Kris Shannon reviews the best and worst performers from the latest Super Rugby action.
Back of the week
Matt Proctor (Hurricanes)
An unsung member of a backline featuring the Barrett brothers, Julian Savea and, in Aso, the competition's leading try-scorer, Matt Proctor has been an equally important part of the Hurricanes' unstoppable attack this season. And the midfielder's value was clear against the Reds, out-shining his illustrious teammates and edging his personal battle against Wallabies centre Samu Kerevi. Proctor put the Hurricanes over the advantage line all evening, making 103metres on just nine carries, good for an average of 11.4metres gained every time he took the ball forward. Given the 24-year-old was similarly impressive last season, he might not remain unsung for long.
Forward of the week
Ardie Savea (Hurricanes)
Savea is proving pretty adept at this No 8 business.
After excelling at the back of the scrum in the Hurricanes' last outing before their bye, the versatile loose forward was again at his rampaging best in his side's victory over the Reds. Savea did it in Brisbane - racking up 104 running metres on 10 carries, beating four defenders while making four clean breaks, completing seven tackles and winning a turnover, and handing off near the line for Vince Aso to score the try that put the Hurricanes in charge. And that was all before he suffered a calf injury that saw him limp to the sidelines.
Curwub Bosch (Sharks)
Seen in some quarters as the future of South African rugby, 19-year-old Curwin Bosch certainly impressed while leading the Sharks to the verge up and upset victory against the Lions. Until, that is, he made the mistake that cost his side the match. The first five had notched 19 points and largely outplayed the more established Elton Jantjies but, with the scores level and four minutes to play, he made a rookie error, failing to find touch on a routine clearance. And the Lions needed no second invitation, with Andries Coetzee sparking a counter-attack that saw Kwagga Smith bust up field and lay on Jaco Kriel's game-winning try.
The Fab Four
41-22 win over Waratahs
1st in NZC, 1stoverall
Heading into their bye with a perfect record, what do we make of the Crusaders? Six wins from six but none has come against a side who currently boast a winning record. A few thrilling comebacks but they put themselves in those dire positions to begin with. A couple of comfortable victories in the last couple of weeks but only against Australian opposition. Yet do we really think the Crusaders care about all those qualifiers? Doubt it. They're unbeaten and top.
28-12 win over Bulls
2nd in NZC, 5th overall
Speaking of unbeaten, avert your eyes from the Super Rugby standings if a fan of logic or reason. The Chiefs, after winning five from five, have 24 points and sit in fifth. The Brumbies, after winning two from five, have 11 points and sit in fourth. Great job, Sanzaar. Really nailing this one. To be fair, the Chiefs' form has been almost as confounding as the competition, proving far too strong for three Kiwi foes before stuttering against a couple of perceived strugglers.
53-10 win over Cheetahs
1st in SAC1, 3rd overall
Next up for the Chiefs? A chance to prove their quality in Cape Town. And a chance to show us all whether the Stormers' own unbeaten start is legitimate or a schedule-related mirage. Such a commanding victory against the Cheetahs would suggest the former, but don't be surprised if this is the Stormers' last appearance in Fab Four for a while. In fact, considering they play the Chiefs and Lions before heading to New Zealand, don't be surprised if the 5-0 Stormers slump to 5-5.
34-15 win over Reds
3rd in NZC, 6th overall
Only three teams in Super Rugby average more than 34 points per game, but that total still feels like a slow night for these Hurricanes. That's the reality after their early-season romps gave them some crooked numbers that are taking time to straighten out. Like the 247 points they've scored, good enough for an average of 49.4. Or the 38 tries they've managed, 30more than the last-placed Rebels. Or the 152 defenders beaten and99 clean breaks, both also competition-highs.