Home Rugby Five New Zealand Rugby Stars Whose Stock Rose in Super Rugby Round 2

Five New Zealand Rugby Stars Whose Stock Rose in Super Rugby Round 2

‘The Hurricanes look fat, slow and unfit.’

These scathing words of ex-Wallaby turned commentator Phil Kearns a year ago certainly could not be applied to the 2017 Hurricanes, who stormed to the top of the Super 18 leaderboard after racking up consecutive 70+ point thrashings.

The four other New Zealand teams were involved in high-impact, high skill local derbies.

So which players stood out in round two?

Nehe Milner-Scudder   (Hurricanes)

A hat-trick of tries in his first full game in a year. Although many fans probably wince and hold their breath every time he is tackled, they are probably balanced by gasps at his exhilarating footwork, speed and skill. Expect him to be fast-tracked back into black for the Lions series if he can avoid the injury ward.

during the round two Super Rugby match between the Hurricanes and the Rebels at Westpac Stadium on March 4, 2017 in Wellington, New Zealand.

 

Ardie Savea  (Hurricanes)  

Speed, power, leg drives, steals and stamina – Ardie was a huge force against the hapless Rebels. Looks fresher and faster than last year. 83 metres, 10 tackles, 6 defenders beaten, 5 clean breaks, 3 turnovers, 1 try. Yep -not a bad day at the office.

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 04: Jake Schatz of the Melbourne Rebels and Ardie Savea of the Hurricanes during the round two Super Rugby match between the Hurricanes and the Rebels at Westpac Stadium on March 4, 2017 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Mark Tantrum/Getty Images)

 

Julian Savea (Hurricanes)

This year there ain’t no flat (or fat) tyres on the Bus. Savea senior looks big, lean and fast. His first run through the Rebels defense showed the kind of zip we haven’t witnessed for two or three seasons and when he ran down and tackled the flying Rebels winger Koroibete, a frightening picture emerges – Julian Savea with mind and body all fully conditioned and engaged. Be afraid Lions, be very afraid.

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 03: Julian Savea looks on during the Wellington Hurricanes captain's run at Westpac Stadium on March 3, 2017 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

 

Waisake Naholo (Highlanders)

His brace of tries couldn’t stop the Crusaders’ mighty comeback but Naholo looked all power and class, combining beautifully with scrum-half Aaron Smith. A right royal battle looms for the back three positions for the All Blacks.

DUNEDIN, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 04: Waisake Naholo of the Highlanders looks on during the round two Super Rugby match between the Highlanders and the Crusaders at Forsyth Barr Stadium on March 4, 2017 in Dunedin, New Zealand. (Photo by Dianne Manson/Getty Images)

 

Vince Aso ( Hurricanes)

His second consecutive top five placing and is really catching the eye out on the right wing. Four tries in two games, showcasing some startling power and speed and against the Rebels, also contributed a superb back of the hand try assist to show that his confidence is peaking. Could be a real contender as back line utility cover for the All Blacks this season.

Hurricanes' Vince Aso (L) makes a try during the Super Rugby match between Sunwolves of Japan and Hurricanes of New Zealand at Prince Chichibu Memorial stadium in Tokyo on February 25, 2017. / AFP / Toshifumi KITAMURA (Photo credit should read TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images)

Honorable mentions: Ngani Laumape, TJ Perenara, Beauden Barrett, Damian McKenzie, Gareth Evans, Ryan Crotty, Anton Lienert-Brown, Aaron Cruden, Aaron Smith, Michael Fatialofa.

About The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team. If you would like to join the team, drop us an email at write@punditarena.com.