Team of the Week: Dominance
It probably wasn't the most difficult selection we have ever made, given the dominance of two of the teams in the opening round of the Rugby Championship.
However, there was some vigorous debate surrounding a couple of positions.
In the end only one Australian and no Argentinean made it into our starting XV.
South Africa, with nine starting, and New Zealand (five) dominate our first-choice selection.
The All Blacks received further reward for their dominance in the Bledisloe Cup clash with seven players in our back-up squad, five Springboks bubbling under and three Wallabies getting the nod.
Understandably no Puma made either of our squads, with Juan Martín Leguizamon (one vote) getting a brief look-in.
Team of the Week – Round One:
15 – Willie le Roux (South Africa):
Quickly making the Bok No.15 a fixture on his back.
Bubbling under: Israel Dagg (New Zealand)
14 – Ben Smith (New Zealand):
He showed just how good he can be in a quality team, given that he played for the struggling Highlanders and still performed in Super Rugby.
Bubbling under: Bjorn Basson (South Africa)
13 – Conrad Smith (New Zealand):
Maybe not as flashy as some other centres, but the guile of his hands and fluency of his feet make him the world's premier outside centre.
Bubbling under: JJ Engelbrecht (South Africa)
12 – Jean de Villiers (South Africa):
Some of his critics will claim it was a poor Argentinean team, but the manner in which he burst through in the midfield on a couple of occasions, along with the defenders he beat on other occasions, shows he is not near his sell-by date yet.
Bubbling under: Ma'a Nonu (New Zealand)
11 – Bryan Habana (South Africa):
Some interesting debates around the left wing position, with Habana winning the final vote because O'Connor missed a couple of tackles.
Bubbling under: James O'Connor (Australia)
10 – Aaron Cruden (New Zealand):
It would be interesting to see how the All Black backline shapes up now that Cruden and Dan Carter have been ruled out.
Bubbling under: Morné Steyn (South Africa)
9 – Fourie du Preez (South Africa):
They say you don't know what you have until it is no longer available. Du Preez required just half-an-hour in his return match to ram home that statement.
Bubbling under: Aaron Smith (New Zealand)
8 – Kieran read (New Zealand):
He does so much, but his most valuable work was done on defence and in the line-outs.
Bubbling under: Duane Vermeulen (South Africa)
7 – Willem Alberts (South Africa):
Some vigorous debate, as opinions differed markedly. Alberts eventually edged the others because – apart from one ball he lost in contact – it was an afternoon in which he inflicted much paid on the opposition – both on defence and carrying the ball.
Bubbling under: Michael Hooper (Australia)
6 – Francois Louw (South Africa):
Maybe his carrying stats are not that impressive, but the amount of work he did on defence more than justifies his selection.
Bubbling under: Steven Luatua (New Zealand)
5 – Sam Whitelock (New Zealand):
Despite his yellow card, he still gets our vote – the highest tackle count in the match and did his job in the line-outs.
Bubbling under: Juandre Kruger (South Africa)
4 – Eben Etzebeth (South Africa):
There was no need for a debate, we all know why he is regarded as the best.
Bubbling under: Luke Romano (New Zealand)
3 – Jannie du Plessis (South Africa):
It has been a while since a Bok prop was so keen on scrumming, begging and pleading with his captain to take scrums instead of kicking for touch or at goal.
Bubbling under: Owen Franks (New Zealand)
2 – Adriaan Strauss (South Africa):
He must now be close to the world's best hooker.
Bubbling under: Stephen Moore (Australia)
1 – James Slipper (Australia):
He may have slipped a tackle, but his workrate on defence was immense – just a pity he didn't get much support from some of his teammates when the All Blacks started their rout.
Bubbling under: Tony Woodcock (New Zealand)
Our individual selections!
Paul Dobson XV 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 James O'Connor, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Juan Martín Leguizamon, 6 Francois Louw, 5 James Horwill, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 James Slipper.
Quintin van Jaarsveld XV: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Juandré Kruger, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 James Slipper.
Michael de Vries XV: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 James O'Connor, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Jan de Koning XV: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 James Slipper.