Planet Rugby

Team of the Week: Rugby Championship

18th August 2014 14:43

Share:

TEam of the week Rugby Championship round 1

Tough in the rain: Vermeulen and Charles

Now that the rain has stopped hammering down in the southern hemisphere, we pick out the stand-out performers from the opening round of the Rugby Championship.

Two very close contests made for some tight calls and an almost ever spread across the four nations.

Rugby Championship Team of the Week: Round One

15 Willie le Roux (South Africa): On a difficult evening when security under the high was of paramount importance, Le Roux once again showed his value. South Africa's best chance of scoring a second try came when he almost latched onto his own chip ahead.

14 Cornal Hendricks (South Africa): On weekend when opportunities for the wide men were few and far between, Hendricks nevertheless played an influential role as half of the combination that created the only try of Round One.

13 Malakai Fekitoa (New Zealand): A late inclusion following Conrad Smith's return to New Zealand for the birth of his child, if the giant All Black centre was a little rattled he didn't show it. Made plenty of metres and was solid in defence in conditions not made for backs.

12 Matt Toomua (Australia): It's no secret that the Wallabies love Toomua's defensive capabilities. The Brumbies man chopped and changed with Kurtley Beale in attack and was a more prominent kicking threat than his team-mate, making good ground in attack and beating a couple of defenders whilst chipping in with his share of tackles.

11 Julian Savea (New Zealand): Doing enough to see off the competition, Savea always looked for work in Sydney and made a high number of carries in comparison to the rest of the backlines. Such a tough force to bring down, even in the flood.

10 Nicolás Sánchez (Argentina): A lot was expected of the young Pumas pivot and he lived up to his billing as an exciting playmaker. Sánchez was the most dangerous runner at Loftus, beating four defenders and creating a golden opportunity for Manuel Montero, who surely would have scored if he had managed to hold on.

9 Aaron Smith (New Zealand): Strong competition for this spot from Ruan Pienaar, who scored the only try in either Test match, but we've gone with the All Blacks number nine. No one made more metres in Sydney as Smith got through a lot of work, kicking well in the process.

8 Duane Vermeulen (South Africa): The Stormers number eight formed part of an impressive combined effort from the entire Springbok back row. Vermeulen was a willing ball-carrier - which gave the Boks momentum in atrocious weather conditions - and hardly made a mistake at the back of the scrum, even though the Boks were under pressure in the set-phase. Also won a handful of line-outs and did well on defence with eight tackles.

7 Michael Hooper (Australia): The most difficult selection of the opening round as all the openside flankers impressed for their respective teams. All Blacks skipperRichie McCaw's 20 tackles was the most by a single player in the entire round, and Springbok tearaway Francois Louw was named man of the match in a game where Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe also impressed for los Pumas. But Hooper gets the nod after impressing as a ball carrier in his side's draw against the All Blacks. Also had a strong game on defence with 11 hits.

6 Marcell Coetzee (South Africa): Came in as a late replacement for Willem Alberts and delivered a storming performance in the unfamiliar blindside flanker position. Didn't do lots of ball-carrying but brought plenty of energy to the Bok team and combined well with Vermeulen and Louw, especially on defence where he led the way for South Africa with 14 tackles.

5 Sam Whitelock (New Zealand): The freak of nature in the All Blacks' engine room continues to excel, making 15 tackles against the Wallabies and getting his hands on the ball in attack. Also won three lineouts and stole two.

4 Mariano Galarza (Argentina): It rare to see the Springbok line-out put under pressure but Galarza pinched two throws off the home side and was the Puma's primary target on their own throw-ins. In those conditions, every ctach in the air was crucial. A mention for Sam Carter.

3 Ramiro Herrera (Argentina): What a performance from the Argentine scrum! The Castres prop dominated Beast Mtawarira. The old faces are gone from Argentina's front row, but it remains as formidable as ever. A mention too for Owen Franks.

2 Nathan Charles (Australia): Australia might have been concerned about tackling New Zealand without Stephen Moore or Tatafu Polota-Nau around, but Charles went well. A presence around the park, the Wallabies' line-out wasn't perfect neither was New Zealand's. Will only get better with experience, but he's a tough nut. A mention for Argentina skipper Agustín Creevy.

1 Marcos Ayerza (Argentina): A top performance from the Leicester loosehead, who got the better of Jannie du Plessis and put his bulk to good use around the park with some solid hits. A mention for James Slipper.

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 20
Sale vs London WelshSale vs London Welsh Preview
London Irish vs SaracensLondon Irish vs Saracens Preview
Harlequins vs WaspsHarlequins vs Wasps Preview
Bath vs LeicesterBath vs Leicester Preview
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle vs NorthamptonNewcastle vs Northampton Preview
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Saturday , September 20
Newport Gwent D'gons vs GlasgowNewport Gwent D
Scarlets vs Benetton TrevisoScarlets vs Benetton Treviso Preview
Sunday , September 21
Ospreys vs EdinburghOspreys vs Edinburgh Preview
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , September 20
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulouse14:45
La Rochelle vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
Castres vs Oyonnax18:30
Clermont Auvergne vs LyonClermont Auvergne vs Lyon Preview
Montpellier vs Stade Francais20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Saturday , September 20
Western Province vs Griquas15:00
Blue Bulls vs SharksBlue Bulls vs Sharks Preview
Eastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Saturday , September 20
Hawkes Bay vs Bay Of Plenty14:35
Auckland vs North HarbourAuckland vs North Harbour Preview
Manawatu vs Southland19:35
Sunday , September 21
Otago vs WaikatoOtago vs Waikato Preview
Wellington vs TasmanWellington vs Tasman Preview
Wednesday, September 24
North Harbour vs Canterbury19:35
Thursday , September 25
Bay Of Plenty vs Northland19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester 22 - 25 ExeterGloucester vs Exeter Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Munster 31 - 5 ZebreMunster vs Zebre Report
Cardiff Blues 9 - 26 UlsterCardiff Blues vs Ulster Report
Connacht 10 - 9 LeinsterConnacht vs Leinster Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Brive 13 - 53 ToulonBrive vs Toulon Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Lions 29 - 15 Pumas
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Counties Manukau 20 - 28 CanterburyCounties Manukau vs Canterbury Report
Thursday , September 18
Northland 20 - 31 TaranakiNorthland vs Taranaki Report
Wednesday, September 17
Southland 14 - 38 TasmanSouthland vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 14
Wasps 20 - 16 NorthamptonWasps vs Northampton Report
Newcastle 18 - 20 London IrishNewcastle vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Cardiff Blues 12 - 33 GlasgowCardiff Blues vs Glasgow Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 27 - 21 MontpellierBordeaux-Begles vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
ITM Cup
Waikato 26 - 21 Counties ManukauWaikato vs Counties Manukau Report
Hawkes Bay 41 - 0 Otago
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 13
Gloucester 34 - 27 Sale SharksGloucester vs Sale Sharks Report
Bath 53 - 26 London WelshBath vs London Welsh Report
Exeter 20 - 24 LeicesterExeter vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
New Zealand 14 - 10 South AfricaNew Zealand vs South Africa Report
Australia 32 - 25 ArgentinaAustralia vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Leinster 42 - 12 ScarletsLeinster vs Scarlets Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulouse 9 - 13 Clermont AuvergneToulouse vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Toulon 24 - 28 Stade FrancaisToulon vs Stade Francais Report
Racing Metro Paris 28 - 11 LyonRacing Metro Paris vs Lyon Report
Oyonnax 40 - 27 Grenoble
More Top 14 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Exeter310
2Saracens29
3Bath29
4Leicester Tigers29
5Northampton26