm
                Rebellion said | May 15th 2017 @ 8:05pm | ! Report

                I’ve watched it and thought the Jaguars played atrociously.
                The 5th string Wollongong Wobbegongs would have beaten them they were that poor.
                For the Force, Coleman played well and the halfback and scrum contest was okay but I would hardly call that a victory to crow about.

              • May 15th 2017 @ 10:35pm
                Crazy Horse said | May 15th 2017 @ 10:35pm | ! Report

                The fact is the the Force are the only Australian team to have won in Argentina. That they did it by out scruming essentially the strong Argentine test pack makes it even more meritorious.

              • Roar Rookie

                May 16th 2017 @ 3:43pm
                piru said | May 16th 2017 @ 3:43pm | ! Report

                I’m astonished you have a negative opinion of a Force game

                Astonished

              • May 17th 2017 @ 9:36pm
                ScottD said | May 17th 2017 @ 9:36pm | ! Report

                I was more astonished he had a positive comment about two players 🙂

    • May 15th 2017 @ 9:49am
      MA said | May 15th 2017 @ 9:49am | ! Report

      Thank only stat that Volavola had that was superior to Cooper was the number of times the commentators said his name. Reminded me of watching a MotoGP race where the commentators say Rossi’s name a thousand times even if he is coming 8th.

      • Roar Guru

        May 15th 2017 @ 9:52am
        Train Without A Station said | May 15th 2017 @ 9:52am | ! Report

        Even taking the stats away, how threatening was the Rebels attack?

        Not very much. Naivalu, Koribete, Hodge and English were all out wide to be used, they didn’t see a lot of quality ball in space though.

        • May 15th 2017 @ 10:46am
          Fionn said | May 15th 2017 @ 10:46am | ! Report

          Koroibete is the most overrated winger. I have zero understanding as to why he continues to garner more attention than Naivalu. Naivalu is twice the player Koroibete is.

      • Roar Rookie

        May 15th 2017 @ 10:57am
        piru said | May 15th 2017 @ 10:57am | ! Report

        Thank only stat that Volavola had that was superior to Cooper was the number of times the commentators said his name.

        you mean Clarke didn’t scream “COOPAH” every time the ball got within range of QC?

        That’s a first!

    • Roar Rookie

      May 15th 2017 @ 10:52am
      piru said | May 15th 2017 @ 10:52am | ! Report

      Simmons and Carter must have been immense to hold out Coleman and Arnold

      • Roar Guru

        May 15th 2017 @ 11:57am
        Fionn said | May 15th 2017 @ 11:57am | ! Report

        Simmons was actually very good. He definitely doesn’t have the physicality of either Arnold or Coleman though.

        I think we sometimes fail to appreciate how hard Connor’s job is. I disagree with a few of his selections every week, but he normally does a good job in avoiding showing favouritism and bias.

        • Roar Rookie

          May 15th 2017 @ 12:09pm
          piru said | May 15th 2017 @ 12:09pm | ! Report

          I saw parts of most of the games but only watched Force v Jags in full.

          Their scrum was markedly better with the two first choice locks back – in fact they were a better scrum than the Pumas

          • Roar Guru

            May 15th 2017 @ 12:15pm
            Fionn said | May 15th 2017 @ 12:15pm | ! Report

            I probably would have selected Coleman and Arnold, but i understand the argument for Simmons over one of them. As a Brumbies fan I can’t be too positive about anything we did on the weekend.

            • Roar Guru

              May 15th 2017 @ 12:25pm
              Train Without A Station said | May 15th 2017 @ 12:25pm | ! Report

              Whilst a fan of Arnold I really don’t think he has delivered at international level. He lacks the work rate, or impact to really belong yet. The only game I think he has really delivered was against Wales last season.

