Rugby Championship Team of the Week: All Blacks lead the way after Bledisloe Cup triumph

David Skippers
Rugby Championship Team of the Week image Round 5 2022.jpg

With the dust having settled on Round Five of the Rugby Championship, we have gone through the action to pick the best players from the past week’s action.

After securing the Bledisloe Cup for the 20th successive year with a narrow win in Melbourne, New Zealand lead the way with six players in the XV, while Argentina, Australia and South Africa each have three representatives.

Team of the Week

15 Andrew Kellaway (Australia): It was a tough first half for the talented Wallaby, but he showed all his class in the second period, displaying his poaching instincts to touch down twice. Kellaway’s first saw him take a superb line off the shoulder of Bernard Foley to go over before he held off the attentions of Richie Mo’unga to score his second and get the hosts back into the contest. The 26-year-old is an outstanding player at either full-back or wing.

14 Will Jordan (New Zealand): Another excellent outing for the flyer, who took his scoring record to 20 tries in as many appearances. He latched onto Beauden Barrett’s deft kick over the top of the defensive line before stepping Kellaway without breaking stride to go over and, at that point, put the All Blacks in control. It was a moment of sheer class which we have become accustomed to from Jordan.

13 Matias Moroni (Argentina): Came on in the second period and made a significant impact as Los Pumas threatened a dramatic comeback against the Springboks on Saturday. Moroni was at the heart of a lot of what Argentina did well in attack after the break and scored a wonderful try for good measure. In a superbly executed team move, the Newcastle Falcon took a brilliant line to break the Bok defence and then rounded the final defender to reduce the arrears to 22-20.

12 Damian de Allende (South Africa): Critics state that De Allende hampers the Boks’ attack, due to his lack of passing ability, but there is no doubt that he suits the game plan the team employs. He was physical in both attack and defence against Argentina, showing his sheer power to touch down late on and take South Africa out of reach of the hosts. The centre also reads the game well and is ultimately a vital cog in the Springbok set-up.

11 Caleb Clarke (New Zealand): Has found his best this year following a difficult 2021 and was a constant threat to the Wallabies defence on Thursday. Although Clarke did not get over the try-line, the wing always got his side on the front foot with a series of impressive surges. The 23-year-old finished with a staggering 137 metres made, which included three clean breaks and five defenders beaten. A great effort from the speedster.

10 Richie Mo’unga (New Zealand)For the opening 79 minutes, Bernard Foley probably had the edge in the battle, especially following his second half performance which saw him set up two tries, but we can’t ignore that ending. Australians, very understandably, felt – and still feel – aggrieved over the actions of Mathieu Raynal, but in our view it was Foley who got it wrong by not listening to the referee. As a result, Mo’unga, who displayed great control, variety and also scored a try, gets in ahead of the Wallabies playmaker.

9 Nic White (Australia): This was a tight call between two replacements who made significant impacts when they came on to the field. Tomas Cubelli was utterly brilliant for Argentina as they almost shocked the Springboks but we’ve gone for White, with the Wallaby absolutely excellent in the second period. We couldn’t understand why he didn’t start anyway, but he made up for the disappointment of beginning the match on the bench by wrestling control of the game. His late long range penalty should have resulted in a historic Australia victory, only for his playmaking partner to rather mess that up.

8 Jasper Wiese (South Africa): The Leicester Tiger was one of the Springboks’ star performers in their victory over Los Pumas in Buenos Aires as he came to the fore with a strong attacking display. The 26-year-old finished with 41 metres from 11 runs which included one clean break and four defenders beaten. He comes in ahead of Rob Valetini, who was one of the Wallabies’ best players in their defeat to the All Blacks.

7 Pete Samu (Australia): The Brumbies tearaway spent most of the Rugby Championship on the Wallabies bench but took his chance when promoted to their run-on side with a superb showing in the loss to the All Blacks. Samu shone on attack with 74 metres gained from eight carries, with two clean breaks, four defenders beaten and a couple of offloads. Springbok skipper Siya Kolisi also impressed.

6 Marcos Kremer (Argentina): The forwards of both sides made prominent contributions in Buenos Aires and South Africa’s Franco Mostert is unlucky to miss out as he put in a big defensive shift. However, Kremer edges him out as he did well on attack, helping to create Moroni’s try, but also put his body on the line on defence and finished with nine tackles made.

5 Sam Whitelock (New Zealand): The veteran lock continued where he left off in Round Four as he makes our team for the second successive week. The 33-year-old did what was expected of him in the lineouts but also made his mark on attack and finished with 17 metres gained from six carries while he also put in a big defensive shift and finished with the joint highest tackles (10) in his team.

4 Brodie Retallick (New Zealand): Joined his long-time partner in the All Blacks’ second-row and it was just like old times as they combined brilliantly at the coalface of their team’s forward effort. Retallick was excellent with ball in hand as he gained 32 metres from 10 carries but also caught the eye with his work in the lineouts and on defence where he completed seven tackles.

3 Tyrel Lomax (New Zealand): The 26-year-old continued his upward trajectory at international level as he put in another powerful scrummaging performance in his side’s Bledisloe Cup triumph. As usual, Lomax did not take a backward step at set-piece, but he also made his mark with six hits and takes his spot in the team for a third round in a row. Australia’s Allan Alaalatoa was next best.

2 Malcolm Marx (South Africa): This was a tough decision as Samisoni Taukei’aho was the standout performer in Melbourne on Thursday but we’ve opted for Marx, who delivered an outstanding all-round display in Buenos Aires. Marx emptied the tank during an 80-minute stint and, although both he and Taukei’aho were rewarded with a brace of tries during superb attacking performances, the Springbok’s brilliance on defence – with 14 tackles made – gets him into our team.

1 Thomas Gallo (Argentina): Another difficult call as Steven Kitshoff also played well for South Africa in Buenos Aires but Gallo’s impact off the bench in that Test sees him edging out the experienced Springbok. The Benetton loosehead came on early in the second half and helped his team launch a mini fightback with a superb scrummaging display, while he also impressed on attack and defence.

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