Team of the Tournament: The Champs dominate

Mon, 30 Oct 2017 13:59
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NPC SPOTLIGHT: After action-packed National Provincial Cup, it comes as no surprise that Canterbury dominate rugby365's team of the tournament selections. Columnist Richard Neal reports.

Canterbury secured their ninth title in 10 years and their 14th overall with a 35-13 demolition of the Tasman Makos.

For the second consecutive year, Tasman threatened in the early stages but ultimately fell short to a very efficient Canterbury team.

Richie Mo'unga scored a record 25 points.

In the 2016 Premiership Final between the same sides,  the flyhalf was just as influential with two tries.

Canterbury were rewarded for their tremendous season with five players in the season's selection.

Meanwhile, Wellington made sure their picked up the Championship Division trophy with a 59-45 win over Bay of Plenty.

Wellington boast with three players followed by Northland (two) Taranaki (two).

Bay of Plenty, North Harbour and Counties Manukau make up the numbers with one each.

Wellington's hooker Asafo Aumua's noteworthy performance made sure he got the nod for Player of the Tournamnet 2017.

Team of the Season:

15 George Bridge (Canterbury):
Bridge has most carries and defenders beaten, far and away the most metres run and well up the list of tries, offloads and clean breaks. Special mention to newcomer Will Jordan (Tasman).
Bubbling Under: Tim Nanai-Williams (Counties-Manukau)

14 Monty Ioane (Bay Of Plenty):
A special player, Ioane has made the most effective runs in the competition, with the most defenders beaten and metres per carrying. Special mention to All Blacks discard Julian Savea (Wellington) who has improved all season.
Bubbling Under: Matt Duffie (North Harbour)

13 Seta Tamanivalu (Taranaki):
Back to his block-busting best, Tamanivalu switch seamlessly between centre and wing and has totally earned his return to the ABs.
Bubbling Under: Matt Vaega (North Harbour)

12 Jack Goodhue (Northland):
The first ever Duane Monkley Medalist had all the skills of a great midfielder, solid on defence and busy offensively. He made great work of the ball received and partnered superbly with Rene Ranger.
Bubbling Under: Rob Thompson (Canterbury)

11 Tevita Li (North Harbour):
Wingers are judged mostly on their finishing ability and with 11 tries, including an incredible 5 in one match, Li has the power and pace that sets him apart from his peers. Special mention to both James Lowe (Tasman) and Braydon Ennor (Canterbury) who have had fantastic seasons in a hotly contested position.
Bubbling Under: Joe Webber (Bay Of Plenty)

10 Richie Mo’unga (Canterbury):
Flyhalf is another very difficult position to decide upon. Every first five-eighth in the semi-finals, and many that didn’t make the playoffs deserve a mention. But the Crusaders and Canterbury #10 was so incredible in the final that he moved into first place. Over the whole season, he was the best in terms of defenders beaten for a flyhalf (45), he carried over 90 times, his goal-kicking was a solid 81 percent and his defensive success rate was a solid 80percent. Special mention to Mitch Hunt (Tasman), Stephen Perofeta (Taranaki) and Mike Delany (Bay Of Plenty). Also, Bryn Gatland (North Harbour) who was cruelly ruled out of the semis through injury.
Bubbling Under: Jackson Garden-Bachop (Wellington)

9 Mitchell Drummond (Canterbury):
Drummond capped a successful year with Barbarians and All Blacks call-ups. His defining feature is his swift pass but it was his sniping darts and his smart support lines that got him 7 tries this season.
Bubbling Under: Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi (Taranaki)

8 Toa Halafihi (Taranaki):
Halafihi’s giant work rate creates a brilliant platform for his backs to show off their talents. His powerful defence creates turnovers and his tight charges get solid and consistent go-forward ball.
Bubbling Under: Jordan Taufua (Tasman)

7 Du'Plessis Kirifi (Wellington):
Kirifi did enough in the early rounds to seal up this spot, even though there was serious competition late in the season. His impact off the bench in the final helped to spur Wellington on to promotion and it made one wonder why he wasn’t started in such an important match. Special mention to turnover kings Lachlan Boshier (Taranaki) and Billy Harmon (Canterbury).
Bubbling Under: Hugh Blake (Bay Of Plenty)

6 Tom Sanders (Canterbury):
The Colonel was his hustling, bustling best this season and will be a big loss to the Chiefs when he moves to the Crusaders next year.
Bubbling Under: Taleni Seu (Auckland)

