After the completion of the second round of Test matches this November, we select who stood out and choose our Team of the Week.
After their comprehensive demolition of South Africa, Ireland lead the way with five representatives in our team and there’s a fair spread amongst the other countries who were in action.
See who made the cut below.
Team of the Week
15 Kurtley Beale (Australia): Despite his semi-nude photo with Prince William and a disastrous attempt at scrumming, Beale had a fantastic outing against Wales. He scored a try and ran 82 meters, including a solitary clean break. His six tackles were also impressive considering he is not known for his defensive abilities. Beale combined hard-work with his still world-class X-factor. Soso Matiashvili also shone in Georgia’s win over Canada.
14 Waisake Naholo (New Zealand): The Fijian-born flyer did well in the world champions’ victory over France at the Stade de France. Seemed to be in the right place at the right time on a couple of occasions and crossed for tries in both instances. Also put his body on the line in defence and eventually made seven tackles.
13 Huw Jones (Scotland): Made his return to the international arena, after a lengthy injury lay-off, and delivered a superb all-round performance in his side’s narrow victory over Samoa at Murrayfield. Jones was a constant threat on attack, gaining 82 metres from 11 runs which included a clean break, two defenders beaten, an offload and a deserved try.
12 Bundee Aki (Ireland): Had a fantastic debut for his adopted country against the Boks. Caught the eye with 15 tackles – only CJ Stander managed more with 16 – including a massive hit on Coenie Oosthuizen which forced the Bok prop off the field. Aki was not the regular attacking force that we are used to, but he fits into Ireland’s system with ease, showed plenty of determination and will be an asset to them going forward.
11 Andrew Conway (Ireland): He might have played on the right wing but we had to find place for him im our side after a fine performance against the Springboks. Playing in only his fourth Test, Conway was one of his side’s best players and was rewarded with his first Test try after gaining 99 metres on attack with three clean breaks and two defenders beaten and he also had one try assist. Rieko Ioane also played well for the All Blacks.
10 Jonathan Sexton (Ireland): Totally controlled the game in an impressive win against the Springboks. His goal-kicking kept the scoreboard ticking and his kicks from hand consistently pinned the Boks back inside their own half. Sexton also dictated play when running with ball in hand and was instrumental in the numerous times the home side ran the ball to totally floor the Bok defenders.
9 Antoine Dupont (France): The young Toulouse star, making only his second start for les Bleus has got everyone to sit up and take notice of his talents. And what a talent he is as he showed with seven defenders beaten and four clean breaks for 91 metres. Constant threat on attack at scrum-half.
8 Nathan Hughes (England): The Wasps talisman had a cracking game for his national side on Saturday putting in a typically industrious and robust performance with 15 carries, two defenders beaten and a try for his efforts. Just edges out Ireland powerhouse CJ Stander who made 16 tackles and 12 carries.
7 Sam Underhill (England): Underhill was solid as a rock on defence in only his second start for England. Making 21 tackles, the Bath man surely shows the exact sort of commitment on defence that Eddie Jones would expect of his players. Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper also impressed and was rewarded with a try for his efforts.
6 Pablo Matera (Argentina): Despite finishing on the losing side against England, Matera made an exceptional 22 carries, beating four defenders for 62 metres. He is a classy loose forward who boasts an impressive all-round skill set, able to link up play between backs and forwards with his neat passing and tidy handling.
5 Adam Coleman (Australia): A workhorse cleaning out at ruck time, Coleman did a lot of the dirty work that so often goes unnoticed. But still got himself on the try column. Leone Nakarawa shone for Fiji with a try against Italy while New Zealand’s Sam Whitelock made 17 tackles and constantly cleaning out at the rucks.
4 Iain Henderson (Ireland): The British and Irish Lion was at the forefront of Ireland’s forward effort in a memorable triumph over the Springboks in Dublin. Henderson was a tireless carrier, gaining 24 metres from seven runs and his bump off on Bok hardman Eben Etzebeth was one of the highlights of that game. Also made five tackles and was solid in the lineouts.
3 Tadhg Furlong (Ireland): Cemented his reputation as arguably the world’s best player in his position with another solid effort in Dublin. Furlong tood up well in the scrums against Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira and got the better of his more experienced opponent on a couple of occasions in the set-piece.
2 Stuart McInally (Scotland): The Edinburgh stalwart was in fine form for his country in a tight encounter against a determined Samoan side. McInally performed well in his core duties but it was on attack that he made his biggest impact and he was rewarded with a brace of tries for his efforts. Also did well on defence and eventually made nine tackles.
1 Mako Vunipola (England): Delivered an outstanding all-round performance in a hard-fought encounter against Argentina and was rewarded with the Man-of-the-Match award for his efforts. Vunipola scrummed well, was excellent in the loose and made an incredible 19 tackles. All Black Kane Hames also impressed against France.