Autumn Nations Series Team of the Week: Super Springboks dominate while there is reward for Wallabies comeback

Dylan Coetzee
Autumn Nations Series: Morgan, Malherbe, Nawaqanitawase and Arendse

With the dust having settled on the final round of Autumn Nations Series action, we have gone through the matches to pick the best players from the encounters that took place.

The Springboks lead the way after their dominant win over England, whilst Australia are rewarded for their crazy come-from-behind win against Wales.

Autumn Nations Series Team of the Week

15 Willie le Roux (South Africa): The full-back continues to be the puppeteer of South Africa’s attack, popping up in key positions and almost always in the right place at the right time, as he was for the Springboks’ first try. Le Roux’s combination with Kurt-Lee Arendse and Damian Willemse was poetry in motion.

14 Kurt-Lee Arendse (South Africa): The speedster scored his seventh try in as many Tests as he made mincemeat of Marcus Smith after silky inter-play from Le Roux and Willemse. The Bulls star made 143 metres from eight carries while breaking seven tackles. He is terribly unlucky to miss out on a nomination for player of the series, as he is undoubtedly one of the hottest players on the planet right now.

13 Len Ikitau (Australia): The centre earns his spot after a hard-fought 80 minutes, including one try assist, an average of 10 metres per carry and 11 tackles in a solid shift. The Wallaby was one of the key components in the outrageous comeback to win at the death in Cardiff.

12 Damian de Allende (South Africa): The robust ball carrier did as he always does, bust it up the middle time and again. The centre has been ultra-consistent this year, earning himself a spot in World Rugby’s dream team, and he performed yet again. A solid, secure cog in the green machine.

11 Mark Nawaqanitawase (Australia): A sensational performance from the young wing who looks at home in Test rugby. The speedster scored a brace of tries, made over 100 metres with ball in hand and broke eight tackles. The Waratah was a shining light for his country, and he will be a player to watch heading into next year’s World Cup.

10 Damian Willemse (South Africa): The Stormers star finally produced his best at fly-half with an all-around performance that included two expertly-taken drop goals, 87 metres gained in 10 carries, two offloads and four broken tackles. The 24-year-old looked venomous with ball in hand, having a massive game in his development as an international fly-half. Wales’ Gareth Anscombe earns a mention for his sound performance before leaving the field injured.

9 Faf de Klerk (South Africa): The scrum-half has stepped up in the Springboks’ goal-kicking crisis and slotted three penalties and a conversion against England. Outside of kicking, De Klerk was at his defensive best, making life difficult for the Marcus Smith-Owen Farrell axis with his signature defensive reads. Unfortunately went off injured but could not help but grin as the stretcher drove him off. Wallabies substitute Tate McDermott deserves a mention for his role in igniting pace and dynamism in his team’s attack, contributing to the comeback.

8 Taulupe Faletau (Wales): The number eight scored a try on his 100th Test in a solid outing from the back of the scrum. Adding to his try were 13 tackles and eight carries across the 71 minutes played. Perhaps a man of his experience and quality needed to be on the field to prevent the Wallabies’ comeback. Springbok Evan Roos had a good game against England and continues to look more at home in Test rugby.

7 Siya Kolisi (South Africa): The skipper was again inspired on Saturday as he led from the front with a passionate display, including a dominant double-team tackle on Freddie Steward with Eben Etzebeth early on – a tackle that perhaps stuck with the England full-back throughout. Kolisi made nine hits in all, two offloads and broke one tackle in his 72 minutes on the pitch.

6 Jac Morgan (Wales): It is brutal to leave out Springbok Franco Mostert, who was simply outstanding against England, but the Welshman put in easily his best outing at Test level. The flanker scored two tries, made 115 metres in 15 carries and completed 11 tackles without missing one. Morgan looks the player Wales have been missing, and even though it was a tragic loss, the Ospreys man was brilliant on the day.

5 Alun Wyn Jones (Wales): The legendary second-row made a whopping 10 passes, including a try assist, as the veteran pulled the strings amongst the forwards on attack whilst linking up with the backline with aplomb. Just the performance he needed to boost his confidence and send a reminder that he still adds value at Test level.

4 Eben Etzebeth (South Africa): The Springbok absolutely loved the challenge of facing up to Maro Itoje and personally made sure he got the upper hand this time round. The second-row scored a try, six carries, eight tackles and was brilliant in the line-out, including an outstanding defensive steal. In each game Etzebeth plays for South Africa, he takes steps forward to being considered one of the greatest to don the green and gold. A colossus.

3 Frans Malherbe (South Africa): ‘Buffel’, as he is affectionately known in the Springbok camp, proved his worth yet again as he scrummed out of his socks, folding Mako Vunipola in the process. Surely there is no better tighthead in the world? On top of his performance at scrum time, the big man made a whopping nine tackles.

2 Lachlan Lonergan (Australia): The Wallabies hooker impressed in a 27-minute cameo that included a try assist and the decisive crossing right at the end. The 23-year-old also won a turnover and injected energy into the Australian side, and was one of the triggers of the comeback.

1 Ox Nche (South Africa): The front-row worked well at scrum time and showed his dominance, much like his propping partner Malherbe. Outside of the scrum, there was not much to write home about, but the Shark ticked the boxes he needed to in another solid outing before Steven Kitshoff finished the job.

READ MORE: WATCH: Kurt-Lee Arendse skins England’s Marcus Smith in sensational try