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The Super XV: Australian team of the week, Round 3

Connor Bennett Roar Guru

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


50 Have your say

    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 yet another tough week for the Aussies in what has been a tumultuous start to 2017 for the nation’s five sides, or four on this occasion.

    Although the Rebels had the bye this week, there was still only one victory for the Aussies in Round 3 and that was because the Brumbies and Force played each other and one of them had to get a result.

    The Reds went down to another big Crusaders comeback victory, while the Waratahs continued their poor tour of South Africa with a loss to the Sharks.

    Let’s take a look at who stood out from one to 15 this week.

    1. Ben Alexander (Brumbies)
    Alexander was his usual grinding self around the park against the Force.

    There was nothing spectacular or out of the ordinary from him this week, but he got the job done for the Brumbies front row without critical error and kept a dominant Brumbies scrum walking over the opposition pack in the first half.

    2. Tolu Latu (Waratahs)
    In what was a fairly disappointing effort from the Waratahs to finish off a winless tour of South Africa, there were few bright sparks in their defeat against the Sharks.

    Latu proved to be a strength around the fringes of the ruck for the Tahs and kept the Sharks big men at bay in the scrum. His side fell behind quickly at the start of the game but his power through the middle gave them hope of driving forward.

    3. Tetera Faulkner (Force)
    Revisiting the stats from the weekend shows that there’s not a lot to work with in terms of tight heads from another round of disappointing results for the Aussies.

    Tetera Faulkner makes the No. 3 spot his this week for basically getting through the game relatively mistake free and pushing strong metres over the advantage line. Ala’alatoa was fairly quiet for the Brumbies and Talakai was a little scrappy for the Reds, so Faulkner it is.

    4. Rory Arnold (Brumbies)
    Arnold has been a menace for the Brumbies so far this season in the back row and he was his usual self in their first win of the season over the Force.

    Reliable at lineout time and a strength in the defensive line, Arnold is putting his hand up early in the season for a Wallaby jumper.

    Big Rory Arnold looking big.

    5. Matt Philip (Force)
    Philip makes the side for the second week in a row for many of the same reasons as last week. His presence in the lineout has been a highlight for the Force on the set piece, winning another five throws this week against the Brumbies.

    He was also one of, if not the, hardest ball runners of the game, racking up the most runs for any player across both teams as he continuously broke the advantage line for the visitors.

    6. Hendrik Tui (Reds)
    Similar to Philip in that Tui was a running machine against the Crusaders over the weekend, using his size and pure strength to make multiple tackle busts and keep the pill rolling forward in a tight contest.

    Tui isn’t the tallest or heaviest forward on the park but he plays to his strengths and that is shining through in his performances.

    7. Michael Hooper (Waratahs)
    George Smith put in a typically hardworking performance for the Reds and Chris Alcock broke the Force defensively on a few occasions for the Brumbies, but I’ve gone with Hooper for this weeks team.

    Hooper was all over the place against the Sharks, racking up offloads, tackle busts, turnovers and even a lineout win for the Tahs in a losing effort. It was far from his best but he continuously finds ways to be a damaging presence for any opposition.

    8. Scott Higginbotham (Reds)
    In his first season back with the Reds after a stint in Japan, Higginbotham has had a rocky comeback with the club off the pitch but has proven he still has what it takes to roll over in Super Rugby.

    The big fella was averaging just shy of 10 metres per run for the Reds and a very handy tackle count that helped his side keep the Crusaders at bay for so much of the contest. He should be looking to really hit some form in the coming weeks as he continues to fit back in with the Reds setup.

    9. Joe Powell (Brumbies)
    Powell was the setup man for the Brumbies this week, racking up three try assists from the side’s four tries as well as a line break assist and some offloads to boot. He was servicing everyone and getting results for it.

    Quick and consistent ball from your halfback is all you can ask of a No. 9 and Powell played his role beautifully this week.

    10. Bryce Hegarty (Waratahs)
    There were some good performances this week from the flyhalfs. Quade Cooper hinted at some of his old form while Hawera continues to step up for the Brumbies. In what could be his last game in this role while Foley looks to return, Hegarty put in his strongest performance yet despite the final scoreline.

    Israel Folau got his name on the scoresheet twice and takes all the glory, but it was Hegarty who set him up on both occasions, the first try in particular a beauty thanks to a deft kick over the defensive line that landed perfectly in no mans land for Folau to scoop it up on the way through.

    Hegarty also showed off a willingness to take on the line, making a tackle bust and crossing the advantage line on every single run he made on the day.

    11. James Dargaville (Brumbies)
    Dargaville was a nightmare outside for a struggling Force defence that gave the 24-year-old far too much room to move.

    Line breaks and tackle busts were the order of the day for the winger on his way to averaging double figures for metres per run. He wasn’t able to find the line for the Brumbies but went a long way to keeping them at the right end of the park.

    12. Kyle Godwin (Brumbies)
    Godwin was key for the Brumbies in their second half comeback, even scoring the try that would give them the lead inside the final seven minutes of the game.

