Now that the dust has settled over in the south, we thought it was only right to hand out praise to the stars of Super Rugby, Round 11. Here’s the Planet Rugby XV for week 11 of Super Rugby.
15 Israel Folau (Waratahs): Playing his first game in South Africa, anyone in the capital who didn’t know the rugby league convert’s name certainly won’t forget it after this performance. Injected plenty of pace into the Waratahs back-line, looked dangerous every time he touched the ball and scored a superb try as a result.
14 Henry Speight (Brumbies): Undoubtedly the in-form wing in Australia. Speight bagged two tries for his efforts against the Force, as he continues to turn heads every time he touches the ball out wide.
13 Tim Nanai-Williams (Chiefs): Whether on the wing or in the Chiefs midfield, Nanai-Williams makes defenders pay dearly as the Sharks found out following the centre’s two tries in Hamilton. He missed a couple of tackles, but made up for it with his try-saver on scrum-half Cobus Reinach.
12 Tom Taylor (Crusaders): Responsible for 20 of his team’s 30 points… missing just once from his eight attempts. Taylor kept the Crusaders in the hunt with his prolific goal-kicking, before putting his team ahead and then sealing the deal.
11 Bryan Habana (Stormers): When was the last time you saw a conversion charged down by a player? We couldn’t remember either. But what made Habana’s heroics even more special was that the two points he denied the Hurricanes was the difference between the two sides at full-time.
10 Morne Steyn (Bulls): Landed seven of his nine shots at goal and scored a try in the final minute for a 25-point haul. Oh how the Bulls will miss him when he leaves to go ply his trade in France at the end of the Super Rugby season.
9 Piet van Zyl (Cheetahs): The Cheetahs are blessed with two game-breaking halfbacks at the moment. With Sarel Pretorius warming pine, Van Zyl organised the Cheetahs forwards excellently, added some speed on the ball and generally made himself a nuisance during his time on the pitch against the Kings.
8 Duane Vermeulen (Stormers): Put in a tireless performance and played an integral part of the pack’s dominant showing against the Hurricanes, breaking off the back to set up a crucial try for Gio Aplon. Once again, Vermeulen showed that he has the strength and vision to make the Bok number eight jersey his own.
7 George Smith (Brumbies): Just more proof that the veteran flanker should be one of the first names on Wallabies coach Robbie Deans’ list to face the British and Irish Lions… if he’s not on it already.
6 Derick Minnie (Sharks): Playing for a new team in a foreign country against the tournament’s defending champions must be daunting for any player. But not for Minnie – on loan from the Lions. The flank showed plenty of bite for the Sharks, with his two tries sparking the visitors’ fightback.
5 Brodie Retallick (Chiefs): Of all the Chiefs forwards, the All Blacks lock has been the most consistent this season and Saturday’s outing against the Sharks was no different. Though instead of giving it 100 percent, he gave 110.
4 Culum Retallick (Blues): The Blues enforcer locks in with his cousin in our XV this week after a punishing display against the Reds in Brisbane. The former Chiefs second-rower never stopped giving everything for his new team. Good in the line-outs, and wasn’t shy of getting his jersey dirty on defence.
3 James Slipper (Reds): Scrummed well, carried strongly and didn’t back down from any tackle.
2 Ged Robinson (Rebels): The livewire hooker caused chaos for the Crusaders and at times played like a loose forward as he was almost always first at the breakdown in support. A shame an impressive performance like this against his fellow countrymen wasn’t celebrated with a win.
1 Wiehahn Herbst (Sharks): Yes, another Sharks player gets the nod in a losing cause for the tourists. But besides a rock-solid showing at scrum-time, just take a look at Herbst’s skills in setting up Keegan Daniel’s try which included pace, a dummy and a pin-point pass.