The Crusaders finally clicked into gear to dominate this
week’s form XV.
15-Israel Dagg (Crusaders)
After spending the first couple of weeks of his season as a
victim in other people’s highlight reels (see Frank Halai, Julian
Savea), the star fullback was finally able to have a positive
impact on a game. He ran strongly and got himself involved in a
performance that will please All Blacks fans everywhere.
14-Lelia Masaga (Chiefs)
We got our first real glimpse of the Chiefs’ flyer this season
with his hat-trick against the kings in Port Elizabeth. While his
first two finishes were nothing spectacular, his streak down the
right hand touchline to score his third was fantastic. Had one
glitch for the night with his drop leading to a try for the Kings,
but when you score three of your own it doesn’t matter so much.
13-Tim Nanai-Williams (Chiefs)
The pint-sized Chief continues to be a revelation at centre for
the champions. He looks dangerous every time he touches it and his
combination with first five-eighth Aaron Cruden set up Masaga’s
second try. Dave Rennie will have some thinking to do about his
backline configuration when Richard Kahui finally returns.
12-Ryan Crotty (Crusaders)
The second five-eighth continues to impress and must at least
hold outside thoughts of a black jersey some stage this year. He
regularly threatens opposition defences and tends to be pretty
reliable defensively for a smaller 12.
11-Hosea Gear (Highlanders)
One of the hardest working wingers in the country, Gear
continued to look dangerous against his old team on Friday night.
He ran over Beauden Barrett to score after taking the ball at first
receiver from an attacking scrum. With the All Blacks tipped to be
short a centre or two later in the season, I wouldn’t mind seeing
Gear make the shift at some stage a la Tana Umaga.
10-Dan Carter (Crusaders)
It always seems to take a while for the world’s premier No. 10
to ease his way into the season. Carter looked pretty blase for the
first two games of the year, but burst into action last night as he
helped implement the Crusaders’ frenetic new game plan. It worked
as they ran the Bulls ragged in a convincing win.
9-TJ Perenara (Hurricanes)
After a slow start to the Super Rugby season, Perenara is
starting to get back some of that form that had people talking
about him as an All Blacks contender before he broke his leg last
year. He outplayed his All Black opposite Aaron Smith in all facets
and showed his determination and grit as he got past him to score a
8-Kieran Read (Crusaders)
The Crusaders’ interim captain will no doubt be relieved to have
finally got a win under the belt and looked determined as he led
the pack around the park. It was an inspired forward effort from
the ‘Saders and Read was rewarded for his work with a five
7-Matt Todd (Crusaders)
With the race on to find Richie McCaw’s replacement for the June
Tests, Todd put his hat into the ring with a fine performance in
the seven jersey. In fact, on that Crusaders effort up front, you
almost want to give the entire Crusaders’ pack All Blacks
6-Liam Messam (Chiefs)
The Chiefs co-captain became the first player to turn out in 100
games for his franchise and celebrated it with a trademark effort.
Messam was most notable with ball in hand as he made a number of
powerful runs, evading the Kings’ defence. Was injured late in the
game and the Chiefs will be hopeful of his fitness for their clash
with the Highlanders.
5-Dominic Bird (Crusaders)
It was a breakout performance for the giant Crusaders’ lock
against one of the best lineouts in the world. He contested
strongly in the set piece, ensuring the Bulls’ pack could never
really get a proper roll on.
4-Sam Whitelock (Crusaders)
See above. Whitelocks seemed to be everywhere against the Bull
with all four of them getting on at once against the Bulls and Sam
was exceptional in a completely dominant performance up front.
3-Owen Franks (Crusaders)
As a prop there can’t be too many things more satisfying than
dominating a tough South African pack at scrum time. That’s what
Franks did on Saturday and just edges out the in-form Ben Afeaki in
2-Brayden Mitchell (Highlanders)
Probably the weakest position in New Zealand rugby right now and
it’s hard to find a clear standout anywhere. Mitchell gets the nod
simply for playing on with a broken collar-bone, Norm Hewitt would
be proud. However he’s now set to miss a month as hookers fill up
emergency rooms in hospitals around New Zealand.
1-Ben Franks (Hurricanes)
Who can honestly say they don’t love to see a prop charge 20
metres down the left wing, before dropping the shoulder into the
fullback to score? Ben Franks’ try was nothing short of sensational
as he did his best impression of Julian Savea impersonating Jonah
Lomu. Elsewhere Franks continued to be a force, especially in the
scrum, continuing to look revitalised by his move to the
Article source: http://tvnz.co.nz/rugby-news/nz-super-form-xv-round-five-5372114