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Rookie Watch: Forwards stand tall

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Tuesday, April 23, 2019    allblacks.com    Getty Images

Here are our three standout rookies from round ten:

3: Tom Robinson (Blues)
Never far from the action, rookie Blues loose forward Tom Robinson put in another tireless performance against the Highlanders. Matched up against Highlanders powerhouse Shannon Frizell, Robinson was physical in the contact area and covered plenty of metres around the park. With ball in hand, Robinson carried strongly close to the ruck and showed his finishing ability with a try in the 22nd minute from a Ma’a Nonu assist. The 24-year-old rookie will be looking forward to the bye week after averaging 77 minutes per-match across the Blues opening nine games. 

Games: 9
Carries: 59
Run metres: 148
Defenders beaten: 10

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2: Liam Mitchell (Hurricanes)
A quiet achiever for the Hurricanes, 23-year-old lock Liam Mitchell put in another hard-working performance against the Sunwolves. While proficient at set-piece time, Mitchell is also a key cog in the Hurricanes defensive effort. Against the Sunwolves he effected 11 tackles to take his season tally to 72 at an average of eight per game. Extremely fit, Mitchell is ever present around the park and never far from the ball. 

Games: 9
Carries: 60
Run metres: 111
Tackle success: 92%
1: Du Plessis Kirifi (Hurricanes)
A high-tempo type of player, Du Plessis Kirifi was at his energetic best against the Sunwolves. After a slow start for the Hurricanes, Kirifi helped turn the tide with his strong defence, relentless work at the breakdown and physical ball-running. Kirifi has made big strides in his debut year for the Hurricanes and will be honing his game with help from All Blacks loose forwards Ardie Savea, Vaea Fifita and Gareth Evans.

Games: 8
Defenders beaten: 10
Run metres: 149
Tackle success: 93%

Leaderboard:

Tom Robinson: 14
Will Jordan: 7
Sevu Reece: 7
Liam Mitchell: 7
Du’Plessis Kirifi: 4
Etene Nanai-Seturo: 3
Folau Fakatava 3
Richard Judd: 2
Bailyn Sullivan: 2
Tanielu Tele’a: 2
Tumua Manu: 1
Josh Iosefa-Scott: 1
Harry Plummer: 1

NOTE: The qualification for rookies is players that are either playing in their first season of Super Rugby or who are playing their first season as a contracted player and have played less than five games prior to 2019.