Super Rugby: Team of the Week

Now that the dust has settled after Round Nine of Super Rugby, we select the players that stood out over the weekend.

The Crusaders and Lions have the most representatives in this week's side, after notching big victories in their respective matches, while there's also place for two Sunwolves, who won their first-ever match in the competition.

Super Rugby Team of the Week: Round 9

15 Israel Dagg (Crusaders): The All Black recently made a comeback – after a lenthy injury lay-off – and has been impressive since returning for the Crusaders. He was safe under the high ball, gained 99 metres on attack, and also scored one of his side's six tries. The Highlanders' Ben Smith misses out.

14 Ruan Combrinck (Lions): The sensational winger was deservedly awarded the Man of the Match award in their thrashing of the Kings on Saturday. Combrinck not only scored two of his side's seven tries against the basement dwellers but also beat five defenders and gained an amazing 153 metres, the most by any player in the round. 

13 Reece Hodge (Rebels): The utility back has been instrumental each week for the Australian Conference leaders and is a key figure in what is turning out to be the Rebels' best Super Rugby season. Hodge made nine carries, beating four defenders with two clean breaks and crossed for two tries. The Chiefs' Seta Tamanivalu misses out

12 Harumichi Tatekawa (Sunwolves): The former Brumbies centre along with his midfield partner Derek Carpenter were instrumental on attack as the men from the Far East secured their first ever Super Rugby victory on Saturday. Tatekawa gained 39 metres with ball in hand from 10 runs with two clean breaks and four defenders beaten. Also did well in defence with 10 hits and edges out the Crusaders' David Havili.

11 Nemani Nadolo (Crusaders): Despite being cited for a dangerous tackle on Brumbies number nine Tomás Cubelli, the 28-year-old Fijian is a must for our side. He was once again in impressive form against the Brumbies, winning 52 metres which included a try, three brilliant offloads, five defenders beaten and one try assist. 

10 Tusi Pisi (Sunwolves): The Samoan fly-half returned after being sidelined due to injury in the match against the Cheetahs, and bounced back in fine style. The playmaker put his midfielders into space, allowing them to break the Jaguares defence with ease and finished with an 18-point haul from three conversions and four penalties. Stormers pivot Jean-Luc du Plessis also impressed.

9 Faf de Klerk (Lions): The nippy number nine continued to impress in the victory over the Kings and made sure the Lions' deadly backline got quality ball from the set pieces and attacking phases. His superb passing game played a big part in helping the men from Johannesburg to score seven tries.

8 Warren Whiteley (Lions): The Lions captain led from the front in their victory over the Kings in Port Elizabeth and scored a deserved try for his efforts. Gained 46 metres on attack, from six runs, with one clean break, four defenders beaten and two offloads. Edges out Crusaders captain Kieran Read.

7 Matt Todd (Crusaders): The All Black delivered a busy shift and was one of their standout performers in their triumph in Canberra. Was a constant threat on attack, gaining 39 metres from four runs, with one clean break, and an assist in Jone Macilai's try. Beats out Chiefs skipper Sam Cane.

6  Jean-Luc du Preez (Sharks): Although he didn't do much on attack, Du Preez was one of his side's standout performers in defence making 14 tackles which proved invaluable in his side's narrow win over the Highlanders in Dunedin. Also got through plenty of work in the rucks and mauls and comes in ahead of Sean McMahon of the Rebels.

5 Lopeti Timani (Rebels): Was at the forefront of the Rebels' forward effort in their home triumph over the Cheetahs. Timani's physicality proved a handful for the Cheetahs and crossed for one of their tries in a one-sided second half. Timani gained 30 metres with ball in hand from 13 runs and also managed an offload.

4 Franco Mostert (Lions): Delivered another no-nonsense performance as the Lions put the Kings to the sword in Port Elizabeth. Mostert did the graft whih allowed his flashier team-mates to shine on attack. Gained 17 metres with three defenders beaten, cleaned out the rucks with great intent and also did his bit in defence with seven hits.

3 Vincent Koch (Stormers): Came into the run-on side on matchday, after Frans Malherbe withdrew, and delivered a superb allround performance against the Reds. Koch impressed with a solid scrummaging display and his general play was superb throughout and showed a superb turn of speed before crossing for a try. Finished with 33 metres in attack from four runs, with two clean breaks and two defenders beaten.

2 Codie Taylor (Crusaders): Delivered an inspired display in his side's victory over the Brumbies and was rewarded with a brace of tries for his efforts. Apart from his try-scoring exploits, he also impressed with accurate throw-ins at the line-outs and gained 46 metres with ball in hand from seven runs, with two clean breaks and one defender beaten. Comes in ahead of James Hanson of the Rebels, Force debutant Harry Scoble and the Lions' Armand van der Merwe.

1 Joe Moody (Crusaders): With Wyatt Crockett also in the Crusaders set-up, Moody faces tough competition for the seven-times champions' number one jersey but he seems to be their first-choice and impressed against the Brumbies with a dominant display in the scrums.