Planet Rugby

Rugby Championship: XV of the Week

08th October 2012 14:19

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Ma a Nonu try South Africa New Zealand 2012

Mixed it up: Ma'a Nonu

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 Mike Harris (Australia): In for the injured Berrick Barnes, Harris played a telling role for the Wallabies. Not even red and green lasers could stop the full-back from slotting seven out of his eight kicks at goal for a personal haul of 20 points.

14 Gonzalo Camacho (Argentina): By far Argentina's best back on show in Rosario, Camacho was full of running and gained a whopping 44m for his team in attack whilst he was also responsible for several turnovers for the Pumas.

13 Conrad Smith (New Zealand): Gave the Springbok tacklers a torrid time as the veteran centre continually sucked in defenders. Led a defensive line that barely faltered, whilst also ran in for New Zealand's bonus-point try. Reliable as ever.

12 Ma'a Nonu (New Zealand): Using his considerable mass to great effect in both defence and attack, Nonu turned the match on its head with his early second-half try that both side's described as the turning point of the Test. Mention too for Pat McCabe who was a demon on defence.

11 Hosea Gear (New Zealand): Needed a big performance and delivered. A constant threat out wide with ball in hand and helped set up Aaron Smith's well-worked try. All Blacks coach Steve Hansen won't be having sleepless nights with the number of destructive wings at his disposal, that's for sure!

10 Dan Carter (New Zealand): It's becoming quite a tricky task finding new descriptions for the All Blacks playmaker after silencing a crowd of 85,000 by piloting the world champions to success at altitude.

9 Nick Phipps (Australia): Tough one this. Aaron Smith hardly put a foot wrong, but neither did Phipps who controlled the wet ball well in slippery conditions and came oh so close to scoring.

8 Kieran Read (New Zealand): A staggering work-rate once again from the number eight. Had Bok defenders frantically back-pedalling whenever he got his safe hands on the pigskin.

7 Michael Hooper (Australia): The Wallabies' young gun was a standout in Rosario - not only did he produce one of the few Test highlights by racing 60 metres downfield after grabbing an opposition line-out throw, but was also Australia's leading defender with 10 tackles.

6 Liam Messam (New Zealand): Has very quickly implanted himself as an important member of this All Blacks team, stepping up his consistency and impact. The loss of Jerome Kaino doesn't look to be a massive train smash after all.

5 Sam Whitelock (New Zealand): An accomplished Test performance from the big man in the second row for NZ. Landed the first uppercut for the All Blacks when he charged in for his team's opening try and was a leading line-out taker.

4 Nathan Sharpe (Australia): Australia's fourth stand-in skipper led from the front superbly, kept his ill-discipline in check and gave as good he received against a strong Pumas pack.

3 Jannie du Plessis (South Africa): His work-rate wasn't overly visible which isn't always a bad thing. But what we did see from Doctor du Plessis in his 50-odd minutes on the field was an injection of power at scrum-time.

2 Andrew Hore (New Zealand): Played with intensity and urgency. Was almost mistaken for a loose forward at times!

1 Tendai Mtawarira (South Africa) Another tough position to fill. It's never easy going head to head against the All Blacks front-row, but the Beast did his reputation little harm.

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