The Super XV: Australian team of the week, Round 16

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.

    We’re back!

    All five Aussie teams were in action this week after the June international window came to an end and boy did we just jump straight back into the Australian Conference that has been 2017.

    Quade Cooper broke Brumbies hearts with a penalty goal on fulltime to take a messy and error-fuelled 16-15 win for the Reds in Brisbane.

    The Force and the Rebels met in a battle of the pending axe with the Perth-based side scoring four tries to three to take a 31-22 win in their final meeting.

    To cap off the weekend, the Waratahs bled points against the Jaguares, briefly fighting back from a 23-point deficit in the first half to go down by 40 points to 27 in Sydney.

    Here we go, let’s see if we can find 15 players from the weekend to make a decent team.

    1. Pek Cowan (Force)
    A good night for the Force front row up against the Rebels scrum and it was Cowan doing a lot of the hard yards early on with the game in the balance.

    A strong defensive showing from Cowan who bullied his way around the edges of the ruck and close to his own line as the Rebels looked to play in close to the ruck.

    2. Damien Fitzpatrick (Waratahs)
    A tough night in the scrum for the Tahs hooker but we’re looking at the positives in the team of the week and Fitzpatrick was one big positive with ball in hand.

    One of the best runners on the park across both sides against the Jaguares, Fitzpatrick made more running metres than any other Waratah in the starting line up, making tackle busts all over the place as he continued to crack the advantage line all night.

    3. Sekope Kepu (Waratahs)
    Kepu sits in the same boat as Fitzpatrick on this one. An often polarising player for the Waratahs and Wallabies over the past two years, he still has plenty left in the tank and showed that this week in the midst of a disappointing result for his side.

    His running metres and ability to break the first tackle had him moving forward for the most part while he was able to get his big frame in the way of the Jaguares big men time and time again.

    4. and 5. Matt Philip and Adam Coleman (Force)
    The lock pairing of Philip and Coleman caused mass damage against the Rebels on Friday as the forwards took control of the contest and really won the game for the Force.

    While Coleman bagged a key try early in the game, it was Philip in particular who took the bull by the horns and became a workhorse up the guts and through the line out to keep his side rolling.

    Both players broke the line more than once and arguably won the contest for their side.

    6. Lopeti Timani (Rebels)
    Nothing to set the world on fire from Timani this week but consistent enough across the game to best the rest that Australia produced from the No. 6 spot this week.

    His running game with ball in hand was strong in the early stages of the second half once he started coming up against tired legs and played a nice role in the line out for the Rebels.

    7. Colby Fainga’a (Rebels)
    Fainga’a was able to cross the white line in the second half to breathe life into the Rebels comeback but they weren’t able to capitalise.

    His biggest match up for the seven spot this week came across the park from Hardwick at the Force but he was less than reliable when coming up against Fainga’a in attack and defence.

    8. Amanaki Mafi (Rebels)
    This was a tough one leaving out a breakout performance from big Fijian Isireli Naisarani but Mafi continue to be the best of a bad season for the Rebels.

    He’s such a destructive force with ball in hand and is near impossible to be pulled down on the first time of asking. It’s a task to get your hands around those tree trunk legs.

    Only one man made more metres for the Rebels, but we’ll get to that.

    9. Nic Stirzaker (Rebels)
    Well it wasn’t going to be Tuttle or Powell from the heaping pile that was the Reds and Brumbies game. Gordon never felt like he hit top gear and Ruru looked to be outplayed by his opposite number watching the Rebels and Force game live.

    So here we are, left with Stirzaker. That shouldn’t take anything away from his performance though, one that threatened as a playmaker and ball runner for much of the second half.

    A consistent enough performance in ball delivery to cover the basics of the halfback role and he was able to sprinkle in a few extra facets of the game to make himself stand out at No. 9 this week.

    10. Bernard Foley (Waratahs)
    It’s hard to leave someone out who had a hand in all three of his teams tries and nearly got his side back in it despite the best efforts, or lack thereof, of most of his teammates.

    Back to back meat pies early in the second half brought the Tahs back within a point of the much better performing Jaguares, not to mention setting up the first five-pointer for Folau as well.

