Opinion: Super Rugby 2017 - Tournament Team

Lions v Crusaders Final Preview - Three Rugby Players One Being Tackled With Ball in Hand

We take a look at the fifteen standout Super Rugby players for the 2017 season. 

The Crusaders walked away champions of the 2017 Super Rugby campaign following a win over the Lions at Emirates Airlines Park on Saturday the 5th of August 2017.

Our rugby scribe Shaun Goosen picks his tournament team to conclude this year's spectacle. 

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1. Joe Moody (Crusaders) 
Formed part of the deadliest tight-five in the competition, Moody can feel rest assured that his place in Steve Hansen’s All Black starting XV is secure. Solid, consistent, and immensely powerful, Moody has seen his stocks rise immeasurably in 2017.

2. Codie Taylor (Crusaders) 
Another All Black who was fantastic throughout the campaign, Taylor’s consistency and impact on a contest cannot be understated. He will surely start for the All Blacks ahead of the injury-prone Dane Coles in The Rugby Championship.

3. Owen Franks (Crusaders)
Along with Moody and Taylor, Franks (who may well earn his 100th Test cap in 2017) was monumental in his side’s title charge this season. Arguably the finest tighthead in the world.

4. Brodie Retallick (Chiefs)
Does this man ever get tired? Rettalick is already well on his way to earning legendary status in the Land of the Long White Cloud, and he will be a key player for his coach in the upcoming Rugby Championship.

5. Sam Whitelock (Captain) (Crusaders)
I had Franco Mostert nailed down for this position, but after Whitelock’s masterclass in the final in Johannesburg, he takes the no. 5 berth. Along with Retallick, he is unquestionably the greatest second-rower in the game. His two lineout steals late on in the final effectively ended the contest.

6. Jaco Kriel (Lions)
Kriel was immense all season for the Lions, and his heartbreak at losing the final was evident in his post-match interview. A true ambassador for South Africa.

7. Matt Todd (Crusaders)
One of the most consistent performers in Super Rugby, Todd played a pivotal role in his Crusaders side’s win at Emirates Ellis Park. He would be unlucky to be excluded from his country’s Rugby Championship squad.

8. Warren Whiteley (Lions)
The Springbok captain earned the best tackle percentage in the competition (98.1%), and was talismanic for his side before his untimely injury. Allister Coetzee will be praying to the Rugby Gods that he is fit for the back end of the Rugby Championship.

9. Ross Cronje (Lions)
Cronje’s greatest asset is his remarkably low error-rate, which has allowed his Lions backline to operate efficiently all year. Will more than likely start at 9 for the Boks in the coming months.

10. Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes)
Despite an indifferent showing in the British & Irish Lions Test series, there’s no doubt that Barrett’s early season form warrants selection to this side. The fact that he isn’t too shabby with a golf club works in his favour too.

11. James Lowe (Chiefs)
Lowe made the most clean breaks (36) in the competition a testament to his uncanny ability to break a game open with a moment of genius. Will be sorely missed as he departs for Leinster ahead of the next European season.

12. Ryan Crotty (Crusaders)
Along with Todd is probably the most underrated player In New Zealand rugby. Thoroughly deserved of his MOTM award in the final, Crotty’s unique rugby brain perennially earns his sides advantages in tight contests. The “David Silva” of New Zealand rugby.

13. Vince Aso (Hurricanes)
This season’s top try-scorer, watching Aso’s formidable midfield partnership with Ngani Laumape blossom was one of the highlights of the year. Not too far from All Black selection, surely.

14. Rieko Ioane (Blues)
This guy has all the makings of a great All Black wing, as he positively took 2017 by storm. Ioane capped off a meteoric rise to stardom by being named in Hansen’s teams for the first two Lions Tests (before succumbing to injury in the third). A bright future awaits.

15. Damian McKenzie (Chiefs)
Despite not being rated all that highly by Steve Hansen, McKenzie set the competition alight (again), making the most carries (210) and meters (1514). He may not be around for that much longer however, as continued exclusion from Hansen’s national side may provoke the little fullback to contemplate a few offers overseas.

Written by Shaun Goosen for @Hollywoodbets.net

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