Forward of the week:

Liam Squire (Highlanders)

What a game for loose forward Squire to come back for the Highlanders. Tackling appeared optional for the Waratahs in Invercargill and Squire, who beat five defenders in his 48 minutes on the field, was one of the many to take advantage. His performance after injury and personal issues augurs well.

Back of the week:

Jack Debreczeni (Chiefs)

Debreczeni hasn't had many chances for the Chiefs this season. His team's victory over the Rebels was only his sixth match of the season and yet Chiefs coaches Colin Cooper and Tabai Matson have finally found a No10 in the absence of Damian McKenzie who can provide the quality they need. The former Rebels player scored 17 points against his old team.

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World Cup watch:

Waisake Naholo (Highlanders)

With a try and pretty good all-round game against the Waratahs, Naholo proved he's still got it and now he gets the chance to prove it again against the Crusaders, the team with the best defence and firepower in the competition and who have their own Fijian with a goal of making the World Cup this year: Sevu Reece.

Ups:

Sonny Bill Williams (Blues)

The big midfielder was one of the few wearing blue who should feel satisfied with his night's work in Wellington. Back from knee surgery which has kept him out since late March, Williams was busy and sharp and has lost none of his instincts on either attack or defence. He would have reassured the watching All Blacks selectors that he is good to go.

Hurricanes
The theory behind John Plumtree selecting a vastly weakened team against the Blues would have been around keeping his key players fresh for the finals. If they lost it didn't matter a jot. That they won after being down 5-24 at halftime will reverberate around the entire squad. This was a big result for them.

Downs:

Quade Cooper (Rebels)

Gifted Chiefs a couple of tries in Melbourne and now appears a busted flush in terms of his ability to play at the highest level. Cooper is undeniably a talent, but he is so easily rattled that he might as well wear a target on the back of his jersey rather than the number 10.

Stormers
All the Stormers had to do in order to qualify for the finals series was beat a Sharks team who had just travelled back from a bad beating against the Jaguares in Argentina. The Stormers were playing at their Cape Town home and a week before had beaten the Sunwolves there as a preparation of sorts. They blew it, the Sharks outscoring them two tries to nil to win 12-9.

Results

Highlanders 49

Josh McKay, Tevita Li, Tom Franklin, Waisake Naholo, penalty try, Teihorangi Walden, Rob Thompson tries; Josh Ioane 6 cons, Elliot Dixon con.

Waratahs 12

Alex Newsome, Mack Mason tries; Mason con.

Chiefs 59
Shaun Stevenson 3, Sam Cane, Lachlan Boshier, Sean Wainui, Jack Debreczeni, Marty McKenzie tries; Debreczeni 6 cons, McKenzie con)
Rebels 8
Matt Philip try; Reece Hodge pen.

Jaguares 52
Julian Montoya 2, Sebastian Cancelliere 2, Santiago Carreras, Penalty try, Matias Moroni, Francisco Gorrissen tries; Dominigo Miotti 5 cons
Sunwolves 10
Gerhard van den Heever, Semisi Masirewa tries.

Hurricanes 29
Peter Umaga-Jensen 2, Fletcher Smith, Isaia Walker-Leaware tries; Jackson Garden-Bachop 3 cons, pen.
Blues 24
Tanielu Tele'a, Caleb Clarke, Melani Nanai tries; Otere Black pen, 3 cons.

Brumbies 40
Andy Muirhead, Lachlan McCaffrey, Rory Arnold, Tom Wright, Murray Douglas, Penalty Try tries; Christian Lealiifan 3 cons, Ryan Lonergan con.
Reds 27
Bryce Hegarty, Duncan Paia'aua, Liam Wright tries; Hegarty 3 cons, Hegarty pen, Matt McGahan dg.

Sharks 12
Rhyno Smith, Lukhanyo Am tries; Robert du Preez con.
Stormers 9
Joshua Stander 2 pens, Jean-Luc du Plessis pen.

Bulls 48
Hanro Liebenberg 2 Lizo Gqoboka, Burger Odendaal, Cornal Hendricks, Handre Pollard, Manie Libbok tries; Pollard 5 cons, Pollard pen.
Lions 27
Hacjivah Dayimani, Cyle Brink tries; Elton Jantjies con, Jantjies 4 pens, Andries Coetzee dg

Playoffs match schedule

Quarter-final 1:

Fri June 21: Crusaders v Highlanders, Christchurch Stadium @ 7:35pm

Quarter-final 2:
Sat June 22: Hurricanes v Bulls, Westpac Stadium, Wellington @ 7:35pm

Quarter-final 3:
Sat June 22: Jaguares v Chiefs, Jose Amalfitani Stadium, Buenos Aires @ 10:05am

Quarter-final 4:
Sat June 22: Brumbies v Sharks, GIO Stadium, Canberra @ 10:05pm

Semifinal draw:
Pre-determined draw as follows (highest ranked team to host):

SF1: Winner QF1 v Winner QF2
SF2: Winner QF3 v Winner QF4

Final Draw:
(highest ranked team to host):

Final: Winner SF1 v Winner SF 2