              • Roar Pro

                May 15th 2017 @ 1:33pm
                sittingbison said | May 15th 2017 @ 1:33pm | ! Report

                Force Arnold, not Brumbt Arnold

              • May 15th 2017 @ 2:12pm
                Phill1524 said | May 15th 2017 @ 2:12pm | ! Report

                How many games has he played internationally? He’s playing in quite an average side with only a few that look comfortable at that level. He’s certainly better than what was in the side before him

              • May 15th 2017 @ 2:12pm
                Phill1524 said | May 15th 2017 @ 2:12pm | ! Report

                How many games has he played internationally? He’s playing in quite an average side with only a few that look comfortable at that level. He’s certainly better than what was in the side before him

              • Roar Guru

                May 16th 2017 @ 10:16am
                Timbo (L) said | May 16th 2017 @ 10:16am | ! Report

                I have little or no faith in these stats,
                I checked them out a couple of weeks ago for A players missed Tackles. It listed only 1, but there were 2 obvious ones in the highlights reel alone. I counted 6 total for the entire match.
                Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics!

      • May 15th 2017 @ 12:11pm
        Perthstayer said | May 15th 2017 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

        Piru – How good is Meakes straight running. Never drifts, line breaks, big hits, and added bonus of keeping breakdown within easy reach of the pack. Has softened the blow of losing Godwin.

        Fionn – In 2H Jags subbed prop and no. 8, with over 70 Puma caps between. Yet WF scrum still their own. WF back row had never played together before.

        • Roar Guru

          May 15th 2017 @ 12:24pm
          Train Without A Station said | May 15th 2017 @ 12:24pm | ! Report

          Line breaks can barely be included as a plural. He has 2 for the entire season. Physical the man certainly is. Line breaker he seemingly is not though.

          • Roar Rookie

            May 15th 2017 @ 12:32pm
            piru said | May 15th 2017 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

            Mate I don’t know where those stats came from or by what criteria a ‘line break’ is defined.

            If it is what it sounds like, he definitely has more than two!

            • Roar Guru

              May 15th 2017 @ 12:38pm
              Train Without A Station said | May 15th 2017 @ 12:38pm | ! Report

              Opta compiles them.

              Has Kerevi at 13, Paia’aua at 8, English at 5, Hodge at 4, Kuridrani at 4, Horne at 3 and Meakes at 2 (Looking only at Aus centers).

              • May 15th 2017 @ 8:17pm
                ScottD said | May 15th 2017 @ 8:17pm | ! Report

                Well opta is crap ‘cos I’ve seen him make more line breaks than that
                What is their definition of a line break? Presumably making the gain line?

              • May 15th 2017 @ 8:17pm
                ScottD said | May 15th 2017 @ 8:17pm | ! Report

                Well opta is crap ‘cos I’ve seen him make more line breaks than that
                What is their definition of a line break? Presumably making the gain line?

            • Roar Guru

              May 15th 2017 @ 12:40pm
              Train Without A Station said | May 15th 2017 @ 12:40pm | ! Report

              On tackle breaks Kerevi has 12, English 7, Paia’aua 7, Meakes 7 and Inman 6.

              • Roar Rookie

                May 15th 2017 @ 12:49pm
                piru said | May 15th 2017 @ 12:49pm | ! Report

                Is a tackle break not ‘breaking the line’.

                Where is this tackle taking place if not in the defensive line?

              • Roar Guru

                May 15th 2017 @ 12:51pm
                Train Without A Station said | May 15th 2017 @ 12:51pm | ! Report

                No. Otherwise they wouldn’t be compiled separately Piru. A tackle break can occur and you can be immediately tackled by the next defender. You can also break a shooters tackle without breaking the defensive line.

              • Roar Rookie

                May 15th 2017 @ 1:25pm
                piru said | May 15th 2017 @ 1:25pm | ! Report

                You have a very unsuspicious mind TWAS, or perhaps I’m overly suspicious – comes with the job I suppose.

                I’m genuinely surprised they’ve only credited Meakes with 2 linebreaks, but that said his forte is more often straightening the attack and drawing defenders than going around them.

              • May 15th 2017 @ 1:42pm
                Perthstayer said | May 15th 2017 @ 1:42pm | ! Report

                TWAS – You’re busting my tackle!!

