Luke Robinson: Super Rugby Aotearoa Team of the Week, Round Eight

OPINION: Sam Cane is proving his doubters wrong, one tackle at a time.

Once again, he was a workhorse on defence, making 20 tackles and winning three turnovers at the breakdown, as the Chiefs lost another Super Rugby Aotearoa heartbreaker against the Crusaders.

Plenty has been said in recent weeks about how he's the wrong choice for All Blacks captain and how he's not even the best No.7 in the country. 

While the first point may be true, why is he being judged so harshly? The All Blacks haven't played a second under his leadership yet.

But there's no doubt in my mind, he's the best openside flanker in the country and he's proving it week after week. 

Here are some others that stood out over the weekend:

1-Karl Tu'inukuafe (Blues) 

Beasted the Highlanders scrum in an impressive display of power and technique. 

2-Codie Taylor (Crusaders)

Threw the ball very well, defended well, an impressive outing from the captain.

3-Ofa Tuungafasi (Blues)

Almost copy-paste when it comes to this guy. Another week in this team, helped demolish the HIghlanders scrum and scored a good try at a vital time too.

4-Sam Whitelock (Crusaders) 

Vintage display on his 150th, a few lineout steals, jumped well and nine massive tackles. Looked very good. 

5-Patrick Tuipulotu (Blues) 

Leading from the front in this Blues side. Another impressive outing, jumped well and didn't miss a tackle. 

Patrick Tuipulotu in action for the Blues
Patrick Tuipulotu in action for the Blues. Photo credit: Photosport

6-Lachlan Boshier (Chiefs)

Half of the best flanker duo in the county - Boshier and Cane at the breakdown are a scary sight.

Would be a crime if he doesn't wear the black jersey this year, although Shannon Frizell was very good again too. 

7-Sam Cane (Chiefs)

Twenty tackles, three breakdown turnovers won in a mammoth effort against the champions. His last two performances have surely shut his doubters up. 

8-Akira Ioane (Blues)

Showing his versatility, able to play No.6 very well, but also stepping back into the No.8 jersey with Sotutu out. Big shift on defence and scored a powerful try. 

9-Finlay Christie (Blues)

A rare appearance into the Team of the Week, he's been solid all season, but really shone this week, scoring two tries and supplying his backs with decent ball all game.

10-Beauden Barrett (Blues)

Just edges out Mo'unga for me this week. His kicking game was sharp, with a nice crossfield kick to Clarke to set up a try.

Looks like a kid on Christmas morning, playing at first-five again. 

Caleb Clarke in action for the Blues
Caleb Clarke in action for the Blues. Photo credit: Photosport

11-Caleb Clarke (Blues)

A monster game from an explosive player. Is he the best winger in NZ at the moment? 

Made close to 100 metres, beat players to set up a try, great game. Scott Gregory was very good too.

12-Jack Goodhue (Crusaders)

A vital cog in the Crusaders juggernaut, beat a couple of defenders and didn't miss a tackle - a very consistent performer.  

13-Fetuli Paea (Crusaders)

First appearance in the team of the week and seems to be a more than capable replacement for Ennor. Three defenders beaten, good support for Goodhue too.

14-Josh McKay (Highlanders)

Was the best of the right wingers this week, starting to become much more accustomed to the No.14 jersey. 

15-Will Jordan (Crusaders)

Shock, Jordan is here again! Another fantastic offensive display, made a small mistake in not passing for a certain try, but other than that, was near flawless.

Ran for more than 100 metres and scored another try. 

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

Luke Robinson: Super Rugby Aotearoa Team of the Week, Round Eight