Every week throughout Super Rugby we will award points to the three best performing rookies and at the end of the season a New Zealand Investec Super Rugby Rookie of the Year will be named.
Here are our three stand out rookies from round one.
3 Points: Tom Robinson (Blues)
Standing at 1.98cm tall and with long flowing orange hair, Tom Robinson was always going to make an impact on debut for the Blues. Normally a lock for Northland in the Mitre 10 Cup, Robinson was in the number six jersey for the season opening clash against the Crusaders. Known for his combative style of play, Robinson didn’t shy away from the contact zone and was busy on defence. It was with ball in hand where Robinson really made his mark though. The 24-year-old was hard to put down every time he touched the ball and cut the Crusaders open with a rampaging clean break that almost led to a try. With the ability to cover both lock and the loose forwards, expect to see plenty more of Robinson in the Blues jersey in 2019.
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2 Points: Bailyn Sullivan (Chiefs)
After a big season with the NZ Under 20s and Waikato in 2018, Bailyn Sullivan continued where he left off with a fine performance on the right wing for the Chiefs against the Highlanders. Sullivan looks to have the makings of a superb outside back - excellent in the air, quick off the mark and strong in the tackle. The 20-year-old speedster showed his class in setting up prop Angus Ta’avao for a try early in the match. After receiving the ball 60 metres out, Sullivan seared down the touchline and regathered his own chip kick before Ta’avao came away with the spoils. In all, Sullivan made over 70 run metres in the match and was one of the Chiefs best players on the park.
Need some water cooler chat? Catch up on all the talking points from an exciting opening round of #SuperRugby ????????????https://t.co/6xx0cJ7Sjr pic.twitter.com/nFezd7p4o1— Super Rugby (@SuperRugbyNZ) February 17, 20191 point: Etene Nanai-Seturo (Chiefs)
A lot of eyes were on 19-year-old sevens sensation Etene Nanai-Seturo on debut for the Chiefs and he didn’t disappoint with two tries. Although he didn’t have a lot of opportunities to showcase his electric running and stepping game, Nanai-Seturo showed off a reliable set of mitts by finishing off two tries. The first was courtesy of a superb pop ball by Nathan Harris while the second came from a pin point cross kick from Orbyn Leger. On defence, the debutant covered a lot of ground and made five tackles.
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.
What an opening round of #SuperRugby, but which New Zealand team do YOU think scored the try of the week?