Here are our three stand out rookies from round two.
3 points: Mark Telea (Blues)
Blues wing Mark Telea must have been watching fellow rookie wing Leicester Fainga’anuku for the Crusaders last week and thought, ‘whatever you can do, I can do better’. Telea was simply sensational for the Blues in crossing for three tries in their 32-12 victory over the Waratahs in Newcastle. All three of his tries came in the second half with the first coming courtesy of a deft touch from No.8 Hoskins Sotutu before showing his finishing ability with two long-range stunners in the dying minutes of the match.
2 points: Marino Mikaele-Tu’u (Highlanders)
Although the Highlanders went down 42-20 to the Sharks in Dunedin there were promising signs for the southern team, and none more so than the performance of powerhouse No.8 Marino Mikaele-Tu’u. The 22-year-old put in a commanding effort, racking up a game-high 105 running metres and standing out as one of the Highlanders best defenders with eight tackles. He was never far from the action and looks to be an able replacement at the back of the scrum for the departed Luke Whitelock and Elliot Dixon.
1 point: Tom Christie (Crusaders)
Tom Christie’s Investec Super Rugby career is only two games old, but he is quickly breaking out of the shadow of Crusaders legends Matt Todd and Richie McCaw. The tireless 21-year-old put in another meritorious performance in the seven jersey against the Chiefs. Christie was a constant presence at the breakdown where his battle with Chiefs opposite Mitch Karpik was one of the highlights of the match. On defence, Christie racked up a game-high 17 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 seven games prior to 2020.