10 of the weekend’s top performers including a ‘gladiatorial’ Springbok and a ‘classy’ Englishman

Dylan Coetzee
Split with Springbok Jesse Kriel and England's George Furbank.

Split with Springbok Jesse Kriel and England's George Furbank.

What a weekend it was in the rugby world with several brilliant Tests, from the battle between the Springboks and Ireland to the nail-biter in Dunedin.

Considering the quality of rugby on display, we have collected the best performers from our player ratings that covered the three main matchups.

Springboks 27-20 Ireland

Jesse Kriel: The evergreen centre earned a 9 from features editor Jared Wright after another inspired display that included important interventions on both attack and defence. He is the only player to receive this high of a rating and it was thoroughly deserved after this gladiatorial-like shift. Kriel is a perfect example of a player who took his chance and never looked back.

Bomb squad: The only other 9 was for the Springboks bench that is unapologetically thrown at tired opponents in the second half, as was the case against Ireland. Replacing six forwards at once certainly has its risks but it paid off in heaps as their impact was typified by the brutal penalty try that saw the South Africans push Ireland over their own line.

Cheslin Kolbe: The first of the 8s which dominates the rest of the list. The Springboks winner never stopped chasing lost causes and was rewarded for that with a crucial try as James Lowe tried to keep the ball from going out. Some might say it’s opportunistic but it’s simply not, it is the law of averages; if he always chases hard something will eventually fall for him and it did in a big way.

Pieter-Steph du Toit: Another 8 and another Springboks warrior. As always Du Toit was absolutely tireless for his team, particularly on defence. but he was also a beneficiary of Tony Brown’s new attack which had him making some lung-busting carries in the wider channels. Seeing the big man in full flight is a joy to behold.

Caelan Doris: Speaking of warriors, Doris is another and the only Irishman to feature on our list this week. The number eight also got an 8 for his rating from writer Louis Chapman-Coombe after yet another brave display for his country. The Leinsterman’s consistency is remarkable and what a player he is.

Springboks v Ireland: Five takeaways as Rassie Erasmus breaks duck and the player who ‘must start’ next weekend

All Blacks 16-15 England

Damian McKenzie: Once again an 8 and the only All Black on the list after a fine showing in the fly-half shirt. Aside from some goal kicking issues, the pivot was excellent in his decision-making with a lovely cross-kick try assist. He was also imperious in the air and showed very clearly that he has everything required to be a quality Test fly-half.

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George Furbank: What a classy player the England full-back is fast becoming and it is clear to see why he was given an 8 by news editor Colin Newboult. Furbank adds impressive dynamism on attack while still being solid under the high ball and in general decision-making. He just looks a player who will be around for a while.

George Martin: The big lock got an 8 for his efforts against the All Blacks where he imposed himself on the hosts throughout. His shift led the physical charge for England and he rightly so nestles himself into our top 10 for this week.

Maro Itoje: Had the same rating as his second-row partner after a stunning display where he did his best to disrupt the All Blacks in every facet, from the breakdown to the set-piece, and also in collision point. England are always better when Itoje plays well.

All Blacks v England: Five takeaways from New Zealand’s ‘unusual display’ as ‘three areas’ prove the difference

Wallabies 25-16 Wales

Rob Valetini: The only player from this match bagged an 8 for his efforts. The number eight has been consistently good at Test level regardless of the Wallabies form and produced yet again on both sides of the ball as the chief carrier and one of the main tacklers. He is a brutally brilliant star and Joe Schmidt will need him to step up again next week.

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