OPINION: It feels like the rugby world has been flipped on its head this weekend, with the Blues winning against New Zeeland opposition and the Crusaders losing - period.
It's taken six weeks, but the remarkable has happened - there are no Crusaders in the NZ Team of the Week. They were listless for the most part against the Waratahs, lacking in direction without Richie Mo'unga.
- Super Rugby Team of the Week, Round One
- Super Rugby Team of the Week, Round Two
- Super Rugby Team of the Week, Round Three
- Super Rugby Team of the Week, Round Four
But there have been outstanding performances this weekend, with a couple of young, talented prospects showing the future of New Zealand rugby, as always, is very bright.
15-Damian McKenzie (Chiefs): This guy is definitely a fullback and a brilliant one at that. He popped up everywhere with three try assists and 9/10 from the kicking tee.
14-Wes Goosen (Hurricanes): He didn't see a lot of ball, but when he did, wow! Goosen showed explosive pace off the mark for two very well-taken tries.
13-TJ Faiane (Blues): The rapid rise of this 23-year-old continues. The busiest back on the field, he unleashed his outsides with some great passes.
12-Alex Nankivell (Chiefs): A late call-up to the starting team after ALB pulled out, Nankivell stepped up to the mark, solid on defence and scoring two tries.
11-Rieko Ioane (Blues): The real Rieko is standing up big time. After a relatively slow start, he's exploded with six tries in two games, something worth thumping your chest about.
10-Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes): When his team needed him most, the captain delivered a match-winning try.
9-Jonathan Ruru (Blues): A physical presence while his pack was going backwards early on, Ruru is establishing himself as the Blues' best halfback.
8-Luke Whitelock (Highlanders): He had to make a helluva lot of tackles and didn't make any mistakes, as per usual.
7-Ardie Savea (Hurricanes): When Savea gets the ball, look out. He made several barnstorming runs and hit heaps of rucks to continue his great season.
6-Tom Robinson (Blues): The man they call 'Sauce' (Tom Sauce, get it?) is just how we like our Watties - all over everything.
5-Patrick Tuipulotu (Blues): Off the bench early, he made a massive difference. Tuipulotu was the physical presence the Blues desperately needed and was rewarded with a match-clinching try.
4-Brodie Retallick (Chiefs): Looked like he was getting bogged down by the captaincy, but he produced the type of performance only Retallick can. He was a metre away from a hattrick - collossal.
3-Karl Tu'inukuafe (Blues): The All Blacks loosehead came on at tighthead and the Blues scrum started going forward. A coincidence? We think not.
2-Nathan Harris (Chiefs): We know he's got the skills, but Harris showed at Loftus that he also had the power and could do his core roles well.
1-Ayden Johnstone (Highlanders): He's a powerful scrummager, who the AB selectors will definitely keep an eye on.
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