Luke Robinson: Super Rugby Aotearoa Team of Week, Round One

OPINION: Who caught you eye during rugby's return from COVID-19 lockdown?

Here were some of the standouts, as Super Rugby Aotearoa kicked off over the weekend, with a mild surprise for the No.15 jersey.

1-Ayden Johnstone (Highlanders)

Helped with the rolling maul to flatten the Chiefs' defence, scrummed well and was solid on defence. 

2-Dane Coles (Hurricanes)

Struggled a little at the lineout early on, but starred offensively, making runs, beating defenders and scoring a classy try. 

3-Ofa Tuungafaasi (Blues)

Continued his pre-COVID-19 form, made lots of tackles and scrummed well.

4-Patrick Tuipulotu (Blues)

Was an absolute pest in the lineout, winning turnovers and making big tackles - another great performance from the Blues' leader. 

5-Naitoa Ah Koi (Chiefs)

Came off the bench and was impressive running the ball with one hand. Was hard for the Highlanders to handle. 

6-Dillon Hunt (Highlanders)

A massive defensive performance, made 19 tackles in a gutsy win. 

7-Lachlan Boshier (Chiefs)

Made the most of stricter breakdown rules, won turnovers throughout the game, none more important than a couple of late ones. Gave his all for the whole game, making 11 tackles.

8-Hoskins Sotutu (Blues)

A charging No.8, runs hard, hits hard and can do everything you want off the back of the scrum.  

9-Aaron Smith (Highlanders)

Just beats old mate TJ Perenara, was inspirational in his side's win, went 80 minutes, and didn't stop yelling or delivering crisp ball. 

10-Otere Black (Blues)

Flawless off the tee, took the ball to the line and ran incredibly well, didn't miss a tackle either - Player of the Week for me. 

11-Caleb Clarke (Blues)

Was dynamic on the wing, scored a nice try and linked superbly with Rieko Ioane. Ran for more than 100 metres, sevens has been good to him.  

12-Anton Lienert-Brown (Chiefs)

Was impressive with ball in hand and on defence, scored a try and did everything right - the most reliable man in New Zealand rugby. 

13-Rieko Ioane (Blues)

Was at his ruthless best with ball in hand, linked well with Caleb Clarke on the wing, setting his try up. Offloaded well.

14-Shaun Stevenson (Chiefs)

Beat six defenders, was a handful for the Highlanders to contain. Ran really well and is getting back to his best. 

15-Damian McKenzie (Chiefs)

Beats out Beauden Barrett, who I would've liked to see run the ball a bit more. A fairly quiet week from the fullbacks sees the Chiefs 15 get the nod, he kicked well off the tee too.

Luke Robinson is a Newshub sports reporter. Join us for live updates of Super Rugby Aotearoa next weekend.

Luke Robinson: Super Rugby Aotearoa Team of Week, Round One