    The Waratahs' Bernard Foley is tackled by the Crusaders Israel Dagg

    (AAP Image/Daniel Munoz)

    He was the best in a bad situation for the Waratahs on a bleak Saturday night of rugby action.

    11. Marika Koroibete (Rebels)
    The Fijian-born flyer caused big headaches down the left wing for the Force and reaped the rewards with a pair of long-range efforts in the first half.

    Not only was he there to get his name on the scoreboard, but he played a pivotal supporting role in both tries as well, putting just as much into setting them up as he did using the back burners to finish them off.

    The only player in the game to hit three figures for running metres and while his defence still leaves a little to be desired, he is proving to be a very hard man to stop down the edges.

    12. Duncan Paia’aua (Reds)
    A small highlight among a pretty horrid opening 40 minutes of rugby in smoky and damp conditions in Brisbane, Paia’aua was able to play a bit of rugby where most of both teams simply couldn’t.

    Tackle busts and line breaks both came his way as he continually played games with the sliding defence around the fringes and through the inside line from Cooper.

    13. Campbell Magnay (Reds)
    Campbell Magnay is only 20 years old and this is already his third season of Super Rugby. He’s struggled to really consolidate a spot in the side but more performances like this and we could be seeing a lot more of him.

    Much in the same vein as Paia’aua, the Reds were able to really link up across the backline in the second half when all the ball-dropping and penalties began to slow down.

    14. Izaia Perese (Reds)
    The third Red in a row to form the backline and it’s another 20-year-old with a long future ahead of him.

    Perese was strong on the kick return and through broken play, especially when the Reds were really able to open up the Brumbies on the edges in the second half.

    15. Dane Haylett-Petty (Force)
    Not an enjoyable week for the fullbacks in the Australian Conference so I’ve gone with Haylett-Petty for coming out on the winning side and not really doing too much wrong to make me think otherwise.

    He was sharp as an alternate playmaking option through the backline with some of his inside backs struggling in the first half. He ran well on the kick return and was able to exploit some tired legs late in the game.

    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 (95)

    • July 10th 2017 @ 3:47am
      riddler said | July 10th 2017 @ 3:47am | ! Report

      only saw the tahs game unfortunately..

      only foley had an okay game for the tahs..

      the hookers and the looseheads for the other teams must have been extremely ordinary..

      • July 10th 2017 @ 8:52am
        jameswm said | July 10th 2017 @ 8:52am | ! Report

        TPN should have been in, though Fitzpatrick was ok.

        For the Tahs, Gordon was good, Folau did some good things and Hooper is always good. But both locks were ordinary, Robertson not great, Horwitz ordinary, Horne ditto. Possibly the locks lost it for us.

        Mainly though, our defence around the fringes was horrid, with guess who, Dean Mumm the biggest culprit. Who is the Tahs defence coach again?

        • July 10th 2017 @ 12:56pm
          Daveski said | July 10th 2017 @ 12:56pm | ! Report

          Yeah James I thought Gordon had a good game and his service was very solid. Apart from the forward pack being outplayed we really had nothing doing in the centres or on the wings. Hegarty isn’t a winger and Clark had his first ordinary game.

          Horwitz and Horne. Horrible. But I think it’s a win for Horwitz and the Rebels he’s going there ( to hopefully play 10 his natural position ). Better than their current choices and by gee he’s actually Wallaby eligible.

          I would’ve had Ross Haylett Petty and Jermaine Ainsley in the team of the week.

          • Roar Guru

            July 10th 2017 @ 3:20pm
            Timbo (L) said | July 10th 2017 @ 3:20pm | ! Report

            Didn’t see a lot of Rosco either. With Coleman and Philip tearing it up and Carmichael playing 8 by the end of the game, he was the 4th Lock on the field. He probably needed to step up and support Hardwick a bit better, Fainga and Mafi ware a nightmare to manage over the ball both in attack and defense. (Hoops should watch this game to see how traditional back rowers do both the job in close and make an impact out wide).

          • July 11th 2017 @ 11:04am
            Link said | July 11th 2017 @ 11:04am | ! Report

            Horne is the incumbent 13 for the Wallabies,he wasn`t that bad.

