Team of the Week: World Cup

Date published: October 26 2015

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With the weekend's Rugby World Cup semi-finals done and dusted, we've sat down to selected our Team of the Week.

Australia and New Zealand have both advanced to the big show next weekend at Twickenham after gutsy performances in defeat from South Africa and Argentina.

Each of the four are represented, including three Pumas in our tight five. Have a look below.

Team of the Semi-Finals

15 Ben Smith (New Zealand): Taking on the mantle from Conrad Smith as the All Black player who never seems to put a foot wrong. When the rain started coming down on Saturday, Smith stepped up, and it was his ability under the high ball that negated the Springboks' tactical kicking. He does just enough to edge out Joaquín Tuculet, who has been a star in the Pumas back three.

14 Adam Ashley-Cooper (Australia): There won't be many easier hat-tricks, but as so often Ashley-Cooper was in the right place at the right time. On the end of two magnificent passes for his two first-half scores, he then popped up in support to finish off Drew Mitchell's breaking run.

13 Marcelo Bosch (Argentina): With Juan Martín Hernández shaken up early, the Pumas needed a spark from their other midfield playmaker. On his return from suspension, Bosch stepped up, constantly causing Australia problems. With some better support lines from his teammates, Argentina might have scored the try they needed to level matters in the second half. Edges out Conrad Smith.

12 Ma’a Nonu (New Zealand): Another blockbuster performance from Nonu, who's delayed pass sent Beauden Barrett over for New Zealand's crucial second try. A constant menace with ball in hand, he also shut down the young Springbok midfield duo emphatically.

11 Santiago Cordero (Argentina): Shifted across to the left wing, an early knock-on as he tried to take a mark might have shaken Cordero, but he bounced back strongly and seemed to break through at will. Cordero will be a star in Super Rugby next season, and with better distribution at the end of those breaks, he will be up there with the world's best. Finished with 100 metres to his name.

10 Dan Carter (New Zealand): It's tough to leave out Nicolás Sánchez after his performance at Twickenham, while Bernard Foley also produced a couple of sublime passes. But Carter was a different class, with a virtually faultless display including a snap drop goal that turned the tide and then a strip on Schalk Burger that set up Barrett's winning try. Now he gets to play his first World Cup final.

9 Fourie du Preez (South Africa): Not too many contenders at scrum-half, but we'll reward the bravery of Du Preez, who somehow played all 80 minutes despite what looked to be a serious cheek injury. Instrumental to the Springboks' chances, he just edges out Will Genia, who was solid for the Wallabies.

8 David Pocock (Australia): Regardless of the result next Saturday, Pocock will surely be named World Player of the Year. Nobody influences the game more, and if he gets a sniff at the breakdown, the opposition don't have a chance. Finished Sunday's game bloodied and bruised but expect him to be ready for McCaw and co in the final.

7 Francois Louw (South Africa)The flanker spilt plenty of blood at Twickenham, finishing the semi-final with 13 tackles and having won two turnovers. Now 30, he has plenty left in the tank and will become a key leader in the build-up to the next World Cup. Gets the nod just ahead of Argentina's Juan Martín Hernández Lobbe.

6 Scott Fardy (Australia)Unreal yet again. The top tackler in Sunday's semi-final with 18 hits, Fardy also produced three turnovers and made three key takes at the lineout. Right up there as one of the best number sixes at this World Cup.

5 Sam Whitelock (New Zealand)Has quietly gone about his excellent business all tournament in the All Blacks second row. 72 caps already at the age of 27. He sneaks in ahead of Rob Simmons despite the lock's excellent interception score against Argentina.

4 Guido Petti (Argentina)One of the most impressive young performers at this World Cup. We spotted Petti's talent with the U20s and now the 20-year-old has rubber-stamped his potential. Carried and tackled with intent and made an impression in the lineout to make our side. The best is yet to come.

3 Ramiro Herrera (Argentina)A mindless performance in the quarter-final was wiped out by Herrera absolutely destroying James Slipper in the scrum for Argentina as they won countless penalties in the set-piece. Also chipped in with seven tackles.

2 Stephen Moore (Australia)The captain departed in the second half after five carries and nine tackles. Michael Cheika is getting the best out of his Test centurion and Moore has led the Wallabies very well throughout the tournament.

1 Marcos Ayerza (Argentina)At 32 we might have seen the last of Marcos Ayerza in a World Cup, and if so what a shame. Rarely less than outstanding, he has had a great tournament and once again dominated in the scrum. 

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