5 Jimmy Tupou (Counties Manukau):
The talismanic Steelers’ captain had a strong debut season for the Blues and continued his lead-from-front attitude with Counties. Special mention to veteran Jarrad Hoeata (North Harbour) who had a great season back in New Zealand and Dominic Bird (Canterbury) who earned himself a recall to the All Blacks.
Bubbling Under: James Tucker (Waikato)

4 Mitchell Dunshea (Canterbury):
The Hamiltonian had a break-out season this year and finally got a hold of the regular starting position. His line-out work is complimented by a ferocious running game.
Bubbling Under: Josh Furno (Otago)

3 Alex Fidow (Wellington):
Fidow had the most appearances in the Team of the Week lists, making six entries due to his solid scrummaging, his massive defence and his barn-storming runs. This 20-year-old has a big future.
Bubbling Under: Jeff Thwaites (Bay Of Plenty)

2 Asafo Aumua (Wellington):
The dynamic hooker could be the next big thing in New Zealand rugby. His call-up to the end of year tour to Europe took him out of the final. The Player of the Tournament had a fantastic year, first winning the Under-20s World Cup and then smashing all-comers, including a dominant performance over a current All Black hooker. Special mention to Ash Dixon (Hawkes’ Bay) who played well in a team that couldn’t quite click.
Bubbling Under: Ricky Riccitelli (Taranaki)

1 Ross Wright (Northland):
There are a lot of average and slightly above-average loose-heads sitting just below the All Blacks, making this the one position that NZ rugby is lacking in depth. Wright stood out early on this competition with some excellent bustling runs up the centre and solid defence.
Bubbling Under: Craig Millar (Otago)

Team of the week - Finals: 15 Will Jordan (Tasman), 14 Julian Savea (Wellington),  13 Wes Goosen (Wellington), 12 Thomas Umaga-Jensen (Wellington), 11 Joe Webber (Bay Of Plenty),  10 Richie Mo’unga (Canterbury),  9 Finlay Christie (Tasman),  8 Luke Whitelock (Canterbury),  7 Vernon Fredericks (Tasman),  6 Tom Sanders (Canterbury),  5 Tom Franklin (Bay Of Plenty), 4 Sam Lousi (Wellington),  3 Alex Fidow (Wellington),  2 Liam Polwart (Bay Of Plenty),  1 Tolu Fahamokioa (Wellington).

Team of the week - Semi-Finals: 15 Will Jordan (Tasman), 14 Monty Ioane (Bay of Plenty),  13 Wes Goosen (Wellington), 12 Rob Thompson (Canterbury), 11 Joe Webber (Bay Of Plenty),  10 Mitch Hunt (Tasman),  9 Mitchell Drummond (Canterbury),  8 Toa Halafihi (Taranaki),  7 Billy Harmon (Canterbury),  6 Pita Sowakula (Taranaki),  5 Dominic Bird (Canterbury), 4 Mitch Dunshea (Canterbury),  3 Alex Fidow (Wellington),  2 Ben Funnell (Canterbury), 1 Craig Millar (Otago).

Team of the week - Round Nine: 15 Tim Nanai-Williams (Counties Manukau), 14 Monty Ioane (Bay of Plenty),  13 Seta Tamanivalu (Taranaki), 12 Jack Goodhue (Northland), 11 Tevita Li (North Harbour),  10 Josh Ioane (Otago),  9 Brad Weber (Hawkes' Bay),  8 Toa Halafihi (Taranaki),  7 Dillon Hunt (Otago),  6 Tom Sanders (Canterbury),  5 Jarrad Hoeata (North Harbour), 4 Sam Lousi (Wellington),  3 Alex Fidow (Wellington),  2 Nathan Vella (Canterbury),  1 Craig Millar (Otago).

Team of the week - Round Eight: 15 Marty McKenzie (Taranaki), 14 Declan O’Donnell,  13 Seta Tamanivalu (Taranaki),  12 Rob Thompson (Canterbury), 11 Joe Webber (Bay Of Plenty),  10 Mitch Hunt (Tasman),  9 Billy Guyton (Tasman),  8 Jordan Taufua (Tasman),  7 Lachlan Boshier (Taranaki),  6 Tom Sanders (Canterbury),  5 Jackson Hemopo (Manawatu), 4 Chris Middleton (Wellington),  3 Atu Moli (Waikato),  2 Asafo Aumua (Wellington), 1 Aiden Ross (Bay Of Plenty).

