Patrick McKendry

Patrick McKendry is a rugby writer for the Herald.

Super Rugby: Who's hot and who's not - week 13

Back at his best position at No10 Beauden Barrett took charge against the Cheetahs at Bloemfontein. Photo / Getty Images
Back at his best position at No10 Beauden Barrett took charge against the Cheetahs at Bloemfontein. Photo / Getty Images

Patrick McKendry names the top back, standout forward and the four in-form teams from the weekend's Super 15 action.

Back of the week:
Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes)

Back at his best position at No10 (for the Hurricanes anyway) Barrett took charge against the Cheetahs at Bloemfontein. It's not easy directing an inconsistent backline down on confidence, yet Barrett did it and without Conrad Smith beside him. Kicked for goal well and bullied his way over for a try. The slight Barrett wouldn't have been accused of that too often.

Forward of the week:
Scott Higginbotham (Rebels)

He's been playing so well recently that it's a wonder why Higginbotham doesn't concentrate on the game when he puts on a Wallabies jersey as opposed to looking for players to put cheap shots on. Remember his sly knee to Richie McCaw's head last year? No8 Higginbotham appears to be in the form of his life in a constantly losing team.

Coach Killer
Highlanders

The horror, the horror, as shellshocked coach Jamie Joseph might have said. His side had the chance to scale the glorious heights of two consecutive victories after breaking their duck last week against the Sharks. The Kings, alas, were far too good. Hosea Gear's late try for a bonus point after a decent build-up showed Joseph has the players to do much, much better.

Fab four

Hurricanes
won 39-34 v Cheetahs, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
9th overall, 4th in NZC
Mark Hammett's men were stitched up by the Bulls last weekend so this was a significant victory over an excellent team. Jeremy Thrush, TJ Perenara, Beauden Barrett and Julian Savea all got their mojo back, with Savea scoring what's becoming a trademark chip and long chase try. They are still a chance to make the play-offs. The bonus point could be handy too.

Blues
won 36-32 v Rebels, Eden Park
5th overall, 2nd in NZC
They were heroes in the first half and virtual zeroes after the break, but the Blues are still getting the job done. The same could be said for the Chiefs, but they seem to be struggling with their attack. Not the Blues, though. Their wide game had the Rebels in constant trouble. A completely different game to last weekend's grind over the Stormers, but the same result. The Crusaders lie in wait next.

Waratahs
won 21-15 v Stormers, Allianz Stadium
8th overall, 3rd in AC
A real armwrestle until the final quarter when the Waratahs, back from South Africa, began to get into their stride and remembered they have a potential match-winner playing at fullback by the name of Israel Folau. They were down by four points with 10 minutes to go but had the territorial advantage and Folau's try seemed predestined. They kicked a late penalty to inflate the margin.

Rebels
Lost 36-32 v Blues, Eden Park
12th overall, 4th in AC
It's hard not to feel sorry for this lot. The Rebels have made the poor starts and rollicking finishes for a close loss into an art form. They played extremely well in Christchurch only to lose to the Crusaders, did the same a week later at home against the Chiefs (with help from the officials) and there was more of the same at Eden Park. Three in a row with only five bonus points to show for it.

Form XV
15. Charles Piutau (Blues)
14. Frank Halai (Blues)
13. Rene Ranger (Blues)
12. Francis Saili (Blues)
11. Julian Savea (Hurricanes)
10. Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes)
9. TJ Perenara (Hurricanes)
8. Victor Vito (Hurricanes)
7. Sam Cane (Chiefs)
6. Steven Luatua (Blues)
5. Brodie Retallick (Chiefs)
4. Jeremy Thrush (Hurricanes)
3. Angus Ta'avao (Blues)
2. Quentin MacDonald (Blues)
1. Ben Franks (Hurricanes)

- NZ Herald

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