    His playmaking skills kept the Brumbies rolling forward after a slow start to the game as he created headaches out wide for the Force. He played a smart running game as well when it was needed, breaking the advantage line one more than one occasion and picking off tired legs.

    13. Samu Kerevi (Reds)
    Kerevi played a peach of a game at outside-centre against the Crusaders and was a defining factor in their dominant opening half that saw them take a handy lead into the break.

    He used nothing but pure strength to score the first try of the game in the 12th minute, breaking the line from 15 metres out and carrying three defenders over the line as he kept those legs pumping despite the defence seemingly having him covered.

    Then 12 minutes later he did all the work to set up the second try for the Reds with a line break just over halfway, drawing in the final line of defence before feeding Eto Nabuli for the five-pointer.

    14. Izaia Perese (Reds)
    In his run on debut for the club, 19-year-old Izaia Perese impressed big time as he showed off a lot of the hype surrounding his entry into the side.

    He has so much upper body strength and pure intensity in his running it’s easy to see how he cracked Quade Cooper’s collarbone at a training session back in 2015. Perese broke tackles on every second run he had, racking up big metres down the wing in an impressive showing for the young man.

    15. Dane Haylett-Petty (Force)
    Fullback was a tough selection this week purely because of a lack of standouts. It was a fairly bland weekend for those in the No. 15 without anyone really playing terribly or playing very well.

    Haylett-Petty was threatening when he ran the ball back from inside his own half and looked to show plenty of aggression in attack, leading his side to the front early in the second half, setting up Chance Peni to take the lead.

    He was also summoned to the ref to be told his brother was being yellow carded inside the final ten minutes, with the numbers disadvantage eventually going against them and conceding late to lose the game. I wonder how their next family dinner will go.

    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 (50)

    • March 13th 2017 @ 7:08am
      concerned supporter said | March 13th 2017 @ 7:08am | ! Report

      Bryce Hegarty,??
      Great chip kick for Folau try, but what about his game management skills?

    • March 13th 2017 @ 7:11am
      Bill said | March 13th 2017 @ 7:11am | ! Report

      How could a single tah make the team?

      • March 13th 2017 @ 8:55am
        Jameswm said | March 13th 2017 @ 8:55am | ! Report

        They weren’t all terrible.

        But Hegarty in the team?

        Mumm and Phipps were downright awful – back to their worst. And I’m starting to wonder if Tom Robertson can make it. I’d start Paddy Ryan – a year ago I wouldn’t believe I could say that, but his scrumming at LH has been acceptable (Robertson’s has not) and he’s useful around the field. He’s improved mid-career – which is unusual but not without precedent.

        • Roar Guru

          March 13th 2017 @ 5:06pm
          jeznez said | March 13th 2017 @ 5:06pm | ! Report

          Yeah – really not buying in to Mario’s experiment to convert Robertson to loosehead. If he is struggling with Tolu and Sekope next to him then he’ll be under the pump when greater tests come.

          He really needs to start showing some improvement or switch back to TH. Ryan to the starting LH spot immediately for mine.

          As far as Ryan improving – he switched from TH to LH and it took him most of the season but he massively improved over the course of it. He’d previously been exclusively a TH so it is less about a mid-career improvement than it is about a positional switch paying dividends.

      • March 13th 2017 @ 12:54pm
        DOUBLES said | March 13th 2017 @ 12:54pm | ! Report

        Hooper is a tremendous 7… Rolls eyes.. Two games and the Tahs concede 94 points and Hooper is our best 7 …

        What did Hooper actually do ???.. Can someone tell me ??? Did he slow down opposition ball or pilfer so opponents couldn’t rack up cricket scores … Nope…. Never has. Never will

        Get outta here !! Hooper the ” MEERKAT ” must not be 7 for Wallabies.. He must not !!!!!..

        • March 13th 2017 @ 6:55pm
          Jameswm said | March 13th 2017 @ 6:55pm | ! Report

          Yep – you know better than the Wallaby players who rated him as our best player for 2 of the last 3 years.

          • March 14th 2017 @ 11:46am
            DOUBLES said | March 14th 2017 @ 11:46am | ! Report

          • March 14th 2017 @ 11:50am
            DOUBLES said | March 14th 2017 @ 11:50am | ! Report

            haha …When you play every game ( bar 2) and more games than anyone else for 3 years you get more votes…. ..I explained this to you about 6 times already mate … …SHEEEEEEEEEESH

    • Roar Guru

      March 13th 2017 @ 7:17am
      Who Needs Melon said | March 13th 2017 @ 7:17am | ! Report

      Think we need to rename this the Stephen Bradbury awards.

    • March 13th 2017 @ 7:34am
      Gewurtz said | March 13th 2017 @ 7:34am | ! Report

      Alongside the book: “Kevin Rudd’s Greatest Achievements”. Just blank pages.

      • March 13th 2017 @ 12:18pm
        The Sheriff said | March 13th 2017 @ 12:18pm | ! Report

        He did say SORRY!

    • March 13th 2017 @ 7:40am
      Karl Knuth said | March 13th 2017 @ 7:40am | ! Report

      I’d have Cooper in for Hegarty and Hunt in for Haylette-Petty.

