NZ XV of the 2019 Super Rugby
There are a lot of tough choices this year as many positions were filled by journeymen when the ABs were injured or rested.
LHP : ????? with Moody, Tu'inukuafe, Moli, Perry and Ross out for long periods, it is hard to tell who was the best. Johnstone was the best rookie.
Hooker : same problem as Coles and Taylor were absent for long periods too. I will go for Makalio with Coltman bubbling under.
THP : Less injuries there (Laulala and Franks). I think Angus Ta'avao was the most consistent with Tyrell Lomax and Ofa T not far behind.
Locks : Retallick did not play too much so my choice go to Sam Whitelock and Jackson Hemopo. IWL was very solid during the second half of the competition and is a real prospect.
Blindside flanker : Luke Jacobson with Tom Robinson not very far behind (incredible workrate during the first two thirds of the rounds)
Openside flanker : Ardie Savea (NZ forward of the year). He was immense.
Nr.8 : ????? Akira Ioane went missing during the second half of the competition while Kieran Read was a shadow of his former self. Ardie Savea was the best when he played in this position, usually during the second halfs.
Half back : TJP by a mile. Incredibly clever and strong. His passing also improved a lot as the competition progressed.
1st 5/8 : Richie Mounga.
Left wing : Rieko Ioane.
2nd 5/8 : ALB (Laumape was sometimes brilliant but was not as consistent as ALB - Crotty was very good too)
Centre : Goodhue (who else ? Thompson came back strongly though, Ennor was brilliant in attack but not so in defence, Nankivell had his moments too)
Right wing : Sevu Reece
Full back : Ben Smith / David Havili : I put them even as Ben Smith spent a rather long time on the sideline while David Havili seemed to beat defenders at will. Great season for him.
E African Troll Banned
LHP - nobody of note Coltman Lomax
S Whtelock Hemepo
L Jacobsen Todd Savea
Stevenson Havilli Reece
Moody, Taylor, Franks, Whitelock....