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Team of the Week: Down under

The Rugby Championship kicked off in emphatic fashion with New Zealand and Australia cleaning up and it showed in Rugby365's Team of the Week.

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The tournament opener begun in Christchurch where Argentina challenged the World Champions. Apart from a late surge by the Pumas, the All Blacks dictated proceedings and were in control of the game from the first whistle. 

Strong performances by Sonny Bill Williams, Kieran Read, Richie McCaw and Tony Woodcock put them in the team. A lone soldier in the Argentina side – Agustin Creevy – was a shining light for the Pumas and thoroughly deserved selection. Bismarck du Plessis was a strong contender for hooker but he earns a place on the pine as a super-sub.

Sticking in Oceania where the Wallabies snatched victory from the Springboks in the dying moments – Israel Folau, Adam-Ashley-Cooper and Scott Fardy all pumped out big games. David Pocock had a immense impact off the bench but sadly there is no room for the Wallaby fetcher as he packed down at No.8 where competition was high.

Schalk Burger, Jesse Kriel, Jannie du Plessis and Eben Etzebeth all shone for the Boks, while Bryan Habana, Lodewyk de Jager, and Francois Louw sneak onto the bench as cover.

Team of the Week: Rugby Championship, Round One:

 

15 – Israel Folau (Australia): It was down to the two Israels, but Folau pipped his namesake with a solid aerial game, beating 10 defenders and carrying for 108 metres. 

Bubbling under: Israel Dagg (New Zealand)

 

14 – Adam Ashley-Cooper (Australia): Out of his regular position, but showed that there must always be room for the veteran Wallaby in the Australian team. He was the finisher of a superb training ground move.

Bubbling under: Waisake Naholo

 

13 – Jesse Kriel (South Africa): Passed the 'Test' with flying colours. Kriel was lively at outside centre linking well with his midfield partner. He also scored a superb individual try effort on debut.

Bubbling under: Tevita Kuridrani (Australia)

 

12 – Sonny Bill Williams (New Zealand): WOW! Relentless performance from the Kiwi No.12. His offloads were out of this world and he produced a master-class defensive effort.

Bubbling under: Matt Giteau (Australia)

 

11 – Charles Piutau (New Zealand): Not much going on at left wing but Piutau showed nifty footwork and strength as he beat defenders at will. Plus scored a five-pointer. 

Bubbling under: Bryan Habana (South Africa)

 

10 – Daniel Carter (New Zealand): A vintage display from the flyhalf. Showed no mercy on defence, attacked the line as a runner, put his backline away and kicked well from the tee.

Bubbling under: Quade Cooper (Australia)

 

9 – TJ Perenara (New Zealand): The stand-out scrumhalf by a mile – he was quick to the breakdown and gave Carter sweet service. He also added a try-assist to his name. 

Bubbling under: Will Genia (Australia)

 

8 – Schalk Burger (South Africa): Stiff competition at the back of the scrum, but Burger prevailed over Read and Pocock with a bruising performance all over the park and amassed a total of 20 tackles! 

Bubbling under: Kieran Read (New Zealand)

 

7 – Richie McCaw (New Zealand): Another vintage perforce from a veteran All Black. McCaw showed he is still one of the best in the world at the breakdown and he was a thorn in the Pumas ruck for 80 minutes. 

Bubbling under: Michael Hooper (Australia)

 

6 – Scott Fardy (Australia):  A real work-horse for the Wallabies. Fardy carried the ball tirelessly and cleaned rucks ensuring Australia had clean ball. He was a go-to man in the line-out as well. 

Bubbling under: Francois Louw (South Africa)

 

5 – Brodie Retallick (New Zealand): A big defensive effort from the 2014 World Player of the Year. Retallick put in big hits and did plenty of dog-work for the All Blacks.

Bubbling under: Lodewyk de Jager (South Africa)

 

4 – Eben Etzebeth (South Africa): A familiar face in Team of the Week, Etzebeth was huge with 15 tackles, 11 runs for 22 metres and a try in the corner for the Boks. He was also quality in the line-outs with four clean takes.

Bubbling under: Luke Romano (New Zealand)

 

3 – Jannie du Plessis (South Africa): Silenced many critics proving that he isn't over the hill yet. Scrummed like a champion and put in some big tackles… 8 of them.

Bubbling under: Owen Franks (New Zealand)

 

2 – Agustin Creevy (Argentina): The pick of the Pumas – Creevy was monstrous and lead from the front. He scored a double and carried the ball 13 times, easily breaking the advantage line. A powerhouse performance by the Puma captain.

Bubbling under: Bismarck du Plessis (South Africa)

 

1 – Tony Woodcock (New Zealand): A dominant scrumming performance against a highly rated Argentine pack resulted in the experienced loosehead cracking the nod.

Bubbling under: Tendai Mtawarira (South Africa)

 

Our individual selections!

 

Jan de Koning XV: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Jessie Kriel, 12 Matt Giteau, 11 Charles Piutau, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Schalk Burger, 7 Richie McCaw, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Tony Woodcock.

 

Paul Dobson XV: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Charles Piutau, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Schalk Burger, 7 Richie McCaw, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tony Woodcock.

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Andrew Duncan XV: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Charles Piutau, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Tony Woodcock

 

Warren Fortune XV: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Matt Giteau, 11 Charles Piutau, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 TJ Perenara,  8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw, 6 Scott Fardy 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Jannie du Plessis 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tony Woodcock

 

Tauriq Ebrahim XV: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Schalk Burger, 7 Richie McCaw, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Brody Retallick, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.

 

Michael de Vries XV: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Schalk Burger, 7 Richie McCaw, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Tony Woodcock.

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