Super Rugby 2018: Best Australian XV

Rugby Player scores try

The curtain came down on Australia's Super Rugby season with the Waratahs going down to the Lions in Johannesburg. It was a much-improved showing from the Australian franchises this year with the Waratahs, Brumbies, and Rebels all managing wins over New Zealand opposition.

Below, we'll take a look at which Australian franchise players shone at this year's tournament.

15 - Israel Folau (Waratahs)
The Waratahs fullback followed up his freakish exploits of 2017 with yet another explosive campaign that saw him score 11 tries and make an incredible 30 line-breaks.

While Folau was potent with ball-in-hand, it was his aerial ability that really caught the eye with the towering fullback winning a plethora of restarts for his side.

14 - Taqele Naiyaravoro (Waratahs)
It's extremely sad to think that this will be the big man's last season in Super Rugby as he really is a player who gets crowds on seats with his powerful runs.

The Waratahs winger ended the season with an incredible 15 tries to his name. At times, he made it look as though he was playing against a group of schoolboys, and there will still be a few Sunwolves ruing the day they attempted to tackle the juggernaut.

13 - Billy Meakes (Rebels)
He may not be as an exciting a player as the likes of Folau and Foley but Meakes was an absolute rock for the Rebels this season, and I simply could not leave the inside centre off this list and that is why he appears at 13.

Meakes is such a consistent rugby player. He hardly ever misses a tackle and always finds a way to make metres on the crash ball as is illustrated by his running metres tally of 822 metres in just 938 minutes. He was well rewarded for his consistent endeavors and finished the season with four tries to his name.

12 - Kurtley Beale (Waratahs)
While Folau, Foley, and Naiyaravoro were sensational for the 'Tahs this season, the man who made the biggest impact was Kurtley Beale. The utility back was the conductor in chief for the Waratahs backline symphony as his deft little touches and brilliant reading of the game enabled his teammates to flourish.

No one will soon forget the Waratahs come from behind victory over the Highlanders in this year's quarter-finals. Beale was at the heart of that turnaround, producing some of the best backline play seen in Australia since the days of Steven Larkham.

11 - Tom Banks (Brumbies)
This is another player I'm shoehorning into a position as he's was just too good to leave out. While Banks spent a lot of the season at fullback, he did produce some solid displays for the Brumbies on the wing.

The utility back ended the season with ten tries to his name and was one of the few rays of sunshine in what was a rather dark campaign for the men from Canberra.

10 - Bernard Foley (Waratahs)
Super Rugby's top points scorer this season, Bernard Foley was absolutely mesmerizing at times. The Waratahs pivot attacked the gainline with great success and ended the season as the tournaments top points scorer with 223 points to his name.

While Foley was an absolute 'dead-eye Dick' when it came to goal-kicking, it was his running game that was most impressive with the Wallaby pivot scoring three tries and setting up a multitude more.

9 - Will Guinea (Rebels)
The veteran half-back made his return to Super Rugby this season, and while he struggled with injuries he was still the best Australian scrum-half on show. His importance to the Rebels cannot be underestimated, with the nuggety scrumhalf the key to the men from Melbourne's fast start to the season.

Guinea only played just shy of 490 minutes this season but he still managed to make an incredible 167 running metres and 16 tackle busts.

8 - Amanaki Mafi (Rebels)
While some of the gloss was taken off his season due to a stupid punch-up with a teammate, you cannot argue that Mafi was one of the standout players in Australia.

The Japanese international was a human wrecking ball this campaign racking up an astonishing 253 carries and making 1345 metres.

7 - David Pocock (Brumbies)
The return of the talismanic loosie was a massive coup for a Brumbies side that really is struggling to reach the lofty heights of the early 2000's. While Pocock's side failed to impress for the majority of the campaign, they did produce a few eye-catching performances which all saw the dynamic flanker at the heart of the show.

He was a ball carrying machine during the tournament averaging over 30 metres per 80 minutes of rugby he played. He also bagged himself two tries and made 14 tackle busts. Not bad for a man who was coming off a year's break.

6 - George Smith (Reds)
The veteran flanker rolled back the years this season producing a multitude of turnovers for a Reds side that more often than not found themselves under the cosh. His experience was vital to a Reds side in transition and he offered a great shoulder to fall on for the younger forwards.

Sadly, Smith was unable to play the last few games for the Reds due to injury and didn't receive the mammoth send-off he well and truly deserves.

5 - Ned Hannigan (Waratahs)
One of the unsung heroes in the Waratahs campaign, Hannigan offered a solid line-out option as well as a threat in the loose.

The big man is rather dynamic and is also capable of playing on the side of the scrum. He ran the ball well this term making over 400 metres and five line-breaks. His offload game also improved as the season wore on.

4 - Harry Hockings (Reds)
The Reds youngster ended the season with some eye-catching performances, and I would not be surprised to see him included in the Wallabies Rugby Championship side alongside his Reds partner, Izack Rodda.

Hockings showed an incredible work rate during the Queenslander's final two games of the season popping up everywhere against the Sunwolves and Waratahs. While Hockings gets around the park, he doesn't shirk his core duties and is an excellent line-out option.

3 - Taniela Tupou (Reds)
The Tongan Thor was an absolute delight to watch with ball-in-hand. He was one of the standout players for a Reds side that blew hot and cold, and would often spark attacks for the Queenslanders.

Tupuo ended the season with 497 run metres to his name, which are stats some of his backline colleagues would envy.

2 - Damien Fitzpatrick (Waratahs)
To be brutally honest, I wasn't at all impressed with any of the Australian franchise hookers. Fitzpatrick was far from outstanding but he did put in a number of solid shifts and found his jumpers on most occasions

1 - Tom Robertson (Waratahs)
The Waratahs loosehead may not have set the world alight with barnstorming runs but he performed his core duties with aplomb, ensuring a rather weak Waratahs pack held their own at scrumtime.

The young prop also cleaned out rucks rather well and made his tackles when called upon.

Written by Darry Worthington for Hollywoodbets

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