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Team of the week: Going south

The four Rugby Championship teams all managed to win their quarterfinals, although South Africa and Australia were not as convincing as New Zealand and Argentina.

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As a result our team features six All Blacks, four Pumas, two Springboks and one Wallaby, with Wales and Scotland rewarded for their fighting performances with one player each as well.

In the bubbling under side it is more of the same with six Pumas and two All Blacks, but the beaten northern hemisphere sides feature more prominently with four Scots and a Welshman also cracking the nod.

The only quarterfinalists that do not feature at all are France and Ireland who both suffered heavy defeats to end their campaigns with a whimper.

Here is our team:

15 – Ben Smith (New Zealand):

Is there a more devastating counter-attacking runner in world rugby at the moment? He is surrounded by class but still manages to stand out.

Bubbling under: Joaquin Tuculet (Argentina)Team of the week: Going south

14 – Santiago Cordero (Argentina):

He has been one of the stars of the World Cup for the Pumas, and must be something special to keep the hot-stepping Milner-Skudder out of the side.

Bubbling under: Nehe Milner-Skudder (New Zealand)

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13 – Tevita Kuridrani (Australia):

A serious force in the midfield for the Wallabies, he scored an important try and made his outside backs look good as well.

Bubbling under: Conrad Smith (New Zealand)

12 – Ma'a Nonu (New Zealand):

There were some people suggesting that Sonny Bill Williams should start at inside centre for the All Blacks, but there are not many anymore after a commanding performance which featured power, pace and some sublime handling.

Bubbling under: Juan Martín Hernández (Argentina)

11 – Julian Savea (New Zealand):

Another hat-trick for the big bus who continues to draw comparisons with the great Jonah Lomu. Juan Imhoff was unlucky to miss out, but it is hard to look past Savea.

Bubbling under: Juan Imhoff (Argentina)

10 – Dan Carter (New Zealand):

The master stepped up and silenced those who have questioned whether he is past it. His tactical kicking and distribution meant that the All Black backline was able to make the French look silly.

Bubbling under: Nicolas Sánchez (Argentina)

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9 – Fourie du Preez (South Africa):

The 'tactical genius' is the most important player in this Bok side, and he produced the goods when it counted most to score the winning try at the death.

Bubbling under: Greig Laidlaw (Scotland)Team of the week: Going south

8 – Duane Vermeulen (South Africa):

Considering the circumstances, his offload to Du Preez has got to be one of the biggest moments of the tournament, but he was pretty impressive in the 75 minutes before that as well and seems to be getting close to his best again.

Bubbling under: Dave Denton (Scotland)

7 – Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe (Argentina):

The former skipper always puts his body on the line for the Pumas, and it was another inspirational effort. His battle with Michael Hooper and David Pocock will be something to savour on Sunday.

Bubbling under: Sam Warburton (Wales)

6 – Dan Lydiate (Wales):

The tackle machine embodied the fierce Welsh defensive effort that almost won them the game. His work-rate and physicality laid down a marker for his teammates as they pushed the Boks all the way.

Bubbling under: Pablo Matera (Argentina)

5 – Sam Whitelock (New Zealand):

One of the most complete locks around, ruled things in the line-outs but also got through plenty of work on defence and carried the ball well.

Bubbling under: Jonny Gray (Scotland)

4 – Brodie Retallick (New Zealand):

Showed some pace to race away for his try, but his best work was done shifting bodies at the breakdown and getting stuck into the French pack in the tight phases.

Bubbling under: Richie Gray (Scotland)

3 – WP Nel (Scotland):

The South African-born tighthead has been a rock at scrum-time for Scotland, and showed his worth in an epic tussle with the Wallabies.

Bubbling under: Ramiro Herrera (Argentina)

2 – Agustin Creevy (Argentina):

The Pumas skipper has established himself as one of the premier hookers in the world and showed why with another hard-working display.

Bubbling under: Stephen Moore (Australia)

1 – Marcos Ayerza (Argentina):

The veteran loosehead is the cornerstone to the feared Pumas scrum, and he put in another big shift against Ireland.

Bubbling under: Gethin Jenkins (Wales)

Our individual selections:

Jan de Koning XV: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Juan Martín Hernández, 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Juan Martín Fernandez Lobbe, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Willem Nel, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Marcos Ayerza.

Andrew Duncan XV: 15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Tevita Kurindrani, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julien Savea, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Joe Moody.

Warren Fortune XV: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Marcos Ayerza. 

Paul Dobson XV: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 WP Nel, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Marcos Ayerza.

Tauriq Ebrahim XV: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Nicolas Sánchez, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 David Denton, 7 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Gethin Jenkins.

Michael de Vries XV: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Martín Landajo, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 WP Nel, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Gethin Jenkins.

Previous selections:

Team of the Week – World Cup, Week Four: 15 Scott Spedding (France), 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder (New Zealand), 13 Conrad Smith (New Zealand), 12 Rey Lee-Lo (Samoa), 11 Horacio Agulla (Argentina), 10 Dan Carter (New Zealand), 9 Conor Murray (Ireland), 8 David Pocock (Australia), 7 Sean O'Brien (Ireland), 6 Pablo Matera (Argentina), 5 Alun Wyn-Jones (Wales), 4 Richie Gray (Scotland), 3 Willem Nel (Scotland), 2 Rory Best (Ireland), 1 Scott Sio (Australia).

Team of the Week – World Cup, Week Three: 15 Ayumu Goromaru (Japan), 14 Santiago Cordero (Argentina), 13 Keith Earls (Ireland), 12 Wesley Fofana (France), 11 DTH van der Merwe (Canada), 10 Bernard Foley (Australia), 9 Fourie du Preez (South Africa), 8 David Pocock (Australia), 7 Mamuka Gorgodze (Georgia), 6 Michael Leitch (Japan), 5 Lodewyk de Jager (South Africa), 4 Eben Etzebeth (South Africa), 3 Sekope Kepu (Australia), 2 Agustín Creevy (Argentina), 1 Scott Sio (Australia).

Team of the Week – World Cup, Week Two: 15 Liam Williams (Wales), 14 JP Pietersen (South Africa), 13  Mark Bennett (Scotland), 12 Sonny Bill Williams (New Zealand), 11 DTH van der Merwe (Canada), 10 Dan Biggar (Wales), 9 Fourie du Preez (South Africa), 8 David Pocock (Australia), 7 Schalk Burger (South Africa), 6 Ben McCalman (Australia), 5 Alun Wyn Jones (Wales), 4 Eben Etzebeth (South Africa), 3 Charlie Faumuina (New Zealand), 2 Augustin Creevy (Argentina),  1- Scott Sio (Australia).

Team of the Week – World Cup, Week One: 15 Ayumu Goromaru (Japan),  14 David Kearney (Ireland),  13 Marcelo Bosch (Argentina),  12 Sonny Bill Williams (New Zealand),  11 Nemani Nadolo (Fiji),  10 Jonathan Sexton (Ireland),  9 Aaron Smith (New Zealand),  8 Mamuka Gorgodze (Georgia),  7 Michael Broadhurst (Japan),  6 Michael Leitch (Japan),  5 Konstantine Mikautadze (Georgia),  4 Brodie Retallick (New Zealand),  3 Rabah Slimani (France),  2 Agustín Creevy (Argentina),  1 Ben Arous (France).

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