John Day: New Zealand Super Rugby half-season form XV

OPINION: We've reached the halfway point of the Super Rugby season and some players are putting in a compelling case to be part of the All Blacks squad for the Rugby World Cup.

Newshub's John Day has watched every minute of the Kiwi teams in action through nine rounds and has collated the best-performing players each week.

So if there was an All Blacks team picked today on form, who deserves to be in there?

15-Ben Smith (Highlanders)

An extremely tight call with David Havili, Ben Smith gets the nod. 

There's no-one easier on the eye with ball in hand.  The way he swerves through defences with such ease is always a pleasure to watch and he’s also grown into a brilliant second playmaker as well. 

Has to be in the 15-jersey for the All Blacks.

14-Will Jordan (Crusaders)

Before the season started, there were whispers that this kid was good - now everybody's shouting it from the rooftops.  

The 21-year-old's pace off the mark is exceptional and his try-scoring ability has him top of the pile, with eight from seven outings.

13-Jack Goodhue (Crusaders)

He's only played seven tests for the All Blacks, but you'd swear Goodhue’s been around forever. 

A solid fixture at centre for the 'Saders, with his brutal defence and a left-hand offload that's become as much a trademark as his mullet.

Anton Lienert-Brown in action for the Chiefs
Anton Lienert-Brown in action for the Chiefs. Photo credit: Photosport

12-Anton Lienert-Brown (Chiefs)

The hardest position to pick, with Ma’a Nonu and Ngani Laumape also earning a couple of Team of the Week selections, but the Chiefs midfielder has just been a class above. 

Always a threat with ball in hand and a consistent performer for a team that's had plenty of ups and downs.  Demands selection in the All Blacks midfield mix.

11-Rieko Ioane (Blues)

He took a few weeks to get going, but once he did, wow! 

Four tries against the Sunwolves got him on a roll that he’s still on.  Leads the competition in tries and line-breaks, and is fourth in running metres. 

The best winger in the world.

10-Richie Mo'unga (Crusaders)

Accused of riding passenger with a 'Rolls Royce pack' in the past, Mo'unga's shown he deserves a lot more credit than that. 

He always seems to make the right decision and has an underrated running game. Kicking at just 63 percent this season, but everything else is world class.

9-TJ Perenara (Hurricanes)

There are crisper passers of the ball in New Zealand, but what Perenara lacks in speed, he makes up for in desire. 

He's grown into a leader of men at the Hurricanes and isn't afraid to take charge.

8-Akira Ioane (Blues)

A showdown with Luke Whitelock for this position and you couldn’t really get two more different players. 

We know Ioane can bust the line and break tackles, but an improved work-rate and defence this season, where he's missed just two of his 66 tackles, gets him over the line. 

Akira Ioane in action for the Blues
Akira Ioane in action for the Blues. Photo credit: Photosport

7-Ardie Savea (Hurricanes)

My Most Valuable Player so far. 

Right from week one, Savea’s been an incredible force on the field, whether at openside flanker or number eight.

His leg drive is second-to-none, he leads the competition in ruck pilfers and plays with an unbridled passion for his team.  Destined to make a huge impact at the World Cup.

6-Shannon Frizell (Highlanders)

Leading the charge for the All Blacks blindside position, with teammate Liam Squire yet to play this season.

Close to the line, the 1.95m, 108kg powerhouse is impossible to stop.  Leads the Highlanders with 22 tackle busts and doesn't shirk his defensive responsibilities either.

5-Scott Barrett (Crusaders)

Can call himself the "Best Barrett" right now. 

While several All Blacks were resting, the 25-year-old was taking his game to another level.  Has an engine that never seems to run out of fuel and does every task - from tackling, turnovers, lineout wins and carries - to a world-class standard.

4-Patrick Tuipulotu (Blues)

Needed a big season, if he was to be in the mix for the World Cup and so far, so good. 

The Blues captaincy seems to have taken his game to another level this season.  He's playing with aggression that I've never seen him bring before and it's inspiring those around him.

3-Tyrel Lomax (Highlanders)

The heir apparent for Owen Franks at tighthead. 

He’s got the toughness of rugby league-enforcer father John Lomax, but with some silky skills to boot.  Never takes a backward step at scrum-time.

Tyrel Lomax in action for the Highlanders
Tyrel Lomax in action for the Highlanders. Photo credit: Photosport

2-Dane Coles (Hurricanes)

Hasn't played a lot, but is still the best hooker in the country. 

When he was on the field for the first three weeks, Coles showed that, despite a year away from the game, he’s still got all his old tricks, including that electric pace off the mark. 

Please be fit for the World Cup!

1-Joe Moody (Crusaders)

Unofficially New Zealand’s strongest man and I don’t think anyone would be brave enough to tell him otherwise. 

No-one gets the better of Moody at the scrum or in the collision area, with 39 tackles made this season and no misses.

John Day is a Newshub sports reporter.