Opinion: New Zealand Super Rugby Team of the Week, Round One

OPINION: The first round of the 2019 Super Rugby season is complete, with some thrilling matches involving the New Zealand teams.

In the first game of the season, the Highlanders overcame red-card controversy to beat the Chiefs 30-27 in Hamilton.

Then the Crusaders held off a second-half fightback from the Blues to win their clash 24-22.

Finally, the Hurricanes, survived a late scare to beat the Waratahs 20-19 in Sydney.

There were some outstanding individual performances in the opening round from the Kiwis and Newshub's John Day named his star New Zealand XV from round one.

15. Ben Smith - Highlanders

The fullback took charge of the game in the second half to lead the 'Landers to victory.

14. Manasa Mataele - Crusaders

 Two tries and impossible to stop one-on-one.

13. Braydon Ennor - Crusaders

The Auckland-born youngster had plenty of line-breaks and a huge impact in his first start at centre.

Braydon Ennor.
Braydon Ennor. Photo credit: Photosport

12. Anton Lienert-Brown - Chiefs

Huge performance to remind everyone he's firmly in the All Blacks midfield picture.

11. Tevita Li - Highlanders

The winger was a handful every time he touched the ball.

10. Orbyn Leger - Chiefs

Playing out of position, he had some impressive plays on attack and looked assured in his first start at 10.

9. Aaron Smith - Highlanders

Twenty minutes off the bench was enough for him to change the game in favour of the Highlanders.

8. Akira Ioane - Blues

Ioane looked like the player we know he can be - scary with the ball in hand.

7. Ardie Savea - Hurricanes

Picked up from where he left off in 2018, with some barnstorming carries.

Hurricanes flanker Ardie Savea.
Hurricanes flanker Ardie Savea. Photo credit: Photosport

6. Tom Robinson - Blues

Spent 10 minutes in the bin, but the red-head more than made up for it with several fiery runs.

5. Scott Barrett - Crusaders

Picked off lineout ball, created turnovers and carried strong in the win over the Blues.

4. Brodie Retallick - Chiefs

Was at his inspirational best, before being injured by a shoulder charge.

3. Tyrel Lomax - Highlanders

A massive force in the tight, but also showed silky skills to set up Shannon Frizell's try.

2. Dane Coles - Hurricanes

Came off the bench and made his presence felt in his first Super Rugby game since the semis in 2017.

1. Joe Moody - Crusaders

Forced to play almost 80 minutes after Tim Perry's injury and was strong in every department.

Team count: Crusaders 4, Highlanders 4, Chiefs 3, Blues 2, Hurricanes 2.

John Day is a Newshub and Magic Talk sports reporter

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