Planet Rugby

Rugby Championship: XV of the Week

01st October 2012 14:46

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Bryan Habana SA v Aus RC 2012

Back to his best: Bryan Habana

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 Zane Kirchner (South Africa): Even Pat Lambie supporters can't argue that Kirchner had a solid outing - and not for the first time - at the back for South Africa. He ran hard and his positional play was sound. His try in front of his home crowd was just reward for a job well done, while he was exceptionally unlucky not to have bagged a brace.

14 Bryan Habana (South Africa): Habana is like a fine red wine - he just keeps getting better with age. Whilst not fully satisfied with one try, he crossed for two more to take his tally of Test tries to 46 as the veteran flyer picked Australia's defence apart. Superb!

13 Marcelo Bosch (Argentina): Things didn't go according to plan for his team, but Bosch did his reputation little harm and made the most of his chances with ball in hand whilst he was very busy on defence.

12 Ma'a Nonu (New Zealand): Exposed some poor Pumas defence on multiple occasions. Nonu powered through to set up Aaron Smith, before crossing for one himself in one of his better outings for NZ.

11 Cory Jane (New Zealand): Played on the right, but there was no way we were going to leave the All Blacks' hat-trick hero out of this team. Jane simply reconfirmed his class out wide for the world champions. Magnificent!

10 Dan Carter (New Zealand): He's baaack! It was a clinical performance from Carter, who missed the last two rounds of the championship due to a calf injury. Slotted three conversions and two penalties, but his precise option taking is what really stood out. Mention too for Johann Goosen who, in his first start for the Boks, turned in a thrilling display at Loftus Versfeld.

9 Ruan Pienaar (South Africa): It was a toss up between Pienaar and Aaron Smith, but in the end we went for the Bok number nine who was full of sniping breaks and proved to be an annoying thorn in the Wallabies' side. Also shouldered much of the kicking responsibilities (for goal and tactical).

8 Kieran Read (New Zealand): It's official: Read is without a doubt the best number eight in the business. There's not much else we can add to that!

7 Francois Louw (South Africa): If everyone thought replacing Morne Steyn with Goosen was Heyneke Meyer's best decision yet as Bok coach... you're probably right. But another good decision was sending an SOS to England-based Louw, who has answered his country's call with aplomb. It was one of Louw's finest performances in a Bok jersey.

6 Liam Messam (New Zealand): A demon on defence. Messam also affected some important breakdown turnovers, and was successful in slowing the Pumas' ruck recycle to the point where the hosts battled for any significant attacking momentum. In his best display in the black jersey so far.

5 Andries Bekker (South Africa): Much, much better from Bekker who made up for his dismal outing in Mendoza. Got stuck in from start to finish, smothering would-be Wallaby attackers on defence while produced some nice handling touches as well. Australia's tall timber struggled to scale South Africa's man-mountain, who won all of his own line-out ball.

4 Luke Romano (New Zealand): Prominent in the set-pieces, and covered plenty of ground on defence, whilst got the ball over the advantage line on attack. Also instrumental in support play.

3 Jannie du Plessis (South Africa): Anchored South Africa's scrum and impressed in the tight-loose. His general play has also improved considerably since the start of the tournament.

2 Adriaan Strauss (South Africa): Good darts in the line-out from South Africa's vice-captain and held up well at scrum-time. Got through a mountain of donkey work at ruck time too, and helped SA to dominate the breakdown.

1 Tony Woodcock (New Zealand): As usual, he did his basics well and also impressed with his defensive work - especially around the fringes of the rucks and mauls.

By Dave Morris

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , October 3
Bath vs Saracens19:45
Saturday , October 4
London Irish vs Northampton15:00
Harlequins vs London Welsh15:00
Gloucester vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , October 5
Sale vs Wasps14:00
Newcastle vs Exeter15:00
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Rugby Championship
Saturday , October 4
South Africa vs New Zealand16:05
Argentina vs Australia23:40
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Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 3
Connacht vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Ulster vs Edinburgh19:35
Zebre vs Ospreys19:35
Saturday , October 4
Leinster vs Munster18:30
Sunday , October 5
Benetton Treviso vs Glasgow14:00
Scarlets vs Newport Gwent D'gons16:00
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Top 14
Friday , October 3
Oyonnax vs Toulon20:45
Saturday , October 4
Bordeaux-Begles vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Racing Metro Paris vs Brive18:30
Bayonne vs Montpellier18:30
La Rochelle vs Lyon18:30
Castres vs Grenoble18:30
Toulouse vs Stade Francais20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , October 3
Pumas vs Blue Bulls15:00
Sharks vs Lions19:10
Saturday , October 4
Cheetahs vs Western Province14:00
Griquas vs Eastern Province Kings15:00
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Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Wednesday, October 1
Hawkes Bay 36 - 14 WellingtonHawkes Bay vs Wellington Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 28
Wasps 35 - 18 NewcastleWasps vs Newcastle Report
Exeter 36 - 13 HarlequinsExeter vs Harlequins Report
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Guinness PRO12
Newport Gwent D'gons 33 - 15 Benetton TrevisoNewport Gwent D
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ITM Cup
Tasman 32 - 24 OtagoTasman vs Otago Report
Canterbury 26 - 28 SouthlandCanterbury vs Southland Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 27
Leicester 19 - 22 London IrishLeicester vs London Irish Report
Saracens 40 - 19 Sale SharksSaracens vs Sale Sharks Report
Northampton 31 - 24 BathNorthampton vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
South Africa 28 - 10 AustraliaSouth Africa vs Australia Report
Argentina 13 - 34 New ZealandArgentina vs New Zealand Report
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Guinness PRO12
Zebre 13 - 6 UlsterZebre vs Ulster Report
Munster 14 - 19 OspreysMunster vs Ospreys Report
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Top 14
Toulon 40 - 17 MontpellierToulon vs Montpellier Report
Grenoble 27 - 25 Racing Metro ParisGrenoble vs Racing Metro Paris Report
Brive 34 - 24 Bordeaux-Begles
Oyonnax 8 - 19 Clermont Auvergne
Stade Francais 43 - 10 La Rochelle
Lyon 28 - 18 Castres
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Sharks 53 - 24 Eastern Province KingsSharks vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Griquas 8 - 46 LionsGriquas vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Waikato 20 - 22 ManawatuWaikato vs Manawatu Report
North Harbour 28 - 25 Hawkes Bay
Counties Manukau 55 - 7 WellingtonCounties Manukau vs Wellington Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 26
London Welsh 10 - 46 GloucesterLondon Welsh vs Gloucester Report
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Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens418
2Northampton416
3Bath415
4Exeter414
5Wasps411