John Day: New Zealand Super Rugby Team of the Week, Round Nine

Chiefs halfback Brad Weber
Chiefs halfback Brad Weber Photo credit: Image: Photosport
OPINION: There was four Kiwi teams in action this weekend - two derbies , and two cracking games too.  
The Crusaders started slow against the Highlanders, but found their groove in the second half to come from behind and win. 
In the second match the Chiefs held on to end the Blues run of four straight wins.

Here's how Newshub's John Day rated the top NZ players this week. 

1. Karl Tuinukuafe (Blues): Second season syndrome clearly isn’t affecting big Karl who had some nice touches to go with his strong scrimmaging.

2. Nathan Harris (Chiefs): I’m starting to see why he’s so often included in the All Blacks.  Does his core roles extremely well and doesn’t mind the odd behind the back pass either.

3. Tyrel Lomax (Highlanders): Did a tremendous job against notorious strong man Joe Moody, hard to believe this guy is just 22 years old.

4. Brodie Retallick (Chiefs): His battle with Blues red-head Tom Robinson was an absolute cracker. His combination of unrivalled work-rate and silky skills never ceases to amaze me.

5. Sam Whitelock (Crusaders): After a decent break for the first time in his career, the Crusaders captain is back to his best.  Great signs for the All Blacks.

6. Luke Jacobson (Chiefs): The former NZ under-20s captain is playing like a man possessed. A tackling machine who has the ‘eye of the tiger’.

7. Lachlin Boshier (Chiefs): The Chiefs were brilliant at the breakdown and Boshier was right in the thick of it.  Rewarded for his toil with two tries.

8. Elliot Dixon (Highlanders): Got a rare chance to start and had an absolute belter of a first 40 minutes, looking like the player he was a few seasons ago.

9. Brad Weber (Chiefs): Why has this guy only played one test for the All Blacks? Plays big minutes and never seems to run out of gas.

10. Richie Mo’unga (Crusaders): Love it when he takes the ball to the line which he did several times with great effect against the Landers, throwing some great offloads along the way.

11. Rieko Ioane (Blues): Always seems to find his way to the line no matter how impossible the situation is, leading the competition with eight tries.

12. Anton Lienert-Brown (Chiefs): A world-class performance in front of the All Blacks selectors. Beat several defenders and was solid on defence even though he got steamrolled by Ma’a Nonu, but there’s no shame in that.

13. Jack Goodhue (Crusaders): It was a relatively quiet round for the Kiwi centres, but even when he’s not standing out, Goodhue’s doing all the right things.

14. Sevu Reece (Crusaders): Making every post a winner for his adopted team who just love a Fijian on the wing. That offload for Mitchell Drummond’s try was poetry in motion.

15. Melani Nanai (Blues): Damian McKenzie was on fire before limping off injured early in the second half, so his opposite number gets the nod. Such a danger with ball in hand, ripping off 153 metres from 20 runs.

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