Super Rugby Aotearoa Team Of The Week Round Nine

Super Rugby Aotearoa Team Of The Week Round Nine

The Crusaders wrapped up the Super Rugby Aotearoa title on Sunday with a 32-22 victory over the Highlanders in Christchurch while the Chiefs finished their campaign without a victory as they went down 31-18 to the Hurricanes.

After another jampacked round of action, we pick our team of the week.

1. Ollie Norris - Chiefs

The young Chiefs' loosehead put in a tiring 70-minute shift against the Hurricanes holding his own against All Black tighthead Tyrel Lomax.
2. Codie Taylor - Crusaders
It's easy to see why the Crusaders' pack continues to dominate with stand-in captain Codie Taylor not only leading from the front but excelling in doing so.
Taylor put in another performance where he racked up the running metres, made plenty of tackles and was all over the pitch without forgetting his core roles of providing a solid set piece.
He made 68 running metres from his six carries and made 10 tackles and a turnover without missing.
3. Mike Alaalatoa - Crusaders
Every top side needs a top tighthead prop and Mike Alaalatoa is exactly that.
He showed that with another strong game for the Super Rugby Aotearoa champions.
He was sturdy on the right-hand side of Codie Taylor and played a hefty 71 minutes with Oli Jager leaving the pitch injured.
4. Sam Whitelock - Crusaders
A workmanlike performance from the All Black second row who has seemingly got better as the season has progressed.
He was effective in providing the Crusaders with a clean platform to attack from with his work at the ruck while being efficient in running the lineout and making his tackles. 
5. Mitchell Brown - Chiefs
Brown took the fight to the Hurricanes pack in the rucks and mauls while working hard around the park.
He cleared rucks, made things difficult at lineout time for the Hurricanes and helped his side maintain a 100% accuracy at the lineout.
6. Shannon Frizell - Highlanders
Shannon Frizell continued his excellent form for the Highlanders against the Crusaders despite his side finishing on the wrong side of the result.
He made a round high of 15 tackles while also lending his weight on attack with eight carries, 46 running metres and scored his fourth try of the competition.
7. Du'Plessis Kirifi - Hurricanes

The busy openside flanker won two turnovers against the Chiefs and edges Dillon Hunt to a place in our team of the week.

He made all of his 12 tackles against the Chiefs and showed off his aggressive ball carries by putting Kaleb Trask on his bottom.

He made 29 running metres from his five carries and topped the tackle count in the Hurricanes win.

8. Whetu Douglas - Crusaders

A close call between Douglas and the Hurricanes' Ardie Savea.
Savea was aggressive, busy and linked up well with his teammates but the Crusaders-man gets the nod with an impactful performance against the Highlanders.

9. Aaron Smith - Highlanders
TJ Perenara and Bryn Hall could have easily made our team of the week after starring roles this weekend but it is Aaron Smith who once again gets the nod.
Hall threw a lovely skip pass out to Sevu Reece in the build-up to Richie Mo'unaga's try but was also robbed of a try by an excellent cover tackle by Josh McKay.

Meanwhile, TJ Perenara had an excellent game playing somewhat of a 9.5 role for the Hurricanes in their win over the Chiefs.
But in the end, Aaron Smith's excellent box kicking, passing and running game gave him the edge as he continues to show that he is still one of the best halfbacks in the game.
Smith made over 40 running metres, assisted a try and never looked off the pace. 
10. Richie Mo'unga - Crusaders
Jackson Garden-Bachop is incredibly unlucky not to make the side after producing arguably his best performance of Super Rugby Aotearoa to date. 

Garden-Bachop picked up two try assists, one for Dane Coles and the other was an excellent crossfield kick to Kobus van Wyk while he also did brilliantly to put Peter Umaga-Jensen in the build-up to the centre's second try.


However, Mo'unga put in another match-winning performance scoring 17 points which included a try, two penalties and a three conversions.

He also picked up a try assist and made over 90 running metres. His opposite number, Josh Ioane also had a superb game beating a round high of 9 defenders making 89 running metres.

11. George Bridge - Crusaders
It was hard not to include George Bridge in our team of the week despite the efforts of Kobus van Wyk and Jona Nareki.
Bridge was directly involved in three of the Crusaders' four tries against the Highlanders. 
He scored two himself, assisted another and was excellent in the air and on defence.
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George Bridge was directly involved in 3 of the Crusaders 4 tries against the Highlanders 🔥 #SuperRugbyAotearoa ☝️ Try Assist ✌️ Tries

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12. Vince Aso - Hurricanes
A tough call to make with all four inside centres having solid games this weekend. 
However, Aso provided an excellent platform for Umaga-Jensen to shine from. 
Aso ran some excellent running lines, linked up well with Umaga-Jensen and kept the Chiefs' guessing throughout the encounter.
13. Peter Umaga-Jensen - Hurricanes

Some direct and hard running mixed with some great support and running lines saw Umaga-Jensen grab a brace in the first half.

He finished the clash with just over 20 running metres but was solid in defence and constantly kept the Chiefs' defence guessing alongside Vince Aso.

14. Sevu Reece - Crusaders
The potent winger finished the clash against the Highlanders without a five pointer for himself but was excellent nonetheless. 
He showed off his pace to almost chase down Jona Nareki who had quite a head start on him while also managing to rack up 104 running metres, beat eight defenders and make two clean breaks.
15.  Jordie Barrett - Hurricanes
A coin flip between the two standout fullbacks from the penultimate round of Super Rugby Aotearoa.
Will Jordan dazzled once again making over 100 running metres and grabbing two try assists. Meanwhile, Jordie Barrett was more efficient than dazzling playing an equally, if not more important role in his side's victory.

He made over 40 running metres and step into the first receiver role brilliantly. He set Vince Aso away in the build-up to Dane Coles' try, drew in three defenders in the build-up to Billy Proctor's try and was solid in the air.

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