OPINION: The return of Richie Mo'unga was the catalyst for the Crusaders' dominant performance on the road against the Bulls.
The defending champs have lost just one game this year and escaped with a draw against the Sharks last week, both of which they were without the 24-year-old All Blacks pivot.
He was the best player on the pitch at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium, leading the charge for this round's team of the week.
- Super Rugby Team of the Week, Round11
- Super Rugby Team of the Week, Round 10
- Super Rugby Team of the Week, Round Nine
- Super Rugby Team of the Week, Round Eight
- Super Rugby Team of the Week, Round Seven
- Super Rugby Team of the Week, Round Six
- Super Rugby Team of the Week, Round Four
- Super Rugby Team of the Week, Round Three
- Super Rugby Team of the Week, Round Two
- Super Rugby Team of the Week, Round One
John Day's Team of the Week for round 13:
1-Atu Moli (Chiefs): Was a wrecking-ball on attack and made a huge amount of tackles in an impressive 70 minute shift.
2-Liam Coltman (Highlanders): Looked like he suffered a nasty knee injury and not only played on, but got stronger. Didn’t miss a tackle and made several runs. Having his best season.
3-Michael Alaalatoa (Crusaders): Rebounded from a tough night out against the Sharks to not concede any penalties against a big Bulls pack. A huge workrate.
4-Patrick Tuipulotu (Blues): A great offload for Sam Nock’s try and was a big part of the Blues’ dominance up front.
5-Scott Barrett (Crusaders): I swear this man never misses a tackle and his engine never runs dry. His try made sure all three Barretts scored this weekend, but Scott’s still number one in the family power rankings.
6-Jesse Parete (Chiefs): Part of that tireless Chiefs forward pack, he puts his heart and soul into everything he does. A solid target in the lineout and pops up at the right place at the right time.
7-Ardie Savea (Hurricanes): There’s no doubt that Savea is the total package on the open side flank. He’s doing all the tough stuff that you can’t see as well as making those trademark runs.
8-Kieran Read (Crusaders): It’s taken a little while, but the All Blacks captain is back at his best. Had plenty to do off the back of scrum at Loftus and linked up with the backline beautifully.
9-Brad Weber (Chiefs): A sensational 80 minute effort from the stand-in skipper. Two great tries backing up in the middle of the park and should be the All Blacks third halfback at the World Cup.
10-Richie Mo’unga (Crusaders): The Crusaders are a different team when he plays. Mo’unga has all the time in the world and all the tricks a first-five needs to possess, then more.
11-George Bridge (Crusaders): Really starting to come into his own in the last couple of weeks. He ran for over 100 metres in Pretoria and even though he’s been playing on the left-wing, has to be in contention to wear the All Blacks number 14 jersey.
12-Anton Lienert-Brown (Chiefs): He’s the go-to guy in the Chiefs backline and didn’t let them down for the umpteenth time this season. Scored the vital try to get his team back in the game. Did drop the ball cold once just to prove he’s human.
13-Jack Goodhue (Crusaders): Was relatively quiet in a backline that was on fire but did his job with some classic round the bootlace tackles. Provided plenty for the men outside him.
14-Sevu Reece (Crusaders): Not as busy as the other members of the back three, but scored a fantastic hat-trick including a third try where he went flying through the air to snatch a ball he had no rights to grab.
15-David Havili (Crusaders): An absolute rock at the back. Solid under the high ball, a great punt and is always in position. The second-best fullback in the country.