        • July 11th 2017 @ 11:02am
          Link said | July 11th 2017 @ 11:02am | ! Report

          That lock Hanigan is Michael Cheikas fIrst choice number 6 for the Wallabies though.

      • Roar Guru

        July 10th 2017 @ 3:13pm
        Timbo (L) said | July 10th 2017 @ 3:13pm | ! Report

        I am on the Fitzpatrick wagon.
        Did some great work – one of the few men on the field that didn’t look like he was taking his spot for granted.
        TPN was invisible. Did no harm, got his job done but there was nothing flashy to write about.

      • Roar Guru

        July 12th 2017 @ 11:56am
        jeznez said | July 12th 2017 @ 11:56am | ! Report

        I only saw the video of Tolu Latu scoring for Sydney Uni.

        He backed up brilliantly well and was fresh enough to put on some super footwork for a try that was obviously late in the game.

        Why wasn’t he in the Tahs squad? This accusation of low fitness appears garbage, his form for the Tahs has been some of the best of a bad lot so just because Cheika says he wants to play Moore over him he gets dropped?

        I don’t get it.

        • July 13th 2017 @ 9:55am
          Adrian Denyer said | July 13th 2017 @ 9:55am | ! Report

          You are totally on the money re Latu.
          There is some background issue going on

    • July 10th 2017 @ 4:40am
      MH01 said | July 10th 2017 @ 4:40am | ! Report

      From the reports I read, 3 waratahs deserved to make the team and no Brumbies ? Given the tahs only did something when facing 13 men…..

      Happy to see no Brumbies and no tahs in the team of the week, though leaking in 40 points…..

      To be honest who cares….Oz rugby is so awful at the moment I just watched the lions v ABs.

      • July 10th 2017 @ 8:53am
        jameswm said | July 10th 2017 @ 8:53am | ! Report

        No Brumbies at all? Didn’t notice that. They nearly won it.

        Who would you have in though?

        • July 10th 2017 @ 10:34am
          The Sheriff said | July 10th 2017 @ 10:34am | ! Report

          ORDINARY is indeed the word to describe all the Tahs. Brumbies will be flogged in their next two matches.

          They are probably the worst team in the Australian conference at the moment.
          The Force will probably give them a beating next weekend.
          How embarrassing for us rusted on Tah supporters!

          • Roar Pro

            July 10th 2017 @ 11:06am
            Crazy Horse said | July 10th 2017 @ 11:06am | ! Report

            Don’t worry. The [Eastern] Australian Rugby Union will send Rohan Hoffman to penalise and card the Force out of the contest like he’s done so many times before with his blatantly anti-Force reffing.

            • Roar Guru

              July 10th 2017 @ 3:39pm
              Timbo (L) said | July 10th 2017 @ 3:39pm | ! Report

              Crazy,

              I was half way through giving you a tune up for your cynicism and then stopped.
              I remembered the Canes, Chiefs and the first Tahs game were all skewed by some pretty average referring decisions.

              • July 10th 2017 @ 10:09pm
                ScottD said | July 10th 2017 @ 10:09pm | ! Report

                And the Crusaders game

              • July 11th 2017 @ 10:34pm
                Bob Coleman said | July 11th 2017 @ 10:34pm | ! Report

                And don’t forget Reds v Tahs with a 16-4 penalty count to the Tahs. The most blatant one-sided reffing seen for some time.

              • July 12th 2017 @ 11:23am
                scottd said | July 12th 2017 @ 11:23am | ! Report

                I don’t recall the Force being in that one mate ? πŸ™‚

              • Roar Guru

                July 12th 2017 @ 4:17pm
                Timbo (L) said | July 12th 2017 @ 4:17pm | ! Report

                I didn’t want to open Pandora’s box on that one but since we are through the looking glass….
                In my opinion, A number of Tah’s wins could have gone the other way with a different ref.

