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Team of the Week: Lucky 13

There is no doubting New Zealand's superiority on the international stage and this is reflected in rugby365's famous weekly selection.

Thirteen All Blacks feature in our Team of the Week – six of them starting and another seven bubbling under. And a good number of those seven came close to the first-choice selection.

Argentina, despite their defeat to the All Blacks, impressed us enough to have four players starting and another 'on the bench'.

South Africa, despite their loss to Australia, have three players in our first-choice XV and another four bubbling under.

The Wallabies have two players in our starting XV and three bubbling under.

PS: We talk about the clueless clown with the whistle elsewhere.

Five players return from last week – wing Julian Savea (New Zealand), scrumhalf Aaron Smith (New Zealand), lock Brodie Retallick (New Zealand), hooker Agustín Creevy (Argentina) and Marcos Ayerza (Argentina).

Team of the Week – Rugby Championship, Week Three:

15 – Israel Dagg (New Zealand):

Certainly not flawless, although the conditions played a role, but his willingness to attack from deep and general sound play in the last line of defence made it another fullback masterclass.

Bubbling under: Israel Folau (Australia)

14 – Cornal Hendricks (South Africa):

Again showed his devastating finishing ability, given the limited opportunities he had.

Bubbling under: Ben Smith (New Zealand)

13 – Tevita Kuridrani (Australia):

Was full of running and dangerous throughout, with his pace and power, proving more than a handful for the Bok defence.

Bubbling under: Conrad Smith (New Zealand)

12 – Matt Toomua (Australia):

Providing a kicking option, attacked the line, ran straight and got some neat offloads away as well.

Bubbling under: Ma'a Nonu (New Zealand)

11 – Julian Savea (New Zealand):

Again put on display his great finishing ability.

Bubbling under: Bryan Habana (South Africa)

10 – Beauden Barrett (New Zealand):

Not perfect, but showed his skills from early on, with a neat chip-kick that exposed the Argentinean defence. His ability to put the ball behind the Pumas' defence is what made him so valuable.

Bubbling under: Bernard Foley (Australia)

9 – Aaron Smith (New Zealand):

There are so many positive things to say about him, but the most impressive was the pin-point accuracy of his high bombs.

Bubbling under: Martín Landajo (Argentina)

8 – Duane Vermeulen (South Africa):

A big performance at the back of the scrum, he was everywhere on both attack and defence, making (perfectly legal) tackles, turnovers and carrying the ball up powerfully.

Bubbling under: Kieran Read (New Zealand)

7 – Juan Manuel Leguizamón (Argentina):

Showed some neat kicking skills and saved his team on more than one occasion. Solid defence.

Bubbling under: Michael Hooper (Australia)

6 – Juan Martín Fernandez Lobbe (Argentina):

Flawless on defence and won a good number of line-outs.

Bubbling under: Francois Louw (South Africa)

5 – Jeremy Thrush (New Zealand):

Made the most of his additional time on the field with some strong carries and made 13 tackles, without slipping any. Victor Matfield also made 13 tackles, but he slipped four.

Bubbling under: Victor Matfield (South Africa)

4 – Brodie Retallick (New Zealand):

Sublime skills on the ground and literally gave 'blood, sweat and even some tears' for the cause and his commitment is what makes him the world's best No.4.

Bubbling under: Eben Etzebeth (South Africa)

3 – Jannie du Plessis (South Africa):

Silenced a few critics with his powerful scrumming. His tackle count also went into double figure.

Bubbling under: Owen Franks (New Zealand)

2 – Agustín Creevy (Argentina):

His basics were good and he made all his tackles.

Bubbling under: Dane Coles (New Zealand)

1 – Marcos Ayerza (Argentina):

Showed why he is now rated as arguably the most powerful loosehead prop in the world. Also produced some impressive work on defence.

Bubbling under: Wyatt Crockett (New Zealand)

Our individual selections:

Darryn Pollock XV: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett,  9 Aaron Smith, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamón, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Agustín Creevy, 1 Wyatt Crockett.

Michael de Vries XV: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Juan Martín Fernandez Lobbe, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Agustín Creevy, 1 Marcos Ayerza.

Tauriq Ebrahim XV: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Juan Martín Fernandez Lobbe, 5 Jeremy Thrush, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Marcos Ayerza.

Paul Dobson XV: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Agustín Creevy, 1 Wyatt Crockett.

Jan de Koning XV: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 6 Juan Martín Fernandez Lobbe, 5 Jeremy Thrush, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Agustín Creevy, 1 Marcos Ayerza.

Previous selections:

Team of the Week – Rugby Championship, Week Two: 15 Israel Folau (Australia), 14 Cory Jane (New Zealand), 13 Conrad Smith (New Zealand), 12 Juan Martín Hernández (Argentina), 11 Julian Savea (New Zealand), 10 Nicolás Sánchez (Argentina), 9 Aaron Smith (New Zealand), 8 Kieran Read (New Zealand), 7 Marcel Coetzee (South Africa), 6 Francois Louw (South Africa), 5 Sam Whitelock (New Zealand), 4 Brodie Retallick (New Zealand), 3 Ramiro Herrera (Argentina), 2 Agustín Creevy (Argentina), 1 Marcos Ayerza (Argentina).

Team of the Week – Rugby Championship, Week One: 15 Joaquín Tuculet (Argentina), 14 Cory Jane (New Zealand), 13 Malakai Fekitoa (New Zealand), 12 Matt Toomua (Australia), 11 Julian Savea (New Zealand), 10 Nicolás Sánchez (Argentina), 9 Aaron Smith (New Zealand), 8 Kieran Read (New Zealand), 7 Richie McCaw (New Zealand), 6 Francois Louw (South Africa), 5 Rob Simmons (Australia), 4 Brodie Retallick (New Zealand), 3 Sekope Kepu (Australia), 2 Nathan Charles (Australia), 1 Marcos Ayerza (Argentina).

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