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November Tests: XV of the Week

19th November 2012 13:01

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George Pisi try Wales v Samoa

Some finish: George Pisi

Now that the dust has settled in the northern hemisphere, Planet Rugby looks at the guys who stole the show in week two of the November Tests.

Victories were picked up by Samoa, Australia, France, New Zealand, South Africa, Tonga and Canada in an entertaining round of action.

So without further ado, here comes our offering - be sure to send in your own 15-1 team line-ups.

15 Berrick Barnes (Australia) - Barnes spotted space in behind England's defence and made the hosts pay on more than one occasion. England were hoping Toby Flood and Alex Goode would outthink the Wallabies but in fact it was the Kurtley Beale/Barnes combination that stole the show.

14 Nick Cummins (Australia) - Cory Jane's Rome cameo was something out of the top drawer but for his all-action display at Twickenham, it had to be Cummins. Known as the 'Honey Badger', the Force man was a running machine on Saturday and fully deserves his selection here.

13 George Pisi (Samoa) - What about that finish in the corner? The Northampton Saint has been in top form in England and continued that in international colours with a top showing. He caused Wales all kinds of problems and is picked ahead of All Black Conrad Smith.

12 Ben Tapaui (Australia) - Not bad for his first go at inside centre in the absence of Pat McCabe. Tapuai was a cool customer for the Wallabies and easily gets in ahead of closest challenger Marcelo Bosch, who was slick for Argentina during the early exchanges in Lille.

11 Vincent Clerc (France) - Due to the Ireland XV playing a non-cap international, Craig Gilroy has been left in the cold. It's tough on the Ulsterman but rules are rules and we have instead gone for Clerc, whose brace saw him overtake Philippe Saint-Andre in the try charts.

10 Tusi Pisi (Samoa) - It was harsh to leave out Frederic Michalak and Kurtley Beale but the performance of Pisi couldn't be ignored. The Hurricanes man calmly put the Samoans in the right areas, kicked his goals and was exceptional outside of the man named below.

9 Kahn Fotuali'i (Samoa) - Ospreys training will be interesting in December. Fotuali'i was a leader for Samoa at the Millennium Stadium and played a crucial role in setting up George Pisi while his general play overshadowed Mike Phillips. Nick Phipps was busy for Australia.

8 Kieran Read (New Zealand) - The All Blacks stand-in skipper opened the scoring in Rome finishing a wonderful pass from Conrad Smith, as New Zealand toiled and then rampaged to another convincing victory. No other All Black player made more metres.

7 Michael Hooper (Australia) - Robbie Deans will have some serious thinking to do when David Pocock returns to full fitness. Hooper was everywhere at Twickenham, a nuisance at the breakdown and the Wallabies leading tackler, along with finding holes in the defence.

6 Yannick Nyanga (France) - Brilliant on both sides of the ball. France's top tackler with 14, the flanker capped his return to Test rugby with a well-taken try. Mention for Francois Louw.

5 Nathan Sharpe (Australia) - The Australia captain tweeted on game-day how excited he was ahead of facing England at Twickenham and he delivered. A brutal force going forward and in defence, the cut under his eye told you everything you needed to know about his day.

4 Pascal Pape (France) - France's new leader shone for the second week in a row after the demolition of Australia, piling on the tackles and carrying effectively to get his team moving.

3 Ben Alexander (Australia) - So much for the scrum being weak. As the game progressed, Alexander kept improving, giving first Joe Marler and then Mako Vunipola serious problems.

2 Adriaan Strauss (South Africa) - Two tries including a brilliant interception score made Strauss a certainty for the hooker spot. A powerful, industrious afternoon for the Cheetahs star proved that South Africa can live without the presence of Bismarck du Plessis.

1 Sakaria Taulafo (Samoa) - On another famous night for Samoa in Cardiff their pack were outstanding, and no one more so than Wasps prop Taulafo. He gave Wales newbie Aaron Jarvis was given a torrid time at the scrum, winning Samoa some valuable possession.

By Ben Coles and Adam Kyriacou
@bencoles_ and @PlanetRugbyAK

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