Team of the Week: Rugby Championship

Date published: October 9 2017

With the dust having settled on Round 6 of the Rugby Championship, we’ve gone through the action to pick the best players from the weekend.

There’s a good mix of All Blacks, Springboks and Wallabies this week while one Puma makes our XV. Please leave your comments at the bottom.

Rugby Championship: Team of the Week

15 Damian McKenzie (New Zealand): The diminutive speedster scored the game-breaking try when he scythed through the Springbok defence in a moment of pure counter-attacking genius from full-back. He beat eight defenders and made four clean breaks for his 135 metres.

14 Marika Koroibete (Australia): It was a wonderful piece of finishing from Koroibete in which he brushed offed two defenders for the first try. Robust on defence and more than often not came out on top in the physicality stakes. A dream start to his Test career.

13 Ryan Crotty (New Zealand): Another tactically astute performance from Crotty as backline marshal and key distributor in the midfield. He beat three defenders, made two clean breaks and 62 metres from 10 strong carries. Edges out opposite number Jesse Kriel.

12 Jan Serfontein (South Africa): Narrowly edges out opposite number Sonny Bill Williams who made an awesome 23 tackles for the All Blacks. Serfontein beat a team-high eight defenders and was a constant threat on attack with his 13 carries for three clean breaks.

11 Reece Hodge (Australia): What a wonderful all-round performance in which he created a try and scored two others. He ran a fantastic support line for his second score. But the way he stepped off his left to make the break for Israel Folau’s try was breathtaking.

10 Bernard Foley (Australia): Foley delivered an excellent individual performance with ball in hand. While he didn’t have a great night off the tee, he did land key kicks to take the game away from the Pumas and sold an excellent dummy and step for a vital try.

9 Ross Cronje (South Africa): Scored a great try for the Boks after a lengthy build-up phase, showing a good appreciation of the law by placing the ball against the post. Dictated play for the backline and forward runners and the Boks’ outright nine at the moment.

8 Sean McMahon (Australia): Also impressive against Argentina. He delivered a bullet short pass to his winger Koroibete for his try. McMahon also worked extremely hard on attack, making 14 carries, 42 running metres and went past five defenders. A solid showing.

7 Siya Kolisi (South Africa): A relatively quiet game for one of the Boks’ best performers all season. However, he did the hard yards in the engine room, hitting plenty of rucks and contributed to an all round stunning Springbok effort despite their defeat at Newlands. Michael Hooper also led Australia well with his usual impressive link play between backs and forwards. He came a close second.

6 Jack Dempsey (Australia): Had a fantastic game for the Wallabies. He played a crucial role in setting up wing Koroibete’s awesome try, displaying his ball-handling skills. With ball in hand he also showed that he has quick feet while he also defended strongly.

5 Matias Alemanno (Argentina): Flying the flag for Argentina is Alemanno. It was another game where the Pumas lost a lock to the sin-bin but Alemanno was faultless on Saturday, scoring a well-taken try and also putting in a shift on defence with 17 tackles made.

4 Eben Etzebeth (South Africa): Keeping a lid on his abrasive style remains a concern for Etzebeth but his physicality was hugely beneficial to his side in their narrow loss to New Zealand. He made 13 carries and eight tackles in a real captain’s performance.

3 Sekope Kepu (Australia): We were impressed by both Wallabies props against Argentina, especially their skills and ability to slip the first tackle with good footwork. Kepu was all-action in Mendoza with eight strong carries that kept the Pumas on their toes.

2 Malcolm Marx (South Africa): What a performance. Marx was a rock at the breakdown, causing the All Blacks so much trouble in their quest for quick ball. His line-out went well, he carried 14 times for 65 metres and also picked up a hugely deserved try late on.

1 Steven Kitshoff (South Africa): Did everything that was asked of him on his first start for the Springboks. Kitshoff, who received a standing ovation from the Newlands faithful, was solid at the scrum and carried well throughout, making 14 runs for 40 metres.

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