Patrick McKendry runs through the best and worst from the Super Rugby weekend.

Back of the week: Ben Lam (Hurricanes)

Ben Lam. Photo / Getty
Ben Lam. Photo / Getty

I would recommend that anyone who doesn't understand how big and powerful wing Ben Lam stand near a sideline as he runs on to the field. He is enormous. And when that size is combined with his pace he is a very difficult man to bring down. The Sharks promised a bit early in Wellington but Lam knocked the stuffing out of them.

Forward of the week: Cullen Grace (Crusaders)

Cullen Grace of the Crusaders. Photo / Photosport
Cullen Grace of the Crusaders. Photo / Photosport

The 20-year-old Grace made 19 tackles against the Blues at Eden Park. Not bad for a kid in his starting debut. But it was how he made those hits (extremely powerfully and without hesitation) that set Grace, who played blindside flanker, but can also play lock, apart. He is definitely one to watch.

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Super Rugby: Highlanders steal last-gasp victory over Brumbies


Coach killer: Brumbies

Connal McInerney of the Brumbies looks on after losing to the Highlanders. Photo / Getty
Connal McInerney of the Brumbies looks on after losing to the Highlanders. Photo / Getty

The Brumbies' plum-picking hooker Folau Fainga'a scored another of his trademark hat-tricks against the Highlanders in Canberra (three tries off the back of three driving mauls), but then his side watched in dismay as the Highlanders scored the match-winning converted try well after the final siren with a forward drive of their own. Few neutrals would have sympathised with the home side.



Aaron Mauger's team enjoyed a massive boost in coming from behind to beat the Brumbies in Canberra. They were terrible against the Sharks in Dunedin last weekend and were thoroughly beaten, but they showed at GIO Stadium that their renowned resilience hasn't followed fullback Ben Smith out the door.

Jordie Barrett

The fullback looks increasingly confident as an extra playmaker for Jason Holland's side who are still coming to terms with his brother Beauden's departure to the Blues. Jordie played a big part in his side's meritorious victory over the Jaguares in Buenos Aires and did so again against the Sharks in the Hurricanes' first match back at home.

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George Bridge scores for the Crusaders against the Blues. Photo / Photosport
George Bridge scores for the Crusaders against the Blues. Photo / Photosport

Their lineout was close to embarrassingly bad - although credit must be given to the Crusaders too – but there appeared little chance of them beating the defending champions once their early 5-0 lead was swallowed up. After a good win over the Waratahs they're back to square one, and their near inability to beat Kiwi teams remains.



It's three defeats in three matches for the Waratahs and their new Kiwi coach Rob Penney, a former Canterbury and Munster coach who is unfamiliar with losing streaks. There is talent in that squad and losing three tries to one against Aussie rivals the Rebels will not go down well in Sydney. The under-achieving tag attached to this franchise appears set to remain this season.


Crusaders 25

(George Bridge, Richie Mo'unga, Jack Goodhue tries; David Havili 2 pens, 2 cons)

Blues 8

(Patrick Tuipulotu try; Harry Plummer pen)

Rebels 24 (Andrew Kellaway 2, Marika Koroibete tries; Matt Toomua 3 pens)
Waratahs 10 (Harry Johnson-Holmes try; Will Harrison con, pen)

Chiefs 43 (Solomon Alaimalo, Shaun Stevenson, Brad Weber, Damian McKenzie, Lachlan Boshier, Kaleb Trask tries; McKenzie 3 cons, Trask con)
Sunwolves 17 (Garth April, Jaba Bregvadze, Shogo Nakano tries, April con)

Hurricanes 38 (Ben Lam 2, Wes Goosen, Ngani Laumape, Dane Coles tries; Jordie Barrett 5 cons, pen)
Sharks 22 (Madosh Tambwe, Tyler Paul, John-Hubert Meyer tries; Boeta Chamberlain con, Sanele Nohamba con, pen)

Highlanders 23 (Jona Nareki, Te Ariki Ben-Nicholas tries; Josh Ioane 2 con, 3 pen)
Brumbies 22 (Folau Fainga'a 3 tries; Ryan Lonergan con, pen; Noah Lolesio con)

Stormers 33 (Juarno Augustus, Godlen Masimla, Sergeal Petersen, Ruhan Nel tries; Damian Willemse con, 3 pens, Jean-Luc du Plessis con)
Lions 30 (Andries Coetzee, Courtnall Skosan, Elton Jantjies, Dan Kriel tries; Jantjies 2 cons, 2 pens)

Jaguares 43 (Julian Montoya 3, Emiliano Boffelli, Lucio Sordoni, Tomas Cubelli tries; Domingo Miotti 4 cons, pen, Tomas Albornoz pen)
Reds 27 (Chris Feauai-Sautia 2, Tate McDermott, Liam Wright tries; Jock Campbell 2 cons, pen)