Team of the Week: Celtic power
OPINION: Ireland’s impressive win over New Zealand has earned them plenty of rewards in @rugby365com’s famous weekly selection.
The men from the Emerald Isle has seven players in our starting XV and they are ‘supported’ by the Celtic cousins Scotland, with three players in our first-choice selection.
England is the only other country with more than one player (two) – while New Zealand, France and South Africa (one each) make up the numbers.
There is further reward for Ireland, with three more players in our back-up squad – the same as South Africa and Australia.
France (two), Japan, New Zealand, Wales and Argentina (one each) make up the numbers.
* See how our team compares with the RugbyPass Index – a unique ranking system which assigns a score to every player and team we track, based on their ability to influence a game.
Team of the Week – November 17:
15 – Stuart Hogg (Scotland):
He easily dealt with the aerial bombs directed at him and was sublime on the counter-attack – beating defenders and making a sensational break.
Bubbling under: Rob Kearney (Ireland)
14 – Ben Smith (New Zealand):
Many pundits feel he is best used at fullback, but his steadying influence is invaluable in whichever of the back-three positions he plays in.
Bubbling under: Kenki Fukuoka (Japan)
13 – Huw Jones (Scotland):
Played an intricate part in the Try of the Weekend – scored by teammate Peter Horne. Upstaged a few of his former Stormers teammates – beating four defenders and making two clean breaks.
Bubbling under: Jack Goodhue (New Zealand)
12 – Gaël Fickou (France):
Starting to deliver on the promise he showed earlier in his career. Carved Argentina open on a number of occasions and put in a perfect 35-metre pass for Teddy Thomas to score his second try.
Bubbling under: Bundee Aki (Ireland)
11 – Jacob Stockdale (Ireland):
A constant threat – averaging almost 10 metres per run, the 22-year-old making three clean breaks and beat five defenders.
Bubbling under: Marika Koroibete (Australia)
10 – Jonny Sexton (Ireland):
Many pundits would have South African flyhalf Handre Pollard as the man of the moment, but Sexton pulled the strings in a masterful manner against the world’s top team – New Zealand.
Bubbling under: Handre Pollard (South Africa)
9 – Greig Laidlaw (Scotland):
Not only does he do the basics well (60 accurate passes), but his kicking out of hand and at goal was immaculate.
Bubbling under: Tomos Williams (Wales)
8 – Christiaan Stander (Ireland):
The one player South Africa will always regret they let slip out of their grasp. He produced 20-odd mammoth carries, a tackle count in double figures and two turnovers.
Bubbling under: Duane Vermeulen (South Africa)
7 – Mark Wilson (England):
Even though it was not England’s best game, he stood above his teammates by taking his tackle count into the 20s for the second week in a row. Also impressed when he was required to carry the ball.
Bubbling under: Pieter-Steph du Toit (South Africa)
6 – Peter O’Mahony (Ireland):
The epitome of everything that was good about Irish rugby – carried the ball up strongly, tackled like a demon and won a couple of turnovers.
Bubbling under: Pablo Matera (Argentina)
5 – James Ryan (Ireland)
The big man made 20 tackles to go with his 17 carries, two defenders beaten and set-piece work.
Bubbling under: Adam Coleman (Australia)
4 – Rudolf Snyman (South Africa):
Relished his starting role – taking his tackle count into double figures, to go with a handful of impressive carries and his set-piece work.
Bubbling under: Devin Toner (Ireland)
3 Tadhg Furlong (Ireland):
Not often you see All Black Karl Tu’inukuafe man-handled like this in the scrums. carries, two defenders beaten and making all his tackles.
Bubbling under: Taniela Tupou (Australia)
2 Jamie George (England):
He is fast overtaking Dylan Hartley as England’s premier hooker.
Bubbling under: Guilhem Guirado (France)
1 Cian Healy (Ireland):
Immensely powerful at scrum time, to go with his seven carries and 12 tackles – beating two defenders.
Bubbling under: Jefferson Poirot (France)
Team of the Week – November 10: 15 Maxime Médard (France), 14 Ben Smith (New Zealand), 13 Jonathan Davies (Wales), 12 Ryan Crotty (New Zealand), 11 Jonny May (England), 10 Gareth Anscombe (Wales), 9 Kieran Marmion (Ireland), 8 Christiaan Stander (Ireland), 7 Sam Underhill (England), 6 Peter O’Mahony (Ireland), 5 James Ryan (Ireland), 4 Brodie Retallick (New Zealand), 3 Kyle Sinckler (England), 2 Guilhem Guirado (France), 1 Steven Kitshoff (South Africa).