      Whilst Hegarty did put Folau away twice, Cooper did the same for Kerevi and showed good game management – bar the final 10 minutes. Still reeling at the fact that the Tahs lost to the Sharks that Qld beat 2 weeks ago.

      Hunt was also a standout for his team, his rush defence secured at least two turnovers and did nothing wrong with his running and kicking game. Not outstanding, but a good effort none the less.

      Duncan Paia’aui also showed glimpses of class but not enough to unseat Godwin in my opinion.

      • March 13th 2017 @ 8:56am
        Jameswm said | March 13th 2017 @ 8:56am | ! Report

        “still reeling at the fact that the Tahs lost to the Sharks that Qld beat 2 weeks ago”

        You do realise the difference between playing SA teams in Australia compared to SA, don’t you?

        • March 13th 2017 @ 10:02am
          Karl Knuth said | March 13th 2017 @ 10:02am | ! Report

          Yes James I am well aware, but I expected better. Just as I am not happy that Qld let the Crusaders back into the game, I am not happy that the Tahs failed to even get into the game against the Sharks.

          • March 13th 2017 @ 10:22am
            Jameswm said | March 13th 2017 @ 10:22am | ! Report

            Qld made some bad mistakes. That Cooper error was crucial. Might have been the difference.

            If you take out the two intercept/dropped ball tries, there wasn’t that much between the Tahs and the Shorks. However, that would flatter the Tahs.

            I also thought Kepu deserved the TH spot this week, though Faulkner was OK.

      • Roar Rookie

        March 13th 2017 @ 10:50am
        Dwards said | March 13th 2017 @ 10:50am | ! Report

        I agree with DHP over Hunt. Hunt’s kicking game was no where near what was required.
        Conversely I would take Paia’aui over Godwin so there you go.

        I feel as if Cooper gets judged with a higher bar than the other 10s. Besides, he is working with Frisby so given he has no space, no time and hardly get the ball give Frisby has box kicked it away all day I think his showing is pretty quality.

        • Roar Rookie

          March 13th 2017 @ 12:50pm
          Dave_S said | March 13th 2017 @ 12:50pm | ! Report

          Yes hard to be certain on QC at the moment because of Frisby (for last 3 weeks) and playing injured this week. Passing game def has gone up a level in timing and accuracy. Would not mind seeing his running game re-emerge.

      • Roar Rookie

        March 13th 2017 @ 12:52pm
        Dave_S said | March 13th 2017 @ 12:52pm | ! Report

        Hunt and Duncan P are certainty contributing nicely. Reds could have a very nice backline by midseason if 9 is sorted one way or the other.

    • March 13th 2017 @ 9:11am
      gman said | March 13th 2017 @ 9:11am | ! Report

      Waratahs are rubbish
      The simple things look forced … like they have no capacity to think about the game in front if them
      Since the title won under MC they have been rubbish
      They look like they are at least 30% off anything like competitive ….another long long season for TAH fans ….

      No talk about the lack of results under the coaches in situ ….for how.long ?

      • March 13th 2017 @ 9:23am
        Jameswm said | March 13th 2017 @ 9:23am | ! Report

        The Tahs have been very disappointing in Africa and hardly set the world on fire against the Force.

        I’m not prepared to give up on them for this season yet though. The centres are dynamic but too similar, the back row could be great.

        I’d drop Phipps altogether after that and start Jake Gordon. He’ll make some mistakes, but he will be pushing them forward the whole time.

        I’d also start Skelton and Hanigan if fit. If Hanigan isn’t fit, then Skelton and McDuling. Mumm had one of those soft games where he made constant silly errors. He’s not worth persisting with any more.

        Wells was OK but we’re missing Holloway. Hooper and Dempsey are being left with too much to do.

        Maybe when they come back to Australia the Tahs will put thingts together. They have some good passages of play, but not with any consistency.

        • March 13th 2017 @ 9:32am
          Adsa said | March 13th 2017 @ 9:32am | ! Report

          “Good passages of play, but not with any consistency ”
          I think that sums up all Oz teams James!

          • March 13th 2017 @ 10:22am
            Jameswm said | March 13th 2017 @ 10:22am | ! Report

            Yeah being a Tahs fan, I get good at writing that. Years of practice.

        • March 13th 2017 @ 7:02pm
          Bfc said | March 13th 2017 @ 7:02pm | ! Report

          Was Hooper misquoted (or “mis-spoke”..) or did he really say something along the lines of “the tour went well on the training paddock…”?
          If he was correctly quoted then that gobblygook neatly sums up some of our rugby woes…too much spin/hype, not enough substance….

          • March 13th 2017 @ 7:52pm
            Stuey said | March 13th 2017 @ 7:52pm | ! Report

            Post match interview.
            “We’ve had a successful tour, on the training field” (or something very close to that)

      • March 13th 2017 @ 11:33am
        Paul said | March 13th 2017 @ 11:33am | ! Report


        Maybe that`s why the Wallabies are the most horrendous team we`ve ever seen, as Chieka mostly picks Waratahs …

        Chieka will have these blokes in his 23 this year even if the Waratahs are wooden spooners..Put your house on it.