Team of the Week: Mixed bag
OPINION: There is a real mixed bag in @rugby365com’s famous weekly selection.
It is significant that the two top teams in the world, New Zealand and Ireland, head up out selection the week before they meet in Dublin.
The men from the Emerald Isle have four players in our starting XV, just edging New Zealand and England (both four).
Wales, France (both two) and South Africa (one) make up the numbers.
There is further reward for the Welsh Dragons in our back-up squad, with four players bubbling under.
Australia and Ireland (three each) are also well represented. New Zealand, France, England, South Africa and Argentina make up the numbers.
Team of the Week – November 10:
15 – Maxime Médard (France):
Was not troubled by the assortment of aerial bombardments that was launched at him by the Springboks and made plenty of metres as he returned them with glee.
Bubbling under: Dane Haylett-Petty (Australia):
14 – Ben Smith (New Zealand):
Again showed his class as he beat defenders and made clean breaks aplenty. Was also rock solid on defence.
Bubbling under: Israel Folau (Australia)
13 – Jonathan Davies (Wales):
The veteran was as powerful as ever with the ball in hand, solid on defence and even managed a couple of turnovers.
Bubbling under: Jack Goodhue (New Zealand)
12 – Ryan Crotty (New Zealand):
His outstanding performance as a replacement suggested that Sonny Bill Williams will have his work cut out to retain his starting spot.
Bubbling under: Bundee Aki (Ireland)
11 – Jonny May (England):
Showed that he is so much more than just a speed merchant.
Bubbling under: Josh Adams (Wales)
10 – Gareth Anscombe (Wales):
Was a balanced performance in which he directed the show and dealt with the traffic that came through his channel. His kicking game was also on par.
Bubbling under: Camille Lopez (France)
9 – Kieran Marmion (Ireland):
Showed the fears that Ireland will have a scrumhalf problem in the absence of Conor Murray was misplaced.
Bubbling under: Will Genia (Australia)
8 – Christiaan Stander (Ireland):
His workrate is what sets him apart – not just on defence, but also with the ball in hand and at the breakdown.
Bubbling under: Mark Wilson (England)
7 – Sam Underhill (England):
He literally put his body on the line for the cause – making a weekend-high 24 tackles. Add to that 66 metres from seven carries and you get the picture.
Bubbling under: Justin Tipuric (Wales)
6 – Peter O’Mahony (Ireland):
Busy allround performance – making his tackles, his carry-count into double figures, busy at the breakdown and even winning a line-out turnover.
Bubbling under: Dan Lydiate (Wales)
5 – James Ryan (Ireland):
The spark that light up the Irish tight forwards.
Bubbling under: Alun Wyn Jones (Wales)
4 – Brodie Retallick (New Zealand):
It is not just the amount of work he gets through – like carries and tackles – but the number of line-out steals at crucial times that made him stand out.
Bubbling under: Pieter-Steph du Toit (South Africa)
3 – Kyle Sinckler (England):
Looks to have solved one of England coach Eddie Jones’ front row headaches.
Bubbling under: Tadhg Furlong (Ireland)
2 – Guilhem Guirado (France):
Showed his class and experience in a game his team should have won. It is significant that the French intensity and performance declined when he left the field in the 65th minute.
Bubbling under: Agustin Creevy (Argentina)
1 – Steven Kitshoff (South Africa):
He again showed why he is now a mainstay in the Springbok team.
Bubbling under: Cian Healy (Ireland)