Planet Rugby

June Tests: Team of the Week

09th June 2014 14:02

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Team of the week 1 June 2014

Outstanding: Folau and Robshaw

Now that the dust has settled around the world, Planet Rugby thought it was only right to hand out some praise to the stars of last weekend's Test matches.

June Tests - Team of the Week: Week One

15 Israel Folau (Australia): You couldn't ask for much more from a full-back: Folau scored a try, helped set up two more as he beat six defenders and made 134m with ball in hand. Give this guy time and space, and you will get punished, as France found out. A mention for Willie le Roux, South Africa's most exciting player.

14 Adam Ashley-Cooper (Australia): AAC's versatility brings such value to the Wallaby setup as he carried his strong Super Rugby form into the international season with another well-taken try and, more importantly, made influential contributions to a number of attacking moves.

13 Manu Tuilagi (England): A menace to contain, always sucking in defenders, Tuilagi never quite broke free against the All Blacks but he gave them a lot of work to do every time he carried the ball into contact. No one made more metres or more carries. He's a wrecking ball. Credit to Conrad Smith for his matchwinning try.

12 Nemani Nadolo (Fiji): After taking Super Rugby by storm, the Crusaders winger - of similar style and stature to Jonah Lomu - returned to Test duty on Saturday and surprised most of us by knocking over a few goals from inside centre after powering his way over for a trademark try.

11 Bryan Habana (South Africa): His own try was impressive, but the slaloming run, link-up play and sumptuous offload to send Bakkies Botha crashing over the whitewash was what really caught the eye. He made 75 metres, three clean breaks, and beat two defenders in an excellent winger's performance. A mention for Manuel Montero who scored a fantastic try for Argentina.

10 Freddie Burns (England): So many people doubted Burns after his awful form this season with Gloucester, but at Eden Park he looked like the player Stuart Lancaster has always believed he can be. Burns was assured off the boot, finding the corners and kicking his goals, while also proving solid in defence. His flat passes helped open up the opposition defence. Some performance.

9 Aaron Smith (New Zealand): The best player for the All Blacks at the base of the scrum, Smith was industrious in trying to catch England out around the fringes by using his speed. Aaron Cruden looked rusty outside him, but Smith held his own.

8 Damien Chouly (France): The diamand in the rough for France, Chouly was the only player in blue worthy of his jersey. He carried well and was contributed at line-out time. A mention for both number eights at Eden Park where Ben Morgan and Jerome Kaino worked hard.

7 Chris Robshaw (England): Outstanding. From his opening carry to his statement afterwards that losing wasn't good enough, Robshaw underlined just why he is England's captain. He made 61 metres, more than any other New Zealand player, leading by example. His best performance for his country. A mention for the new Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper, who was ruthless against France.

6 Robbie Diack (Ireland): On debut, the Jo'burg-born back-row really put in a shift, and can be forgiven for the early butchery of an overlap as he crashed through the Argentine defence rather than giving the pass outside him. 12 carries, three defenders beaten, and a perfect ten from ten tackles for the Ulster flank.

5 Rob Simmons (Australia): One of few positives for the Reds so far this season, Simmonds turned in a workmanlike performance on home turf in Brisbane. While he made 19 metres from seven carries, making a clean break and beating two defenders in the process, he also defended very well and claimed all 11 of his lineout balls. Geoff Parling deserves credit for his display at Eden Park.

4 Bakkies Botha (South Africa): Is he too old? The sight of the Bok enforcer galloping home for an excellent try went a long way to silencing the critics. Brodie Retallick put in a solid shift for the All Blacks while Sam Carter impressed on debut, making no less than 17 tackles!

3 Carl Hayman (World XV): The Springbok scrum was made to look silly by a World XV that only had two sessions together to prepare with Hayman showing he still packs some serious grunt. Kudos for England's David Wilson, who got the better of Tony Woodcock.

2 Rob Webber (England): The English lineout won 13/13 in Auckland, while their scrum forced penalties out of the All Blacks consistently. Webber, how has suffered with injuries for such a long time, proved why he is held in such high regard. The Bath man was tireless. Credit to Craig Burden, who made an impressive 67 metres against his countrymen in Cape Town.

1 James Slipper (Australia): You wouldn't necessarily expect many Aussie props to shine against the French pack, but Slipper stood out in the tight with a solid scrummaging display, and showed up well around the pitch, even contributing an assist to the Wallabies' rout. A mention for Joe Marler, part of an impressive English effort in the tight.

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