Team of the Week: World Cup

Date published: September 28 2015

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After Ireland and Romania rounded off a busy week of action in the Rugby World Cup, we sat down to pick our Team of the Week.

Week Two's matches began back on Wednesday, giving us plenty to choose from, with Wales' huge win over England at Twickenham naturally grabbing the headlines.

It all kicks off again on Tuesday when Tonga face Namibia, so let's quickly get through our selection from the last few days of action.

Team of the Week

15 Simon Zebo (Ireland): Such a dangerous runner when he plays at full-back and Romania found that out the hard way on Sunday. He came so close to scoring the game's first try at Wembley but would go on to assist two scores whilst running over 100 metres with ball in hand. Ayumu Goromaru stood out again for Japan despite their big loss to Scotland.

14 JP Pietersen (South Africa)The Springbok winger was strong in defence and looked after the massive Alesana Tuilagi well all afternoon. While the flyer was perhaps lucky to escape yellow card after a silly challenge, his finishing skills were superb on the day as he ran in three tries for South Africa, with 83 metres and three clean breaks to his name. Mentions for Ireland's Tommy Bowe and Argentina's Santiago Cordero.

13 Mark Bennett (Scotland): It was a disappointing first half for the Scots but after the break they clicked into gear, with five tries seeing off the Eagles. Bennett was one of the key contributors to the Scottish recovery as he made five carries over the gainline and also scored twice earlier in the week against Japan. Solid.

12 Damien de Allende (South Africa)The burly centre gets the nod this week despite starting and only making it a handful of minutes into the second-half. The Stormers back asked consistent questions of the Samoan defence with six carries over the gain line and tackled his heart out. Gets in ahead of Wales' Jamie Roberts.

11 DTH van der Merwe (Canada): Outstanding once again for the Canadians as they gave Italy a real test in Leeds on Saturday. Van der Merwe offered himself as a willing runner throughout and deserved what was a brilliant score that saw him combine nicely with Ciaran Hearn.

10 Dan Biggar (Wales): One of many heroes wearing red at Twickenham on Saturday. Biggar showed that Wales can win big games even without Leigh Halfpenny as their kicker as he landed crucial kick after crucial kick. 23 points from the Welsh fly-half in a faultless showing. Owen Farrell also did well for England.

9 Fourie du Preez (South Africa)The South African veteran fired up the previously stagnant backline, with his service being just as crisp in the first minute as it was in the 73rd minute when he made way for Ruan Pienaar. The Springboks will need Du Preez’s superb rugby brain if they are going to go far at the tournament.

8 Taulupe Faletau (Wales): Wales’ surge in the second-half at Twickenham came partly down to Faletau moving up through the gears as he put in an outstanding display, making 12 tackles and a couple of turnovers. Never stops working at the base of the scrum. A mention for Japan’s Amanaki Mafi who was outstanding until he went off injured against Scotland.

7 Sean McMahon (Australia): The Wallabies had it fairly easy against Uruguay but McMahon stood out with his two tries off the back of the rolling maul and general great work around the field, including some carries on attack. 67 metres made is top work with the ball in hand and he was the top tackler with 13.

6 Dan Lydiate (Wales): Wales appeared divided when Lydiate was selected ahead of Justin Tipuric for Saturday’s crunch game at Twickenham, but Lydiate’s physicality was required and he was game’s top tackler with 15 hits. Never backs down.

5 Alun Wyn Jones (Wales): Having him fit for Saturday’s game was so important for Wales and the assured presence of Jones in the second-row helped them grind away at England until they took the lead late on. Made 13 tackles and made plenty of key carries. Leone Nakarawa was again impressive for Fiji in midweek while Victor Matfield was supreme at the lineout against Samoa.

4 Eben Etzebeth (South Africa): Despite Lood de Jager having a great game for the Boks in defeat to Japan, arguably the only standout performer, Etzebeth returned in Birmingham and worked well with Victor Matfield as he topped the carries and offload stats.

3 WP Nel (Scotland): The new Scotland prop saw action on Wednesday and Sunday for Vern Cotter’s side and he delivered, helping Scotland to boss the scrum against Japan before coming off the bench against the USA to score one of Scotland’s many second-half tries. Looks a great addition after qualifying through residency.

2 Tom Youngs (England): Youngs’ form for England has been scrutinised over the last year, and even more so after Dylan Hartley made himself unavailable, but Saturday was arguably his best game in a white shirt. With him on the field the lineout was slick.

1 Joe Marler (England): Despite drawing criticism for angling in at the scrum by those watching at home, you can only play what’s in front of you and Marler helped England dominate Wales in that part of the set-piece while he was on the park. Scott Sio went well against Uruguay too.

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