June Tests: Team of the Week

Date published: June 12 2012


Now that the dust has settled in the southern hemisphere, Planet Rugby looks at the men who stood out in Week One of the June Tests.

Now that the dust has settled in the southern hemisphere, Planet Rugby looks at the players who stole the show in week one of the June Tests.

15 Israel Dagg (New Zealand) – Class, class, class. As is his way, Dagg glided across the turf and also combined well with Julian Savea on Saturday. It needs noting how well Adam Ashley-Cooper and Mike Brown did in the air but Dagg was a class above with ball in hand in Auckland.

14 Alex Cuthbert (Wales) – As we will mention when we get to jersey number 11, a certain Bok came close to squeezing his way into our side. Cuthbert's performance meant there was to be no positional switch to 14 for Habana though as the Welshman's try and general problem causing for the Wallabies in Brisbane helped him sneak in.

13 Jean de Villiers (South Africa) – Hats off to De Villiers for leading the Springboks to victory in Heyneke Meyer's first game in charge. The centre did find himself on the receiving end of Manu Tuilagi's power on a couple of occasions but then bounced back with the killer try in the second-half. A proud day for him for sure.

12 Felipe Contepomi (Argentina) – Those fortunate to catch the Pumas taking on Italy would have seen the influence Contepomi had on the game. He scored one try, kicked sixteen points and also showed a lovely touch to help Rodrigo Roncero on his way to five points.

11 Julian Savea (New Zealand) – PR found it mighty tough to leave out Bryan Habana as his season goes from strength to strength. But how can one snub a man who scores a hat-trick on his All Black debut? Savea finished nicely in Auckland. What price on a repeat this week?

10 Dan Carter (New Zealand) – It was a decent kicking return from Carter while he guided his backline well throughout. In truth no other fly-half came close to this jersey apart from maybe Greig Laidlaw. A bit of credit to Aaron Smith here as his service was flat and quick.

9 Will Genia (Australia) – You can either choose to believe that Genia saved Robbie Deans' job with his influential performance against Wales or not but what cannot be argued is his 10/10 rating in Brisbane. He was a magician, with these sorts of classy tries a joy to watch.

8 Kieran Read (New Zealand) – One of the nicest guys in rugby, Read showed yet again just how important he is to New Zealand. Todd Blackadder recently tagged him as the best player in the world and in our eyes he is definitely up there with the best of them. Quality.

7 David Pocock (Australia) – Some have this season talked of it being time for Michael Hooper and even Liam Gill to be given runs in the Wallaby jersey. They may have to wait a good while longer as Pocock was at his best against Wales. Mention for Chris Robshaw.

6 Willem Alberts (South Africa) – Our man-of-the-match from Durban and fully deserves his pick today. This season has seen the Sharks man on a seemingly endless road back from injury and on occasions has unbelievably struggled to make the XV. Saturday showed his worth though as he was a carrying beast who combined well with young Marcell Coetzee.

5 Sam Whitelock (New Zealand) – He really has grown as a player since the exit of Brad Thorn. Whitelock has such a bright and long future in the Black jersey and was tireless, intelligent and skilful against the Irish. He was also New Zealand's chief line-out taker.

4 Richie Gray (Scotland) – Yes folks, we are including Tuesday's international between the Wallabies and Scotland in our selection. Terrible conditions for open rugby but that is when teams need grafters to come to the party. Juandre Kruger and Geoff Parling get back pats.

3 Jannie du Plessis (South Africa) – The Springboks needed a solid set-piece against the English and that is what they got thanks largely to Du Plessis. Dan Cole was good in the first-half while Martin Castrogiovanni did well for Italy but we could not overlook this Bok.

2 Tatafu Polota-Nau (Australia) – One moment stood out as in the first-half he broke down the blindside before giving a beautiful no-look pass to a supporting Will Genia five metres in his wake. He was pretty good throughout which sees him edge out Bismarck du Plessis.

1 Rodrigo Roncero (Argentina) – Fourteen tackles and a try from the almost-retired prop. He wants to play in the 2012 Rugby Championship and on this form, it will be hard for head coach Santiago Phelan to leave out the veteran. A mention must be extended to New Zealand's Tony Woodcock, who enjoyed his weekend off from the struggling Blues.

Compiled by Adam Kyriacou
Twitter: @PlanetRugbyAK