1. Greg Holmes (Reds) – Had a strong all-round game which was impressive coming up against another big South African scrum. Holmes played out the full 80 minutes after doing the same the week before.
2. Stephen Moore (Brumbies) – Apart from a few wind-blown lineout throws, was once again the standard setter for the Australian hookers. Perhaps not as dominant as last week, albeit against better opposition this week. Saia Faainga gets a ‘mentioned in dispatches’ for his busy 35 minute effort against the Stormers.
3. Guy Shepardson (Brumbies) – Not sure of the stats but he had a prominent role in the game with plenty of close quarter running and some good defensive work around the rucks. The Brumbies scrum looks pretty good this year and his efforts are at the centre of this turn-around.
4. Nathan Sharpe (Force) – Lead the way for the Force with some powerful runs and quality line-out work. Looks as though he has final given up his dream of being an inside centre and is concentrating of doing the hard work in tight.
5. Dean Mumm (‘Tahs) – Not spectacular but who in the ‘Tahs game was? Plays the game at pace and always seems to be involved. The best performed of any of the Australian locks thus far in the competition.
6. Scott Higginbotham (Reds) – This was the best game of his career. Menaced the Stormers inside backs with his dynamic runs and was unlucky not go over for a couple of tries. Has tightened up his defensive work and now looks like a XV a side player rather than a showy 7’s player.
7. David Pocock (Force) – Tough call between him and George Smith – Pocock didn’t throw a no-look flick pass that lead to a try like Smith did – so he gets the nod. Looking forward to him taking on ‘Richie the Cheat’ in round five.
8. Wyclif Palu (‘Tahs) – When nothing was going right for the ‘Tahs, plan B seemed to be to give it to Cliffy for some good old fashioned up-the-jumper running, it’s what he does best and what was needed on horror night like the ‘Tahs had.
9. Josh Valentine (Force) – Not that he was good, but he was the best of the worst. For the second week in a row, there has not been a half-back that has played well which is concerning.
10. Kurtley Beale (‘Tahs) – A moment of brilliance with his cross-field mungo kick for TimTam’s try mixed in with more than a few moments of madness. Good to see him stay involved in the game even when things weren’t going well for him. Last year in those situations, he would have faded out and left it to Sam Two-Dads to clean up.
11. Clyde Rathbone (Brumbies) – Looks as though he is returning to form with some destructive runs and has now managed two games on the trot, which after the last couple of seasons, is a mammoth achievement in itself.
12. Sitrling Mortlock (Brumbies) – Outstanding, simply outstanding.
13. Digby Ioane (Reds) – Called into the centres as a last minute replacement, Diggers showed he might have a future there in years to come evoking memories of Tana Umaga
14. Francis Fainifo (Brumbies) – He continues to impress me with his involvement and his positional play. Went off early in the second half after getting bell rung by Casey Laulala but had still done more than any other of the Australian wingers.
15. Mark Gerrard (Brumbies) – Kicked better than Bruce Lee and indeed it was his tactical kicking in the second half that allowed the Brumbies the field position need to wear down a stoic Crusaders team. The stand-out fullback in the entire competition, bar none.