Team of the week - Round Seven: 15 George Bridge (Canterbury), 14 Matt Duffie (North Harbour),  13 Thomas Umaga-Jensen (Wellington),  12 Jack Goodhue (Northland), 11 Seta Tamanivalu (Taranaki),  10 Bryn Gatland (North Harbour),  9 Sam Nock (Northland),  8 Akira Ioane (Auckland),  7 Du'Plessis Kirifi (Wellington),  6 Tom Sanders (Canterbury),  5 Will Mangos (Wellington), 4 Jimmy Tupou (Counties Manukau),  3 Alex Fidow (Wellington),  2 Ash Dixon (Hawkes’ Bay),  1 Alex Hodgman (Canterbury).

Team of the week - Round Six: 15 George Bridge (Canterbury), 14 Newton Tudreu (Manawatu),  13 Thomas Umaga-Jensen (Wellington),  12 Teihorangi Walden (Otago), 11 Jone Macilai (Northland),  10 Mike Delany (Bay Of Plenty),  9 Augustine Pulu (Counties Manukau),  8 Toa Halafihi (Taranaki),  7 Antonio Kirikiri (Manawatu),  6 Adam Knight (Otago),  5 Jimmy Tupou (Counties Manukau), 4 Josh Furno (Otago),  3 Alex Fidow (Wellington),  2 Ricky Riccitelli (Taranaki),  1 Solomona Sakalia (Bay Of Plenty).

Team of the week - Round Five: 15 Tim Nanai-Williams (Counties Manukau), 14 Jordan Hyland (Northland),  13 Tim Bateman (Canterbury),  12 Rob Thompson (Canterbury), 11 James Lowe (Tasman),  10 Jackson Garden-Bachop (Wellington),  9 Mitchell Drummond (Canterbury),  8 Jerome Kaino (Auckland),  7 Billy Harmon (Canterbury),  6 Taleni Seu (Auckland),  5 James Tucker (Waikato), 4 Mitchell Dunshea (Canterbury),  3 Michael Alaalatoa (Manawatu),  2 Asafo Aumua (Wellington),  1 Angus Ta'avao (Taranaki).

Team of the week - Round Four: 15 Fletcher Smith (Otago), 14 Jordan Hyland (Northland),  13 Tim Nanai-Williams (Counties Manukau),  12 Regan Verney (Wellington), 11 Braydon Ennor (Canterbury),  10 Mitch Hunt (Tasman),  9 Bryn Hall (North Harbour),  8 Toa Halafihi (Taranaki),  7 Du’Plessis Kirifi (Wellington),  6 Jack Ram (Northland),  5 Josh Dickson (Otago), 4 Josh Furno (Otago),  3 Alex Fidow (Wellington),  2 Liam Polwart (Bay Of Plenty),  1 Ross Wright (Northland).

Team of the week - Round Three: 15 Shaun Stephenson (North Harbour), 14 Marshall Suckling (Canterbury),  13 Matt Vaega (North Harbour),  12 Jack Goodhue (Northland), 11 Jona Nareki (Otago),  10 Brett Cameron (Canterbury),  9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow (Waikato),  8 Jordan Taufua (Tasman),  7 Mitchell Jacobson (Waikato),  6 Dillon Hunt (Otago),  5 James Tucker (Waikato), 4 Isaia Walker-Leawere (Wellington),  3 Oli Jager (Canterbury),  2 Asafo Aumua (Wellington),  1 Ross Wright (Northland).

Team of the week - Round Two: 15 Will Jordan (Tasman), 14 Monty Ioane (Bay of Plenty),  13 Matt Vaega (North Harbour),  12 Rob Thompson (Canterbury), 11 Joe Webber (Bay of Plenty),  10 Richie Mo'unga (Canterbury),  9 Pele Cowley (Waikato),  8 Elliot Dixon (Southland),  7 Connor Collett (North Harbour),  6 Lachlan Boshier (Taranaki),  5 Scott Scrafton (Auckland), 4 Patrick Tuipulotu (Auckland),  3 Aki Seiuli (Otago),  2 Asafo Aumua (Wellington),  1 Loni Uhila (Waikato).

Team of the week - Round One: 15 Nehe Milner-Skudder (Manawatu), 14 Declan O'Donnell (Taranaki),  13 Rene Ranger (Northland),  12 Matthew Johnson (Southland), 11 Seta Tamanivalu (Taranaki),  10 Bryn Gatland (North Harbour),  9 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi (Taranaki),  8 Luke Whitelock (Canterbury),  7 Du'Plessis Kirifi (Wellington),  6 Jordan Manihera (Waikato),  5 Jarrad Hoeata (North Harbour), 4 Mitchell Dunshea (Canterbury),  3 Siate Tokolahi (Canterbury),  2 Asafo Aumua (Wellington),  1 Pauliasi Manu (Counties Manukau).

By Richard Neal