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Team of the Week: Tough calls

There were certainly some tough calls to be made before we finalised rugby365's famous weekly selection, but in the end we feel it rewards the individuals for their performances.


South Africa, who bounced back from their loss to Japan, sneaks ahead of Wales and Australia to top the list with four players in our starting XV.

There are three Welshmen and three Wallabies. New Zealand (two), Scotland, Canada and Argentina make up the numbers.

There are another five Springboks in our back-up squad, followed by two more from Wales and Argentina (also two).

Australia, Namibia, France, Scotland, Romania and Ireland (one each) make up the numbers.

Only two players return from Round One – centre Sonny Bill Williams (New Zealand) and hooker Agustín Creevy (Argentina).

Team of the Week – World Cup, Week Two:Team of the Week: Tough calls


15 – Liam Williams (Wales):

His ball-in-hand game was superb and produced a masterclass in helping his team turn over the English.

Bubbling under: Israel Folau (Australia)

14 – JP Pietersen (South Africa):

One of several Springboks who silenced their critics with a quality performance. There's a lot more to his game than just the hat-trick he scored.

Bubbling under: Santiago Cordero (Argentina)

13 –  Mark Bennett (Scotland):

Made the 'feared' Japanese defence look rather tame. South Africa must take note or they could be in for a long afternoon this coming Saturday.

Bubbling under: Jean de Villiers (South Africa)

12 – Sonny Bill Williams (New Zealand):

Was at his brilliant best in attack and may have jumped ahead of Ma'a Nonu in the pecking order. Produced a sumptuous offload for centre partner Malakai Fekitoa's try, and did superbly well to keep the ball alive in the build-up to Nehe Milner-Skudder's second on the stroke of half-time.

Bubbling under: Damian de Allende (South Africa)


11 – DTH van der Merwe (Canada):

Was in superb form and scored an early contender for try of the World Cup. Produced a scything break from inside his own 22, leaving three Italians in his wake, and then combined with Ciaran Hearn to touch down behind the posts. The 29-year-old made 102 metres from his 11 carries, beating five defenders.

Bubbling under: Bryan Habana (South Africa)

10 – Dan Biggar (Wales):

Spearheading an attack that was ravaged by injury – both before and during the game. His kicking was out of the top drawer, and in the end it was his boot that was the difference.

Bubbling under: Nicolas Sanchez (Argentina)

9 – Fourie du Preez (South Africa):

Much of the Springboks' revival can be attributed to his crisp service and brilliant tactical acumen. The Boks must hope he stays injury free.

Bubbling under: Gareth Davies (Wales)

8 – David Pocock (Australia):

There will always be debate about the qualities of different players, but both Pocock and Taulupe Faletau played massive roles in their respective teams' triumphs. In the end Pocock won a numbers game.

Bubbling under: Taulupe Faletau (Wales)Team of the Week: Tough calls

7 – Schalk Burger (South Africa):

Burger versus Burger. Both Schalk Burger and Jacques Burger are all-action figures, with a never-say-die attitude. The Springbok Burger had an off-loading game that gave him the edge.

Bubbling under: Jacques Burger (Namibia)

6 – Ben McCalman (Australia):

Ran and tackled like a man with a point to prove. He may just have gotten that point across to Wallaby coach Michael Cheika.

Bubbling under: Yannick Nyanga (France)

5 – Alun Wyn Jones (Wales):

The 30-year-old was second in Wales' tackling stats and third in terms of ball-carrying, a workmanlike display from the second rower. If it was grit that won it for Wales at Twickenham, it was led by Jones.

Bubbling under: Victor Matfield (South Africa)

4 – Eben Etzebeth (South Africa):

Despite all the Samoan attempts at provoking him – throttling hands on the throat and the facial massages – he retained his focus and produced a masterclass in the physical department.

Bubbling under: Richie Grey (Scotland)

3 – Charlie Faumuina (New Zealand):

As anchors in the scrum go, he was up there with the best and did some handy work around the park to edge out Romanian Paulica Ion in a tight contest.

Bubbling under: Paulica Ion (Romania)

2 – Augustin Creevy (Argentina):

Faultless in the Argentina line-out, finding a Puma jumper with all 11 of his throws, was also effective in the loose, making a break and producing four offloads from six carries.

Bubbling under: Schalk Brits (South Africa)

 1- Scott Sio (Australia):

 The Wallaby prop is clearly benefiting from the influence of Argentinean veteran Mario Ledesma, who is doing a great job of improving the much-maligned Aussie scrum.

 Bubbling under: Cian Healy (Ireland)

Our individual selections:

Warren Fortune XV: 15 Liam Williams, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Damian De Allende, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Ben McCalman, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Geoff Parling, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Scott Sio.

Paul Dobson XV: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Gael Fickou, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 David Pocock, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 TJ Ioane, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Richie Grey, 3 Paulica Ion, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Joe Marler.

Tauriq Ebrahim XV: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 David Pocock, 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Ben McCalman, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Scott Sio.

Michael de Vries XV: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 David Pocock, 7 Sean McMahon, 6 Yannick Nyanga, 5 Leone Nakarawa, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Cian Healy.

Jan de Koning XV: 15 Liam Williams, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jean de Villiers, 12 Damian De Allende, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Jacques Burger, 6 Yannick Nyanga, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Paulica Ion, 2 Augustin Creevy, 1 Scott Sio.

Previous selections:

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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