The best and worst from week six of the Super Rugby season.
Forward of the week
Liam Squire - Highlanders
The Kiwi sides are hardly lacking inquality at No 8, with Kieran Read being backed up by Steven Luatua, Michael Leitch, Blade Thompson and Liam Squire. The Highlanders man had big shoes to fill after Nasi Manu last season to his team to the title, but Squire has slotted seamlessly into that over-achieving pack. And the 25-year-old was effective on both sides of the ball against the Force, carrying strongly to propel his side forward and amassing a game-high 15 tackles to help the Highlanders hold off their pesky opponents.
Matias Moroni - Jaguares
The Jaguares made all the early running against the Blues but, despite theirhuge advantage interritory and possession in the opening quarter, they came away with only six points to show for all their ascendancy. It should have been much more and the visitors would have built a bigger lead had the unfortunately-named centre Matias Moroni not dropped the ball cold on the Blues' tryline, a mistake that came back to cost the Jaguares as the home side soon assumed control.
Back of the week
Aaron Cruden - Chiefs
Cruden's contribution to the Chiefs' pummelling of the Brumbies could be seen in three moments. First was his exchange with James Lowe for the Chiefs' second try, both men popping unlikely passes as the Chiefs unleashed a blistering move. Then we saw Cruden combine footwork and vision for Tom Sanders' try, jinking through a hole before throwing a perfect cut-out pass. And finally, most impressive of all, came the first five's deft dink with the outside of his left boot to setup Lowe for his second. An outstanding display of play-making.
The Fab Four
The Chiefs' points differential of +108 is now twice as good as the side with the second-best mark. They've scored 5.7 tries per match, racking up a total of 34 that puts them 12 ahead of any other team. Damian McKenzie (7), Charlie Ngatai (5) and James Lowe (5) have combined for more tries than 13 franchises this season. Whichever way you spin it, the Chiefs' sparkling attack has been unstoppable. Next up? The Blues.
The Crusaders have lost only once this season and even in defeat they held the Chiefs to their lowest output of the campaign. This South African swing featured a couple of tight tussles but has Todd Blackadder's men in the position to complete an unbeaten road trip ahead of a stopover in Perth next weekend. Just as pleasingly was Ryan Crotty, one of the team's few bigger names, creeping closer to top form with a hat-trick.
Another week, another unbeaten round for New Zealand teams. The last time a Kiwi side tasted defeat was on March 11 when the Blues went down to the Hurricanes. And while the Highlanders experienced indifferent patches in their victory over the Force, their victory ensured the defending champions would carry a five-game winning streak into next week's trip to the lowly Reds.
The battle of the basement was a cracker. The Kings may have the worst defence in the competition, having conceded almost as many points as the Chiefs have scored, but the South African strugglers shot out to an early lead and held off a fast-finishing Sunwolves courtesy of Elgar Watts' late try. Who would have thought- the Kings now have more wins than two other teams.
Chiefs v Blues, Hamilton, 7.35pm
Force v Crusaders, Perth, 11pm
Stormers v Sunwolves, Cape Town, 5am
Hurricanes v Jaguares, Wellington, 7.35pm
Reds v Highlanders, Brisbane, 9.40pm
Sharks v Lions, Durban, 3.05am
Kings v Bulls, Port Elizabeth, 5.10am