                Meakes is better than average at holding onto the ball while making the hard yards when other players are close by or holding onto him.

                Combined with his reliable straight running and big hits this makes him a useful enough player to be selected for the WBs squad where the “country’s best coaches” could be expected to give him that extra 10% he does need to make a really useful asset, this is on teh caveat his style suits Cheika’s “open rugby” game plan.

              • May 15th 2017 @ 5:52pm
                soapit said | May 15th 2017 @ 5:52pm | ! Report

                twas the high line breaks to tackle bust ratio likely has a bit to do with the team mates around him also

              • May 16th 2017 @ 1:32pm
                Daveski said | May 16th 2017 @ 1:32pm | ! Report

                Well that just provess Opta is garbage as I’ve been arguing with you for yonks TWAS re your reliance on stats. So Kerevi has made 13 line breaks but only beaten 12 defenders to do that. Meakes has beaten 7 tacklers but only made 2 line breaks?

                I’m not sure why the dislike for Meakes. He and Kerevi are so superior to every other Aus centre thus far this super rugby season in terms of performance.

                Purely based on form would be Meakes-Kerevi centre pairing followed by Paiaiaua-English

              • Roar Guru

                May 16th 2017 @ 3:06pm
                Train Without A Station said | May 16th 2017 @ 3:06pm | ! Report

                A tackle break is just that, breaking a tackle attempt. This can be done without breaking the defensive line.

                Stats don’t tell the whole story. But they are an objective measure of performance, free from any biases.

                I wouldn’t get too caught up in the variances of stats in a single game between players as a number of factors can influence this and create an anomaly.

                But you can’t be doing good things across an entire season without them being supported by some measurable statistics.

              • May 16th 2017 @ 7:12pm
                ScottD said | May 16th 2017 @ 7:12pm | ! Report

                TWAS, stats are only useful if they are accurate. What everyone apart from you is saying here is that we think the stats are suspect which means they are not any use an an objective (or any other) tool.

          • Roar Rookie

            May 15th 2017 @ 12:32pm
            piru said | May 15th 2017 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

            Double post

        • May 15th 2017 @ 3:20pm
          ScottD said | May 15th 2017 @ 3:20pm | ! Report

          Actually I thought that losing Godwin was good for the Force and him. For him as he should improve under Larkham.
          He doesn’t run straight enough often enough and he just lacks the physicality that Meakes brings and the Force needed that in the middle.
          If you could combine Meakes and Godwin you’d have the perfect 12

    • May 15th 2017 @ 12:18pm
      Neil said | May 15th 2017 @ 12:18pm | ! Report

      Fionn, I think they were talking about Richie rather than Rory 🙂

      • Roar Guru

        May 15th 2017 @ 12:21pm
        Fionn said | May 15th 2017 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

        Oh, I know, mate, I was referring to Carter being selected over Richie Arnold and Coleman, not something I can support after the disappointment of the Lions match :P.

    • May 15th 2017 @ 1:55pm
      Raa said | May 15th 2017 @ 1:55pm | ! Report

      You can’t be serious with Rob simmons and Sam Carter they were no where the whole game respective games especially simmons the two locks for Western force that disrupted the scrum, powerful runs and great line out work are much more deserving Simmons is done.

    • May 15th 2017 @ 2:05pm
      Phill1524 said | May 15th 2017 @ 2:05pm | ! Report

      Blimey, I take it you didn’t watch the drivel served up by the Reds/Rebels? Truly awful match, with only a few notable moments. Volavola was awful and how many penalties did George Smith give away?
      The entire Force pack were immense and to out scrum the Argentinians, who are regarded as one of the best scrummaging sides in world rugby, AND do it in Argentina, takes a whole heap of effort.
      The Force, whilst not being the finished article by a mile, are the only Aussie team making any forward strides. And, to be doing it with half of the team out injured and having to hand debuts to a lot of untested players, is a measure of the current togetherness in the team. Wessels is building a nice little team, and if given the chance, the Force will be a much better outfit once they have had a full year playing together.

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