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Team of the Week: Battle stations

There was no quarter given when the year-end Tests kicked off on Armistice weekend, which is reflected by the spread of countries in our Team of the Week.

The All Blacks' resounding victory over Scotland sees them dominate our selection with six players, whilst the northern hemisphere flag is flown by France who have four players in our team following their drubbing of the Wallabies.

Argentina's victory in Cardiff sees three of their players crack the nod this week, but despite their disappointing effort Wales are the only losing team with a player in our side.

The final spot in our team is taken by the solitary Springbok after their hard-fought win over Ireland.

The trend is continued in our Bubbling under side, with eight different countries represented this time.

The Springboks lead the way with four, followed by Argentina with three, New Zealand and Samoa with two each and Ireland, France, Tonga and Wales making up the numbers.

Team of the Week:

15 Leigh Halfpenny (Wales)

Although his team slumped to defeat Halfpenny did little wrong, with his solid positional play and flawless goal-kicking one of the few positives for Wales.

Bubbling under: Israel Dagg (New Zealand)

14 Wesley Fofana (France)

He may be more at home in midfield Fofana certainly imposed himself on the game from out wide and continued a remarkable start to his Test career which has seen him score five tries in his first seven matches.

Bubbling under: Gonzalo Camacho (Argentina)

13 Gonzalo Tiesi (Argentina)

Played an important role in the Pumas' watertight defence and also provided some urgency on attack by confronting the Welsh midfield in a committed performance.

Bubbling under:  Keith Earls (Ireland)

12 Tamati Ellison (New Zealand)

Showed some impressive versatility, straightening the line often to keep the fluid All Black backline ticking and underlined how much midfield depth there is in New Zealand with a polished game.

Bubbling under: Jean de Villiers (South Africa)

11 Juan Imhoff (Argentina)

Used his searing pace to leave the Welsh defence for dead at times, but also worked really hard and earned his try which shifted the momentum in favour of his side.

Bubbling under: Julian Savea (New Zealand)

10 Daniel Carter (New Zealand)

Another masterful display from Carter who controlled the game both with boot and ball in hand as he tormented the home side at Murrayfield.

Bubbling under: Frederic Michalak (France)

9 Ruan Pienaar (South Africa)

Showed the value of his familiarity with the European conditions as the Boks relied on his kicking game, and capped off a solid outing with the only try of the match.

Bubbling under: Tavis Knoyle (Wales)

8 Louis Picamoles (France)

The big loose forward used his considerable power to bully the Wallabies and keep his team on the front foot and showed some good control at the back of the scrum as well.

Bubbling under: Taiasina Tui'fua (Samoa)

7 Richie McCaw (New Zealand)

The All Blacks captain was a menace on the ground as usual and also took the Scottish defence on by crossing the advantage line often.

Bubbling under: Juan Manuel Leguizamon (Argentina)

6 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe (Argentina)

An inspirational performance from the Pumas skipper who was simply everywhere at the Millenium Stadium and showed some classy touches on top of his incredible work rate.

Bubbling under: François Louw (South Africa)

5 Samuel Whitelock (New Zealand)

He continues to develop at international level and this match was another important step for him. He was dominant in the set-piece and also stretched his long legs at times.

Bubbling under: Julio Farias Cabello (Argentina)

4 Pascal Pape (France)

A no-frills outing for the French skipper who provided a reliable presence in the engine room as his tight five took control of the match.

Bubbling under: Eben Etzebeth (South Africa)

3 Nicolas Mas (France)

An immense effort up front laid the platform for his team's dominance. He had the Wallabies front row on the back foot from the start which allowed those behind him to shine.

Bubbling under: Census Johnston (Samoa)

2 Andrew Hore (New Zealand)

A typically busy game from the combative hooker who did some great work on the ground and finished off his try well.

Bubbling under: Adriaan Strauss (South Africa)

1 Wyatt Crockett (New Zealand)

Delivered a powerful scrummaging display but also got involved in open play, making some yards along with some big tackles.

Bubbling under: Alisona Taumalolo (Tonga)

Our individual selections:

Jan de Koning XV:  15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Wesley Fofana, 13 Gonzalo Tiesi, 12 Tamati Ellison, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Daniel Carter, 9  Ruan Pienaar, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Richie McCaw, 6 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, 5 Julio Farias Cabello, 4 Pascal Pape, 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Marcos Ayerza.

Len Kaplan XV: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Gonzalo Camacho, 13 Keith Earls, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Juan Jose Imhoff, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, 7 Richie McCaw, 6 François Louw, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Pascal Pape, 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1 Alisona Taumalolo.

Quintin van Jaarsveld XV: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Wesley Fofana, 13 Keith Earls, 12 Tamati Ellison, 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 6 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Wyatt Crockett.

Paul Dobson: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Gonzalo Tiesi, 12 Tamati Ellison, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Daniel Carter, 9  Tavis Knoyle, 8 Taiasina Tui'fua, 7 Richie McCaw, 6 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Census Johnston, 2 Andrew Hore, 1  Wyatt Crockett.


Michael de Vries XV: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Wesley Fofana, 13 Gonzalo Tiesi, 12 Tamati Ellison, 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Richie McCaw, 6 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Pascal Pape, 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Wyatt Crockett.


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