It's time for our weekly wrap up of who has their name in lights at the moment … and who is making the headlines for the wrong reasons.
It is time for our weekly wrap up of who has their name in lights at the moment…and who is making the headlines for the wrong reasons.
They're on fire!
Southern Hemisphere nations: The All Blacks provided the final flourish of Southern Hemisphere wins this past weekend after protecting their 59-year winning run over Wales. Australia, South Africa, Tonga and Fiji also squeezed to narrow victories over Italy, England, Scotland and Georgia respectively to maintain the south's dominance of the November internationals in the third weekend of matches. And let's not forget the USA, who swept past Romania 34-3 in Bucharest.
Ireland and France: First Ireland ended their longest losing run in 14 years with a surprisingly heavy win over Argentina, with Test debutant Craig Gilroy scoring the first of the team's seven tries. Then France survived a scare from Samoa to clip out a 22-14 win and achieve their first sweep of November Tests in seven years, cementing their place inside the top four of the IRB's world rankings as Europe's highest-ranked side.
Richie McCaw: Delivered another superb performance in the All Blacks' win over Wales. McCaw was always in the thick of the action, be it on defence and attack and as captain he certainly led from the front.
Craig Gilroy: A star was born during Ireland's thumping of Argentina. Either by using slick footwork or bulldozing through tackles, Gilroy tormented Argentina throughout and – besides touching down for Ireland's opening try – was involved in the build-up of three more in what was an outstanding Test debut.
Census Johnstone's grubber kick: Apart from a solid performance in the scrums, the big Samoan prop showed that he has brains to match his brawn when he put through a beautifully-weighted kick for Robert Lilomaiava to chase. With little space to manoeuvre, the wing had the presence of mind to offload to David Lemi who scored under the posts.
Springbok line-out: The Bok pack can take a bow as they didn't lose a single ball on their own throw-in during their three-match tour to Europe! While jumpers like Eben Etzebeth, Juandre Kruger and Duane Vermeulen deserve credit for securing the bulk of the possession at the set-piece, a special word of praise must go to hooker Adriaan Strauss whose throws were accurate throughout.
Get these guys a cup of warm soup!
Argentina: The Pumas went from hero to zero in the space of two weeks. Their famous win over Wales in Cardiff a fortnight ago must seem a distant memory now for their fans who watched in horror as the men in blue and white hoops conceded seven tries in Dublin. Argentina did give themselves some respectability on the scoreboard with two consolation tries, but by then the damage had already been done.
Scotland: Slumped to another miserable loss which led to the resignation of head coach Andy Robinson. A season which featured early World Cup elimination and a Six Nations wooden spoon was revived by the June wins in Australia, Fiji and Samoa before New Zealand, South Africa and Tonga inflicted defeats which saw Scotland fall outside the top eight seeds for the 2015 World Cup draw.
Andrew Hore: The All Black hooker's swinging punch on Wales lock Bradley Davies was rightly labelled as a cheap shot by Dragons coach Warren Gatland. Hore's attack must rank alongside Dean Greyling's effort on Richie McCaw as the worst act of thuggery in Tests this year.
Chris Robshaw's decision-making: After opting to kick for touch when he should've gone for posts in the loss to Australia, Robshaw did the opposite with two minutes left on the clock in their defeat to South Africa last weekend. The England skipper must be doing a lot of introspection ahead of this weekend's clash with New Zealand at Twickenham.
Georgia: Saturday's defeat to Fiji saw the Lelos crash to their fourth consecutive defeat on the trot – their worst run since 2009.
By Dave Morris and David Skippers