      • July 10th 2017 @ 12:00pm
        Bfc said | July 10th 2017 @ 12:00pm | ! Report

        Gets worse mate as this selection lottery happens at the Youth level as well…the Oz Schoolboys team was picked as well…ACT beat QLD Second XV in the GF and only 2 ACT players made the squad of 25! (QLD1sts beat NSW 1sts in the 3rd place play off…).
        Can’t blame the players, and the National Coaches may certainly have different plans to their State counterparts, but it seems such an anomaly…

    • July 10th 2017 @ 5:17am
      Dan in Devon said | July 10th 2017 @ 5:17am | ! Report

      Reds and Brumbies was awful and Cooper was out of sorts but I will say this- no one can throw an inside ball like Cooper. The inside ball to Perese was a blinder. Can’t help feeling Wallabies have missed a trick with Cooper- Foley is serviceable and dependable but will he be a point of difference? Yes I know he had a good World Cup but I can’t get excited about him. Hunt and Cooper playing together at the wallabies along with Beale would be worth buying a ticket for- didn’t Cheika say he wanted entertaining rugby??

      • Roar Guru

        July 10th 2017 @ 3:43pm
        Timbo (L) said | July 10th 2017 @ 3:43pm | ! Report

        I think Cooper’s defense is a liability and the price is too high to pay for his attacking genius.

        There are 2 parts to a game of rugby and we need players that can do both jobs.

        • July 10th 2017 @ 8:05pm
          Fox Molder said | July 10th 2017 @ 8:05pm | ! Report

          So you do know Foley’s tackle stats this season in Super Rugby are 65%…? Cooper is 72%. So you want a worse defender, passer, and kicker out of hand? Makes sense. Cheika probably has a spot for you in his coaching squad with Nathan ‘worst defensive stats in history’ Grey

          • July 11th 2017 @ 2:35am
            Dan in Devon said | July 11th 2017 @ 2:35am | ! Report

            Well you have beaten me to it- foley’s defence is hardly a reason to put him ahead of Cooper. I realise the issue is a dead horse and Cheika won’t change his mind- but from a NH perspective, the management of Wallaby players leaves a lot to be desired. Pereese is another who looks an outstanding prospect but can we expect him in the Wallaby set up? I would have thought with two years before the RWC these sort of players should be pushed through?

            • July 11th 2017 @ 11:10am
              Link said | July 11th 2017 @ 11:10am | ! Report

              Dan unless you are a young bloke playing for the Waratahs you wont get a start in Cheikas team.

              • July 11th 2017 @ 11:38am
                MitchO said | July 11th 2017 @ 11:38am | ! Report

                Link, I reckon the real problem is that Cheika is not state biased. There is some other bias/problem/issue going on in his head. If it was just that he favours NSW guys it’d be fixable.
                I do appreciate his belief in loyalty.
                I can’t analyse defensive systems worth a damn but the scoreboard is one indicator of whether a defense is good or not – consider however that if the real problem with the Tahs and Wallabies defense is an inability to exit from the 22 then doesn’t that make Grey look bad until they find a 10 with a boot and to use a wing/fullback with a boot.

                What is the tactical reason that Foley kicks penalties for touch instead of DHP during games? Surely if DHP puts the ball out then he is not out of posiition and just in case Foley or someone can cover fullback whilst DHP is taking the kick. Gotta be good for at least an extra 10metres a kick.

        • July 11th 2017 @ 11:08am
          Link said | July 11th 2017 @ 11:08am | ! Report

          Timbo give the Cooper bashing a rest mate..Foley is a worse defender, and you know it.

          • Roar Guru

            July 11th 2017 @ 6:45pm
            Timbo (L) said | July 11th 2017 @ 6:45pm | ! Report

            Don’t get me wrong I don’t like either of them.
            When the Wallaby selection criteria is least worst, there is a serious problem

            I want to see Mack Mason, Jono Lance, Jack Debracszeni, Mike Harris and even Horowitz developed for the spot

            Count the yellow and red cards, Cooper is streets ahead, Bernard is trying to catch up.
            A card is far worse than a missed tackle.

            We do need to see the value he has at second fullback, next to DHP and as long a Folau is playing 15, someone needs to defend the tactical kicks into the backfield.

            If you put Hunt/Hodge/DHP at 15, you might convince me on Cooper

            • July 12th 2017 @ 2:25pm
              Link said | July 12th 2017 @ 2:25pm | ! Report

              Where are these cards you speak of ? Quade had one this year and has had two in his 10 year super rugby career.Move on mate.

