Team of the Week: November Tests

Date published: November 14 2016

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After the second round of international matches this November, we select who stood out and choose our Team of the Week.

Saturday was packed full of international action with a number of standout performers as a result, as England ended a long wait to defeat South Africa and Australia broke Scottish hearts once again at Murrayfield.

See who made our selection below.

November Tests: Team of the Week

15 Tiernan O’Halloran (Ireland)The Connacht stalwart delivered an excellent display in his side’s win over Canada and showed that he is the perfect back-up for Rob Kearney as Ireland’s first-choice full-back. O’Halloran gained 69 metres on attack from 12 runs, with two clean bracks, a couple of defenders beaten and a brace of tries.

14 Waisake Naholo (New Zealand)The All Black flyer was back to his best – after a low-key effort against Ireland the previous week – and proved a real handful with ball in hand. Naholo gained an incredible 156 metres on attack from 12 runs with eight defenders beaten, three clean breaks, two offloads and scored a deserved try. Beats out Japan’s Lomano Lemeki.

13 Huw Jones (Scotland)The Stormers man delivered a superb allround performance against the Wallabies at Murrafield and was rewarded with a brace of tries. Jones finished with 61 metres gained, from seven runs with two clean breaks, two defenders beaten and an offload. Edges out New Zealand’s’s Malakai Fekitoa.

12 Wesley Fofana (France)Fofana proved a real handful to Samoa’s defence and delivered arguably his best Test performance of 2016. Gained 83 metres from 15 runs with one clean break, six defenders beaten and four offloads of which three were try assists.

11 Virimi Vakatawa (France)The standout individual performance of the weekend, Vakatawa was simply phenomenal as France put Samoa to the sword in Toulouse. The Fijian-born wing scored a hat-trick of tries after gaining 103 metres, with four clean breaks, seven defenders beaten, and an offload from 14 runs. Liam Williams of Wales also impressed.

10 George Ford (England)The fly-half was England’s general in their win over South Africa and capped off a strong performance with a try. Ford also made two clean breaks and six tackles without missing one. Under Eddie Jones’s coaching he is starting to establish himself as one of best number tens in the world, and he managed the game brilliant in the conditions.

9 Ben Youngs (England): Outstanding with two try assists, twice breaking through around the fringes after selling Pieter-Steph du Toit with dummies. Both breaks led to tries. Youngs also beat four defenders in the process and was unlucky not to get the Man of the Match award.

8 Louis Picamoles (France)The France number eight was industrious against Samoa and beat four defenders. Picamoles also managed two offloads, a try-assist and seven tackles without missing any. Gets the nod ahead of Billy Vunipola.

7 David Pocock (Australia)Pocock was immense in Australia’s narrow victory over Scotland, especially on defence where he made 13 tackles and only missed one. He made 26 metres with 14 runs resulting in one clean break, and was a constant threat at the breakdown. Two offloads and three defenders beaten tells the story of an impressive performance from Sean O’Brien for Ireland against Canada.

6 Chris Robshaw (England)Despite the Springboks picking three locks in their starting XV, Robshaw still managed to steal a lineout ball in England’s 37-21 victory. The reliable flanker also made 10 tackles and made 33 metres with ball in hand in an industrious display from the former captain. Elliot Dixon made quite an impression for the All Blacks against Italy with a try and try-assist. He also made three clean breaks and made five tackles without missing one.

5 Jonny Gray (Scotland)

The second-rower displayed an almost perfect performance against Australia on Saturday. He was incredible on defence after making a whopping 24 tackles, while scoring a try for his side. He was also superb in distribution as he passed 12 times, an uncharacteristic amount for a lock, to keep his side constantly going forward. Patrick Tuipulotu gets a shout out for producing a brilliant attacking game, where he beat two defenders, made two clean breaks and scored a try.

4 Joe Launchbury (England):

The lock produced a Man of the Match performance against the Springboks after an incredibly industrious day in defence. He made eight tackles while not missing a single hit. Launchbury was also great in the set piece after winning every line-out on his side’s throw. Alun Wyn Jones gets a mention after making 11 tackles and getting a vital turnover against Argentina.

3 Zander Fagerson (Scotland)

The prop had a brilliant day at the office against Australia. His endurance was tested, and he past with flying colours as he ran all over the park, making 12 tackles in the process.

2 Stephen Moore (Australia)

The Wallaby skipper brought his usual physical presence to the Scottish Test. Moore was evasive on attack after making a number of clean breaks while off loading like a backline player. His defensive effort was also laudable after making 13 tackles.

1 Gethin Jenkins (Wales)

The Welsh strongman was impressive for his side as they looked to disrupt the Argentine effort. Jenkins was ever-present on defence after making 10 tackles, he also made some important steals to rob the South Americans of their possession. Mako Vunipola gets a mention for his 10 tackles made against South Africa.

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