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Team of the week: Pacific power

Two teams from the Pacific region dominate out famous weekly selection, but there are a few interesting calls.

New Zealand, after their whitewash of France, have five players in our starting XV.

They are well supported by Pacific rivals Samoa, who have four players starting.

The British and Irish Lions (with two), Japan, South Africa, France and the Waratahs (one each) make up the numbers.

The All Blacks are also very well represented in our back-up squad, with five more players 'bubbling under'.

The B&I Lions (four) and Scotland (three) are next best.

England (two) and Samoa (one) make up the numbers.

Just two players return from last week – centre Ma'a Nonu (New Zealand) and Thierry Dusautoir (France).

Team of the week – Internationals, Week Two:

15 – Israel Dagg (New Zealand):

It was a close call, but Dagg edged Leigh Halfpenny based on his kicking out of hand, proving once and for all he is the most accomplished fullback in New Zealand.

Bubbling under: Leigh Halfpenny (British and Irish Lions)

14 – Ben Smith (New Zealand):

He may just have stolen a march on his rivals in the All Black selection race.

Bubbling under: Alapati Leiua (Samoa)

13 – Paul Williams (Samoa):

He has done so much more than just being a captain and the way he rallied his troops against Italy was by 'setting a fine example' – both with ball in hand and on defence.

Bubbling under: Alex Dunbar (Scotland)

12 – Ma'a Nonu (New Zealand):

He has been a much improved player since he joined the All Black ranks – says a lot about the environment he plays in at Super Rugby level.

Bubbling under: Matt Scott (Scotland)

11 – Julian Savea (New Zealand):

He is going to set a few try-scoring records before he is done, but some of those tackles were even more enjoyable.

Bubbling under: Marland Yarde (England)

10 – Tusi Pisi (Samoa):

He was pulling the strings like an old pro, helping his team to another special win.

Bubbling under: Aaron Cruden (New Zealand)

9 – Fumiaki Tanaka (Japan):

He is showing the experience he gained by playing Super Rugby, even with his limited game time.

Bubbling under: Greig Laidlaw (Scotland)

8 – Taiasina Tuifua (Samoa):

Another very tough call to make, so we flipped a coin.

Bubbling under: Kieran Read (New Zealand)

7 – Siya Kolisi (South Africa):

It is called grabbing your chance with both hands. Even though a couple of our panel nominated him as a No.6, we selected him at No.7 because he replaced a No.7 – Arno Botha.

Bubbling under: Sam Cane (New Zealand)

6 – Thierry Dusautoir (France):

One of the few Frenchmen who tried right to the bitter end.

Bubbling under: Tom Croft (British and Irish Lions)

5 – Sam Whitelock (New Zealand):

He may well be close to the premier No.5 lock in the world right now, especially after he was a late replacement.

Bubbling under: Paul O'Connell (British and Irish Lions)

4 – Will Skelton (Waratahs):

He may be young and raw, but there is a bright future ahead for this giant.

Bubbling under: Luke Romano (New Zealand)

3 – Adam Jones (British and Irish Lions):

Another tough call, but the Lions veteran won our vote because he missed just one tackle and Owen Franks missed three, plus one was 'ineffective'.

Bubbling under: Owen Franks (New Zealand)

2 – Wayne Ole Avei (Samoa):

He was the team's Energiser Bunny – he just kept going, and going … and going!

Bubbling under: Richard Hibbard (British and Irish Lions)

1 – Mako Vunipola (British and Irish Lions):

If there was still doubt about the starting loosehead prop, he has settled the argument.

Bubbling under: Joe Marler (England)

Our individual selections:

Nick Tatham XV: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alapati Leiua, 13 Alex Dunbar, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Marland Yarde, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 Taiasina Tuifua, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Will Skelton, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Wayne Ole Avei, 1 Joe Marler.

Paul Dobson XV: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Thierry Dusautoir, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Wayne Ole Avei, 1 Mako Vunipola.

Quintin van Jaarsveld XV: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alapati Leiua, 13 Paul Williams, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Tusi Pisi, 9 Greg Laidlaw, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Tim Swinson, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Wayne Ole Avei, 1 Maku Vunipola.

Jan de Koning XV: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Paul Williams, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Tusi Pisi, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8 Taiasina Tuifua, 7 Siya Kolisi,  6 Thierry Dusautoir,  5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Will Skelton, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Wayne Ole Avei,  1 Mako Vunipola.

Previous selection:

Team of the week – Internationals, Week One: 15 Willie le Roux (South Africa), 14 Bryan Habana (South Africa), 13 JJ Engelbrecht (South Africa), 12 Ma'a Nonu (New Zealand), 11 Alesana Tuilagi (Samoa), 10 Morné Steyn (South Africa), 9 Aaron Smith (New Zealand), 8 Kieran Read (New Zealand), 7 Arno Botha (South Africa), 6 Thierry Dusautoir (France), 5 Brodie Retallick (New Zealand), 4 Sebastien Vahaamahina (France), 3 Lorenzo Cittadini (Italy), 2 Adriaan Strauss (South Africa), 1 Alberto de Marchi (Italy).


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