              • July 13th 2017 @ 10:49am
                Link said | July 13th 2017 @ 10:49am | ! Report

                You a little hard of reading ? .I said super rugby career..

              • Roar Guru

                July 13th 2017 @ 1:38pm
                Timbo (L) said | July 13th 2017 @ 1:38pm | ! Report

                I concede you point and missed your modifier when I read your post, I credited his international indiscretions from last year to this years SR tally.

                try this:

                fttp://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=11520310

                A guy that played overseas hasn’t been collecting cards in SR. that’s a surprise.
                He certainly has been picking them up in Wallaby games. Further reinforcing my point.

                Perhaps you should do some research before you insist that i “Move on” it makes you look inept.

              • July 14th 2017 @ 10:03am
                Link said | July 14th 2017 @ 10:03am | ! Report

                β€œ I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant ( in a camp headband) and fill him with a terrible resolve.”

    • July 10th 2017 @ 5:47am
      Partyhat said | July 10th 2017 @ 5:47am | ! Report

      Connor, I thought for comedy value I was going to click the link and just find a blank page…………….

    • July 10th 2017 @ 6:19am
      Mark b said | July 10th 2017 @ 6:19am | ! Report

      Who cares about the best 15 aussie players for the week….?
      Seriously.
      5 aussie teams….
      Sufficient talent for only 3 teams.
      So all teams are destined to not win.
      Not exciting. No one likes watching their teams lose consistantly.
      Super rugby is a turn off for aussie fans.

      Its far more interesting to watch league and afl.

      • July 10th 2017 @ 7:23am
        Republican said | July 10th 2017 @ 7:23am | ! Report

        ……concur.
        Union may have an international pedigree as a code but it has never really been embraced here and only devolves further with the passing of time………

      • July 10th 2017 @ 8:56am
        jameswm said | July 10th 2017 @ 8:56am | ! Report

        I don’t agree. There is sufficient talent. They just don’t know what they are doing.

        Coaching is the issue. Look at some of the guys coaching top schools/rep teams – they’re guiding some of the top future talent and some of them are really ordinary coaches.

        Politics – and not rewarding on talent. They wouldn’t stand for it in NZ.

        • Roar Rookie

          July 10th 2017 @ 10:40am
          piru said | July 10th 2017 @ 10:40am | ! Report

          When you look at this side, over half were on losing teams.

          I don’t know what this says exactly, maybe that the good performances are not being put to good use by the coaches?

          • July 11th 2017 @ 2:36am
            Dan in Devon said | July 11th 2017 @ 2:36am | ! Report

            Think you are right there

      • July 10th 2017 @ 11:58am
        markie362 said | July 10th 2017 @ 11:58am | ! Report

        Thn maybe thats what you should do mark b and get off a rugby blog.some positivity would be nice

    • July 10th 2017 @ 7:21am
      Republican said | July 10th 2017 @ 7:21am | ! Report

      The Brumbies will be absolutely smashed in their finals encounter with Chiefs this weekend.

      • July 10th 2017 @ 8:12am
        MH01 said | July 10th 2017 @ 8:12am | ! Report

        Not if we get a French ref….

        • July 10th 2017 @ 10:34pm
          dontcallmeshirley said | July 10th 2017 @ 10:34pm | ! Report

          too soon!

      • Roar Guru

        July 10th 2017 @ 4:05pm
        Timbo (L) said | July 10th 2017 @ 4:05pm | ! Report

        Err,

        It isn’t a finals game.
        But it could be a precursor.

        There are no finals games decided yet.
        Lions and the Saders for the minor premiership.
        Highlanders and Sharks for the bottom 2 Wild cards
        Canes and Chiefs for the top 2
        Brumbies an outside chance of drawing level with the Stormers.

        If games go to form (Crusaders, Chiefs, Lions, Stormers, Highlanders)
        Saders – Sharks
        Lions – Highlanders
        Stormers – Hurricanes
        Brumbies – Chiefs [Replay]

        I have an odd feeling but there is a chance we will see 2 replays going into the quarters.

        Crusaders vs Hurricanes. If the Canes can pull an upset.

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