Second Phase

Team of the Week: It's All Black

Mon, 25 Jun 2012 10:31
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The All Blacks are currently the best team in the world with the rest playing catch-up and that is apparent in our latest Team of the Week selection.

New Zealand's incredible destruction job in their 60-0 hammering of Ireland earns them a staggering 10 places in this week's team.

The remaining five places are shared between Wales (two), France (two) and Australia (one), but it was obvious who the best team was this past weekend...

Yet another tight Test match between Australia and Wales leaves the visitors heartbroken yet again, although there may be some consolation that they have won four bubbling under spots.

The Springboks and England played out to a 14-all draw and slide seven players into the bubbling under selection between them, with neither side producing a member of the starting XV.

Returning from last week's selection is All Blacks centre Sonny Bill Williams, who is looking like cementing himself in the No.12 jersey. Back for the third week in a row is veteran Wallaby lock Nathan Sharpe and how badly he'll be missed when he finally hangs up his boots.

Team of the Week:

15 Israel Dagg
(New Zealand)
Scored a great try by chasing a kick where he was able to burn the defence despite a niggling injury - either playing possum or simply a man for the big moments in a match... you decide.
Bubbling under: Leigh Halfpenny (Wales)

14 Yoann Huget (France)
Scored two tries and was the most exciting player on the field for France with his acceleration and eye for a gap serving him well.
Bubbling under: Chris Aston (England)

13 Conrad Smith (New Zealand)
One of the most dependable players in world rugby with his rock-solid defence and very good distribution to put his wings into space.
Bubbling under: Jonathan Davies (Wales)

12 Sonny Bill Williams (New Zealand)
Probably his best performance in an All Blacks jersey and he came away with a brace of tries for his efforts. He ran well and broke the line a few times, with a couple of trademark off-loads thrown in too. He capped it all off with the grubber kick that gave Dagg a try.
Bubbling under: Manu Tuilagi (England)

11 Hosea Gear (New Zealand)
Produced the most exciting moment of the match with a thundering run down the touchline that included sending Ireland's Keith Earls flying in a brutal collision.
Bubbling under: Bryan Habana (South Africa)

10 Aaron Cruden (New Zealand)
Was incredible for the 24 minutes he played before limping off with an injury. Slick handling helped him to set up all four first-half tries with his off-loads putting runners into space. His short cameo put the match out of Ireland's reach early in the game.
Bubbling under: Berrick Barnes (Australia)

9 Aaron Smith (New Zealand)
His running game was very impressive with a great dart that set-up a try for Sam Cane, while his lightning quick pass and speed at clearing the ruck is incredible.
Bubbling under: Danny Care (England)

8 Richie McCaw (New Zealand)
A new role at No.8 for the skipper, who slotted into the back of the scrum effectively, and produced his regular array of big tackles and crucial turnovers.
Bubbling under: Ryan Jones (Wales)

7 Sam Cane (New Zealand)
Gave New Zealand hope that there will be life after McCaw, as the young tearaway was exceptional in his first start for the All Blacks. A menace at the breakdowns and he turned up in the right place at the right time more often than not with two tries to cap off a terrific performance.
Bubbling under: David Pocock (Australia)

6 Liam Messam (New Zealand)
Not always the most popular man in New Zealand, but the big Chief was very strong and balanced out the back row with his work in the tighter phases of the match. He also scored a try and provided the crucial pass to give Cane a try.
Bubbling under: Marcell Coetzee (South Africa)

5 Nathan Sharpe (Australia)
A typically determined performance from the tough veteran who is such a dependable man to have in the second row.
Bubbling under: Geoff Parling (England)

4 Luke Romano (New Zealand)
Brilliant from start to finish and exactly the kind of lock New Zealand have been looking for to fill Brad Thorn's boots. Hit rucks hard and carried the ball very strongly, often taking several tacklers to bring him to ground.
Bubbling under: Bradley Davies (Wales)

3 Adam Jones (Wales)
Another good scrumming performance from the Hair Bear, who gave Benn Robinson a tough time in the set-pieces.
Bubbling under: Owen Franks (New Zealand)

2 Matthew Rees (Wales)
He was a powerful presence in open play, barging over the gainline regularly to get his side on the front foot.
Bubbling under: Rory Best (Ireland)

1 Vincent Debaty (France)
He made the Argentina scrum look second rate with a powerful scrumming performance and earned his team a penalty try with a big scrum on the line.
Bubbling under: Tendai Mtwarira (South Africa)

Individual selections:

Paul Dobson XV:
15 Leigh Halfpenny (Wales), 14 Chris Aston (England), 13 Jonathan Davies (Wales), 12 Sonny Bill Williams (New Zealand), 11 Bryan Habana (South Africa), 10 Aaron Cruden (New Zealand), 9 Maxime Machenoud (France), 8 Richie McCaw (New Zealand), 7 Sam Cane (New Zealand), 6 Marcell Coetzee (South Africa), 5 Sam Whitelock (New Zealand), 4 Luke Romano (New Zealand), 3 Adam Jones (Wales), 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau (Australia), 1 Tendai Mtwarira (South Africa).

Jan de Koning XV: 15 Israel Dagg (New Zealand), 14 Chris Ashton (England), 13 Conrad Smith (New Zealand), 12 Sonny Bill Williams (New Zealand), 11 Hosea Gear (New Zealand), 10 Berrick Barnes (Australia), 9 Aaron Smith (New Zealand), 8 Richie McCaw (New Zealand), 7 Sam Cane (New Zealand), 6 Liam Messam (New Zealand), 5 Nathan Sharpe (Australia), 4 Luke Romano (New Zealand), 3 Adam Jones (Wales), 2 Matthew Rees (Wales), 1 Vincent Debaty (France).

Len Kaplan XV: 15 Israel Dagg (New Zealand), 14 Yoann Huget (France), 13 Conrad Smith (New Zealand), 12 Sonny Bill Williams (New Zealand), 11 Hosea Gear (New Zealand), 10 Berrick Barnes (Australia), 9 Danny Care (England), 8 Richie McCaw (New Zealand), 7 Sam Cane (New Zealand), 6 Liam Messam (New Zealand), 5 Donnacha Ryan (Ireland), 4 Luke Romano (New Zealand), 3 Owen Franks (New Zealand), 2 Matthew Rees (Wales), 1 Vincent Debaty (France).

Mike de Vries XV: 15 Israel Dagg (New Zealand), 14 Yoann Huget (France), 13 Conrad Smith (New Zealand), 12 Sonny Bill Williams (New Zealand), 11 Hosea Gear (New Zealand), 10 Aaron Cruden (New Zealand), 9 Aaron Smith (New Zealand), 8 Ryan Jones (Wales), 7 Sam Cane (New Zealand), 6 Liam Messam (New Zealand), 5 Yoann Maestri (France), 4 Luke Romano (New Zealand), 3 Owen Franks (New Zealand), 2 Rory Best (Ireland), 1 Benn Robinson (Australia).

Timmy Hancox XV: 15 Israel Dagg (New Zealand), 14 JP Pietersen (South Africa), 13 Conrad Smith (New Zealand), 12 Sonny Bill Williams (New Zealand), 11 Hosea Gear (New Zealand), 10 Aaron Cruden (New Zealand), 9 Aaron Smith (New Zealand), 8 Richie McCaw (New Zealand), 7 Sam Cane (New Zealand), 6 Marcell Coetzee (South Africa), 5 Geoff Parling (England), 4 Luke Romano (New Zealand), 3 Adam Jones (Wales), 2 Rory Best (Ireland), 1 Tendai Mtwarira (South Africa).

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