Here are our top three performing rookies from the weekend:
3. Sevu Reece (Crusaders)
The three points couldn’t have gone to anyone else this week. The Crusaders winger was brilliant in his side’s demolition of the Rebels at Christchurch Stadium on Saturday night. He scored a hat trick and jumped to the top of the Super Rugby try scoring ladder with 13 tries, two ahead of Ngani Laumape and Folau Fainga’a. He was everywhere against the Rebels. His offloading was outstanding, and his kick-and-chase try in the second half was remarkable under pressure. Reece has been hot on the heels of Blues forward Tom Robinson on the rookie of the year standings for weeks now, but his performance over the weekend puts him in the lead.
Tries: 13 (first in Super Rugby)
Clean breaks: 34 (first in Super Rugby)
Run metres: 911 (fifth in Super Rugby)
Despite the result against the Reds at Suncorp Stadium, Tanielu Tele’a had a solid match on the left wing, in place on Reiko Ioane who was on his final All Blacks rest. The 20 year-old scored a great try early on in the first half, showing good footwork and stepping his way past two Reds defenders to score. He made seven tackles and notched up a game-high 103 metres in a losing Blues effort.
Clean breaks: 14
Run metres: 427
1. Du’Plessis Kirifi (Hurricanes)
The 22 year-old flanker played a pivotal role in the Hurricanes win over the Lions in Johannesburg on Sunday morning. Kirifi made several crucial tackles and got a key turnover as his side went on to secure themselves a home quarterfinal. He climbs one place in the rookie leaderboard into eighth place.
Clean breaks: 5
Defenders beaten: 11
Sevu Reece: 19
Tom Robinson: 17
Will Jordan: 9
Etene Nanai-Seturo: 8
Harry Plummer: 8
Liam Mitchell: 7
Richard Judd: 5
Du'Plessis Kirifi: 5
Tumua Manu: 4
Tanielu Tele'a: 4
Folau Fakatava: 3
Kane Leaupepe: 3
Bailyn Sullivan: 2
Josh Iosefa-Scott: 1
Dan Hollinshead: 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.
ROUND 1?8? | The equation is simple for @ChiefsRugby and the @Highlanders, win to keep your playoff chances alive. #RaiseTheStakes pic.twitter.com/7LVucogvKc— Super Rugby (@SuperRugbyNZ) June 9, 2019