ON AIR: Radio Sport Breakfast

6AM - 9AM

Super Rugby: New Zealand Team of the Week - Round 14

Author
Nigel Yalden,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 21 May 2019, 4:03PM
The Blues were the only team that won this weekend. (Photo / Getty)
The Blues were the only team that won this weekend. (Photo / Getty)

For the first time since round nine of the 2013 season, the Blues were the only New Zealand franchise of the five to win in a weekend of Super Rugby action.  Against this rarest of backdrops, Radio Sport Rugby Editor Nigel Yalden has selected his New Zealand Form Team of Round 14 of Super Rugby:

1 Alex Hodgman (Blues) and 3 Ofa Tuungafasi (Blues) delivered quality, 80 minute performances in a game that the Blues had to win.  Their collective core roles were excellent as was their industrious effort around the field

2 Liam Coltman (Highlanders) has picked a very good time to hit career best form.  His work rate against the Lions was brilliant as was his accuracy.  He’s making a serious case for Rugby World Cup inclusion

4 As we’ve seen from several young players this season, Isaia Walker-Leaware (Hurricanes) is showing the benefits of getting regular game time at this level.  Against a bunch of tough-as-teak Argentine forwards, who had their tails up, the 22-year-old fronted with and without the ball. 

5 Sam Whitelock (Crusaders) returned from paternity leave and was straight back up to speed in a big way.  In terms of efficiency, Whitelock must be one of the best to play the game and he highlighted that in Cape Town

6 Pita Gus Sowakula (Chiefs) delivered a huge shift amongst some very highly regarded and touted loose forward talent on Saturday night.  Strong with ball in hand; stinging in defence and moved himself around the field to put himself in the right spot at the right time.  Those same words could be used for Ethan Blackadder (Crusaders) as well

7 Matt Todd (Crusaders) was ever present around the ball against the Stormers.  As always, he tackled anything running at him, but it was his link and support play that stood out for me – Forward of the Week

8 The only thing different about Ardie Savea (Hurricanes) this week was the number on his jersey; his odd for New Zealand Super Rugby Player of the Year continue to shorten

9 Aaron Smith (Highlanders) drove his side beautifully in Johannesburg.  The passing was slick from first minute to last; his tactical kicking was the best we’ve seen from him this season and he organised the defence well around ruck and mall.  Looked like a man who knows he has to step up even more with Ben Smith out of action – Back of the Week

10 Josh Ioane (Highlanders) gets the nod as he was more than serviceable but overall it was poor weekend of NZ first five play

11 Jordan Hyland (Highlanders) made the most of his chances against the Lions.  He turned his chances with ball in hand into positive gains every time and was very solid defensively and positionally

12 Anton Lienert-Brown (Chiefs) continues to deliver the goods for his side and further solidify his selection for higher honours later in the year

13 Jack Goodhue (Crusaders) … see Anton Lienert-Brown

14 Wonderful all round performances from Caleb Clarke (Blues) and Sio Tomkinson (Highlanders).  Clarke get the nods for better discipline and accuracy, however Tomkinson’s intent is hard to ignore

15 Matt Faddes (Highlanders) has the unenviable task of replacing “The Man” but he did a very good job in all facets of the game, showing why his departure to Irish club Ulster at the end of the season is a huge blow for the Southern franchise

Selection criteria: Must play for a NZ franchise but does not have to be eligible for All Blacks

NIGEL YALDEN IS RUGBY EDITOR FOR RADIO SPORT & NEWSTALK ZB

ON AIR: Radio Sport Breakfast

6AM - 9AM