Now that the dust has settled in the southern hemisphere, Planet Rugby looks at the players who stole the show in Super Rugby, Round 10
15 Ben Smith (Highlanders): Played a prominent role in the Highlanders’ workmanlike comeback victory. Smith punished the Cheetahs’ defensive hiccup with some tackle-busting runs as the former All Black once again showed the skills required to win him back the black jersey. Israel Dagg and Andre Taylor also impressed, giving Steve Hansen a welcome selection headache as we head closer to the Test series in June.
14 Henry Speight (Brumbies): Took advantage of space out wide and some rough-and-ready Lions defence to cross the whitewash twice for the rampant Brumbies in Johannesburg. In full flight, Speight is arguably the hardest wing in the tournament to stop.
13 Robbie Fruean (Crusaders): Was in a destructive mood against the Waratahs, as the centre bagged two tries and created another. A beast in attack, the in-form - yet surprisingly still uncapped centre - left the Sydneysiders’ finals hopes hanging by a thread thanks to his powerful performance.
12 Pat McCabe (Brumbies): Didn’t put his name on the scoresheet, but you don’t have to score tries to make a big impression. McCabe had the tactical nous to consistently - and unselfishly - feed his strike runners out wide to cause chaos amongst the Lions defenders, displaying the maturity, composure and tenacity that he has become known for.
11 Julian Savea (Hurricanes): The twinkle-toed Savea was a thorn in the Chiefs’ side all night in Hamilton, and took some brilliant defending to keep him from scoring.
10 Johann Goosen (Cheetahs): It was another battle of the fly-halves in Round Ten, with a number of pivots - Aaron Cruden and Peter Grant especially - stepping up to the plate for their respective teams. But we’ve gone with the crocked Cheetahs playmaker, who’s personal haul of 18 points put the hosts on track for a famous win. That was before he left the field injured after scoring his try. Goosen’s early departure, came the Cheetahs’ downfall - proving just how valuable the 19-year-old is.
9 Will Genia (Reds): Before the Wallaby halfback backtracked on his decision to join the Force and sign a new contract with Queensland, Genia was at his signature best against the Blues. The Reds number nine - who has struggled for form this year - managed the game strongly from the base of the scrum, kicking expertly in general play to help the reigning champions to a maiden Eden Park win.
8 Nizaam Carr (Stormers): Those who doubted the Stormers rookie would be able to fill the boots of injured Duane Vermeulen were either horribly mistaken or pleasantly surprised. Carr was clearly revved up for his first Super Rugby start as he clicked into fifth gear and never took his foot off the pedal for 80 minutes.
7 Michael Hooper (Brumbies): A prominent figure in the City of Gold, Hooper did his reputation little harm as the Waratahs-bound flank showed off his mobility, deft footwork and sure hands on attack.
6 Tanerau Latimer (Chiefs): Continually sucked in Hurricanes defenders with some bull-dozing runs, while the recently re-signed Latimer was also instrumental in forcing some crucial turnovers for the Chiefs on their home patch.
5 Jarrad Hoeata (Highlanders): A tower of strength for the southerners in Bloemfontein, Hoeata’s athleticism allows him to double up as a fourth loose forward on the pitch.
4 Dean Mumm (Waratahs): Emptied the tank but didn’t have enough support as the Waratahs left it too late to topple the Crusaders.
3 Owen Franks (Crusaders): Took his chance to impress after watching his brother start the majority of matches this season. Whether or not he gets Todd Blackadder’s vote to keep his place for Sunday’s hit-out against the Reds though remains to be seen. But he certainly wins our vote!
2 Hika Elliot (Chiefs): Left destruction in his wake every time he featured in both attack and defence.
1 Arizona Taumalolo (Chiefs): The Tongan enforcer continued his tryscoring run to the adoration of his many followers after dotting down for the seventh time in 2012 as his quest to secure the most tries in a season continues.
Compiled by Dave Morris