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Team of the week: Irish eyes smiling

It may have been composed back in 1912, but Chauncey Olcott and George Graff, Jr may well have written it for Paul O'Connell's team in 2014.

As sang in Olcott's production of The Isle O' Dreams:

When Irish Eyes Are Smiling, sure 'tis like a morn in spring.

In the lilt of Irish laughter, you can hear the angels sing.

When Irish hearts are happy, all the world seems bright and gay,

And When Irish Eyes Are Smiling, sure, they steal your heart away.

After their determined effort that brought them a 29-15 win over South African in Dublin at the weekend, Ireland provide the biggest collection of players for our selection.

New Zealand, narrow 24-21 winners over England, and Wales (following a 28-33 loss to Australia) both have three players in our starting XV.

Australia, England, Ireland and Scotland have two each, with Argentina providing the final member of our first-choice selection.

However, it is in our back-up squad where the Irish get their rich rewards, five players 'bubbling under'.

England are also rewarded for their bravery with three players in our back-up squad.

New Zealand, Wales and Australia have two each – while France get a look-in with the final member of this collection.

On a weekend that produced 45 tries in nine international matches, it would be tough to single out any five-pointers.

However, we felt brave enough to bring you our Try of the Week – Timoci Nagusa (Fiji) against France: In the final play of the game Fiji prop Isei Colati won a turnover, then scrumhalf Henry Seniloli spread it wide, before centre Nemani Nadolo offloaded to set the wing, Timoci Nagusa, free. He easily beat the cover to finish a nice coast-to-coast try at the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille. (see the clip below!)

Team of the Week – November, Round One:

15 – Israel Folau (Australia):

Some strong competition from Ireland's Rob Kearney, but the bulk o the selection panel went for the Wallaby.

Bubbling under: Rob Kearney (Ireland)

14 – Ben Smith (New Zealand):

Many still feel he is better suited to fullback, but in the meantime we will gladly have him on the wing in our team.

Bubbling under: Tommy Bowe (Ireland)

13 – Tevita Kuridrani (Australia):

Fast making the Wallaby No.13 shirt his own.

Bubbling under: George North (Wales)

12 – Jamie Roberts (Wales):

Used his big frame to good effect and also showed some impressive aerial skills.

Bubbling under: Robbie Henshaw (Ireland)

11 – Jonny May (England):

Such a classy player, with all the attributes a good wing needs. Left two of the best players in the game – Conrad Smith and Israel Dagg – for dead.

Bubbling under: Teddy Thomas (France)

10 – Jonathan Sexton (Ireland):

Not surprising that some pundits are beginning to list him as the best No.10 in the world.

Bubbling under: Bernard Foley (Australia)

9 – Greig Laidlaw (Scotland):

Probably the most competitive position of the weekend, but he is our choice.

Bubbling under: Aaron Smith (New Zealand)

8 – Kieran Read (New Zealand):

Steps up when it is required.

Bubbling under: Jamie Heaslip (Ireland)

7 – Sam Warburton (Wales):

Did everything in his power to get his team over the line. Just a pity the same can't be said of all of his teammates.

Bubbling under: Richie McCaw (New Zealand)

6 – Jerome Kaino (New Zealand):

The All Blacks' silent assassin.

Bubbling under: Tom Wood (England)

5 – Paul O'Connell (Ireland):

Again proved it has nothing to do with age. He is 35.

Bubbling under: Alun Wyn Jones (Wales)

4 – Richie Gray (Scotland):

He clearly enjoyed having his younger brother alongside him in the second row.

Bubbling under: Dave Attwood (England)

3 – Samson Lee (Wales):

Good name for a man that produces such power plays.

Bubbling under: David Wilson (England)

2 – Dylan Hartley (England):

Forget his provocative actions, that is what all hookers do. Go look at his general play, then you see a man with an enormous workrate – including making more tackles than any other player on the field.

Bubbling under: Saia Fainga'a (Australia)

1 – Marcos Ayerza (Argentina):

Consistently one of the best loosehead props this year and maintained those high standards at the weekend.

Bubbling under: Jack McGrath (Ireland)

Our individual selection:

Michael de Vries XV: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 George North, 12 Christian Leali'ifano, 11 Jonny May, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Saia Fainga'a, 1 Marcos Ayerza.

Tauriq Ebrahim XV: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Jonny May, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Dave Attwood, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Saia Fainga'a, 1 Jack McGrath.

Paul Dobson XV: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Teddy Thomas, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 Kieran Reid, 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Paul O'Connell, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Marcos Ayerza.

Jan de Koning XV:  15 Rob Kearney, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Jonny May, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 Kieran Reid, 7 Richie McCaw, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Paul O'Connell, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Marcos Ayerza.

@rugby365com

Timoci Nagusa finishes coast to coast consolation try for Fiji against France 2014:

 

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