Opinion: New Zealand Super Rugby Team of the Week, round six

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.

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.

Rieko Ioane in action.
Rieko Ioane in action. Photo credit: Photosport

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.

Tom Robinson.
Tom Robinson. Photo credit: Photosport

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.

Blues prop Karl Tu'inukuafe.
Blues prop Karl Tu'inukuafe. Photo credit: Photosport

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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