XV of the Week: Rugby Championship

Date published: August 21 2012

Now that the dust has settled in the southern hemisphere, we take a look at the players who stole the show in the Rugby Championship.

Now that the dust has settled in the southern hemisphere, Planet Rugby looks at the players who stole the show in the Rugby Championship

15 Israel Dagg (New Zealand) – The star full-back caused havoc whenever he touched the ball and scored a try before setting up the other. Class act.

14 Bryan Habana (South Africa) – Playing in the unfamiliar position of right wing, the player on 'home' soil rose highest to snaffle Morne Steyn's cross-field tester and grounded well for what was a key moment in the game. Add in that he made the most running metres and we had our pick.

13 Ma'a Nonu (New Zealand) – Excellent running lines from Nonu and Sonny Bill Williams played a major role in deciding the result. The former also demonstrated how to run a fine decoy on several occasions to keep the defenders guessing. A mention for a typically solid Jean de Villiers.

12 Santiago Fernández (Argentina) – No doubt a contentious selection but cast one's mind back to Newlands and try to remember Francois Steyn having a typical line-breaking impact. Indeed the Shark was well contained by Fernández, who will want to continue that trend in Mendoza.

11 Digby Ioane (Australia) – Still he waits for that drought-breaking score but for what he has been lacking in five-pointers, Ioane made up for in hard graft. The wing was arguably Australia's standout back and caused the All Blacks problems when in possession.

10 Morne Steyn (South Africa) – What better way to answer your critics than with a flawless record off the tee? Heyneke Meyer's faith was rewarded as the fly-half controlled things well.

9 Aaron Smith (New Zealand) – The baby of the All Blacks' XV once again played with the know-how of someone possessing 30 caps and not his measly four. A major positive from Smith's arrival in the Test setup is his brisk service and it seems to be aiding Dan Carter.

8 Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe (Argentina) – Led from the front for the new-boys. Lobbe made the most tackles (eleven) and also claimed six line-outs at the tail. He most definitely got the better of Keegan Daniel and just about shades Kieran Read to our eight position.

7 Richie McCaw (New Zealand) – One of the first names on the Planet Rugby teamsheet. Tackles galore and an all-round captain's performance from the veteran openside flank.

6 Marcell Coetzee (South Africa) – Going off jersey number and not position this week we continue to marvel at the form of young Coetzee. Unflappable from the ball-carrying flanker.

5 Andries Bekker (South Africa) – Coach Meyer went with franchise combinations over the weekend and while we thought it would be Eben Etzebeth taking South Africa's engine room by the scruff of the neck, it turned out to be his senior. An impressive ten line-outs from him.

4 Nathan Sharpe (Australia) – One word comes to mind about Sharpe at the moment and that is evergreen. A try for the 34-year-old in a workmanlike shift that belied his ageing body.

3 Owen Franks (New Zealand) – His workrate for a tighthead prop needs to be applauded. This weekend he is set to be alongside his brother Ben so it is double trouble for Australia.

2 Adriaan Strauss (South Africa) – Talk about taking your chance. Strauss is poised for an extended run in the XV and judging by Saturday, he won't disappoint. There was a spell in the second-half when he seemed to be carrying more than his forward mates combined.

1 Tendai Mtawarira (South Africa) – The least contested position in our line-up has been saved until last. Rodrigo Roncero was unusually quiet, Tony Woodcock came off after 64 minutes while Benn Robinson had a tough evening against a certain Mr Franks. Net result, we go with an industrious Mtawarira, who enjoyed a solid game up front in Cape Town.

By Adam Kyriacou