Team of the Week: November Tests

Date published: November 20 2017

After the completion of the third round of Test matches this November, we select who stood out and choose our Team of the Week.

New Zealand and Scotland were involved in arguably the best match of the weekend and both those sides have three representatives in our team along with England after their fifth successive victory against Australia.

See who made the cut below.

Team of the Week

15 Stuart Hogg (Scotland): Despite feeling upset that he was denied the score-leveling try, he had an incredible performance against the All Blacks. Hogg was at the heart of a sublime Scotland performance. His perfectly weighted grubber set up a try for Huw Jones and he was constantly testing the All Black defence, with one spiral kick gaining the Scots over 80 metres.

14 Jonny May (England): The Leicester Tiger’s speed and footwork caused the Wallabies a lot of problems at Twickenham. May showed excellent handling skills to gather up a grubber kick in wet conditions to score his try as well. He made two clean breaks, beat five defenders and gained 90 metres with ball in hand.

13 Huw Jones (Scotland): Another excellent performance from the Glasgow Warrior, who makes our team for the second successive week. Ran a good support line to collect a pass from Tommy Seymour – after Hogg’s grubber kick –  and was rewarded with a try. His attacking prowess saw him run 43 meters with ball in hand with one clean break and two defenders beaten.

12 Sonny Bill Williams (New Zealand): Silenced his critics with an impressive attacking display in a tight victory for the All Blacks. Made 13 tackles which also shows that he is willing to put in the hard yards to earn victory for his side when they were not at their best. Francois Venter also had a good outing in the unfamiliar 12 jersey in South Africa’s win against France.

11 Marika Koroibete (Australia): Finished on the losing side against England but delivered yet another impressive performance. Played on the right wing for the game but we’ve made a place for him in our side after a fine attacking effort. Made 70 metres, including two clean breaks and three defenders beaten in a fantastic individual performance. Rieko Ioane was also in red hot form for the All Blacks.

10 Finn Russell (Scotland): Russell dictated Scotland’s backline with typical creativity and flair despite finishing on the losing side to New Zealand. Was influential as a playmaker and linked particularly well with Hogg but also did well as a goalkicker and slotted a couple of conversions and a penalty. Clear to see why he is one of European rugby’s prized assets.

9 Danny Care (England): Care had a massive impact as a super sub in the 30-6 win over Australia. Coming on midway through the second half, he set up back-to-back tries in identical fashion with expertly weighted grubber kicks and then capped off a superb display getting himself in the try-scorer’s column. Vasil Lobzhanidze also impressed for Georgia.

8 Louis Picamoles (France):  Picamoles was at the forefront of les Bleus‘ effort in Paris. He beat five defenders to make 94 metres from his 16 carries. Also put in a monumental shift on defence where he made 25 tackles and was unfortunate to be on the losing side in the 18-17 arm-wrestle with the Springboks. Amanaki Mafi was his trademark rock-like self on defence for Japan making 15 tackles and grabbed a well-taken try for his efforts.

7 Michael Leitch (Japan): The versatile back-row makes our team at openside because of his standout performance as he guided his team to a comprehensive 39-6 drubbing of Tonga. Leitch beat four defenders, made four clean breaks for his 90 metres and plenty of tackles too in an industrious performance. Francois Louw was also in fine form for South Africa.

6 Vaea Fifita (New Zealand): The All Black made some barnstorming carries beating three defenders making 67 metres from 10 carries as welll as a team-high 18 tackles. His direct opponent, John Barclay, also showed his ability to get over the advantage line regularly with his 14 carries and was unlucky to be on the losing side against the world champions.

5 Lood de Jager (South Africa): The Springboks’ forwards were in fine form against France in Paris and De Jager was one of their star performers. The Bulls’ stalwart was particularly impressive on defence and finished with 24 tackles. England’s Courtney Lawes also justified Eddie Jones’ decision to start him with a fine effort.

4 Joe Launcbury (England): Combined well with Lawes against the Wallabies and was at the forefront of his team’s forward effort. Launchbury was a tireless ball carrier but made his biggest impact as a defender finishing with 19 tackles and was rewarded with the man-of-the-match award for his efforts. Bok captain Eben Etzebeth also impressed.

3 Sekope Kepu (Australia): The Waratahs hardman delivered a busy shift in his side’s loss to England. Kepu performed well in his core duties but also did well with ball in hand, gaining an impressive 44 metres from four runs with one clean break and four defenders beaten. Also defended well and finished with six hits. Georgia’s Levan Chilachava caught the eye too with a strong scrummaging display against Wales.

2 Codie Taylor (New Zealand): Came into the world champions’ run-on side in place of the injured Dane Coles and was one of his side’s best performers in a narrow win against Scotland. Taylor gained 57 metres on attack from seven carries with three clean breaks and one defender beaten. Was also busy on defence with tackles and comes in ahead of Malcolm Marx of South Africa.

1 Cian Healy (Ireland): The veteran front-row was one of the few Ireland players who played well in their 23-20 win over Fiji in Dublin. Healy stood up well in the scrums but also impressed as a ball carrier and eventually gained 44 metres from seven runs with one clean break, four defenders beaten and also managed an offload. Beats out Georgia’s Mikheil Nariashvili.