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Team of the Week: Soweto beckons

Mon, 01 Oct 2012 11:50
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With both sides on form their showdown on Saturday should be far more than a dead rubber
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The Rugby Championship may have already been decided, but judging by our Team of the Week the clash in Soweto this weekend should still be a classic.

Both the All Blacks and the Springboks recorded convincing victories to dominate our selection this week, and with both sides on form their showdown on Saturday should be far more than a dead rubber.

The world champions wrapped up the Rugby Championship in fine style on Saturday, slaying Argentina 54-15 in front of their home crowd, a performance which saw them take seven of the places in our side.

However, they have some competition from the Boks who took advantage of an injury-ravaged Wallabies side to run in five tries at Loftus Versfeld and earn five spots in our side.

This sets up a mouth-watering showdown in Soweto this weekend as the Boks look to end the All Blacks' 15-match unbeaten run with both teams full of confidence after big wins.

Although they were outclassed at home the Pumas still managed to take the remaining three places in our side, with the wounded Wallabies unable to impress our selectors enough to crack a single nod.

The bubbling under side sees a similar spread with the Boks and All Blacks making up the majority of the team with six players each and two Wallabies and a Puma making up the numbers.

Rugby Championship Team of the Week, Round Five:

15 Israel Dagg (New Zealand)
The only player to feature in our team in every round of the competition so far, and although he was not as prominent as he has been on attack his positional play was superb, and the fact that the All Blacks wings scored five tries between them tells a story.
Bubbling under: Zane Kirchner (South Africa)

14 Bryan Habana (South Africa)
Habana's return to form has been one of the success stories of the year for the Boks and he continued his upward curve with a breathtaking hat-trick that showed off his hunger for work and slick finishing skills.
Bubbling under: Cory Jane (New Zealand)

13 Marcelo Bosch (Argentina)
Seemed to be doing the defending by himself at times and added some purpose on attack with a few neat steps to get the Pumas backline over the gainline.
Bubbling under: Conrad Smith (New Zealand)

12 Ma'a Nonu (New Zealand)
Showed what a devastating force he can be running off the shoulder of the halfbacks and had his opposite number under constant pressure.
Bubbling under: Jean de Villiers (South Africa)

11 Julian Savea (New Zealand)
His pace and power saw him run in two quality tries, and he also showed good awareness and distribution skills under pressure which strengthens the belief that he is set to become a great.
Bubbling under: Digby Ioane (Australia)

10 Dan Carter (New Zealand)
The master returned to the Test arena and showed everyone what they have been missing in his absence. He controlled the game well by  varying his kicking game and managed to make the most of the attacking threats outside him expertly.
Bubbling under: Johan Goosen (South Africa)

9 Martín Landajo (Argentina)
The Pumas halfback provided good service and he used his considerable pace to ask constant questions of the All Blacks' defence, showing his killer instinct to finish his early try.
Bubbling under: Aaron Smith (New Zealand)

8 Kieran Read (New Zealand)
Cleared up the debate over who the best No.8 in the world is by outshining Pumas captain Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe with a complete performance. Got through a ton of work and linked exceptionally well.
Bubbling under: Duane Vermeulen (South Africa)

7 Richie McCaw (New Zealand)
The All Black skipper seems to be increasing his work-rate (somehow), taking the concept of leading from the front to a new level by chasing down every ball and making as many tackles as anyone else.
Bubbling under: Willem Alberts (South Africa)

6 Francois Louw (South Africa)
His call-up is proving to be one of the best selection calls that Heyneke Meyer has made as Bok coach. He balances the loose trio by posing a threat at the breakdown and providing plenty of power as well, not to mention the running skills he showed off when putting Habana away for his third try.
Bubbling under: Liam Messam (New Zealand)

5 Andries Bekker (South Africa)
The Bok beanpole returned to the starting line-up with a commanding performance, he ruled the line-out and orchestrated the driving mauls that sapped the life out of the Wallaby pack.
Bubbling under: Patricio Albacete (Argentina)

4 Eben Etzebeth (South Africa)
The young giant was all business on his return from suspension and made his physicality count in an accurate performance.
Bubbling under: Brodie Retallick (New Zealand)

3 Owen Franks (New Zealand)
Provided a solid platform at scrum-time with another consistent outing and got involved in the loose as well, carrying the ball up powerfully.
Bubbling under: Jannie du Plessis (South Africa)

2 Adriaan Strauss (South Africa)
Played with his characteristic intensity and tightened his line-out throwing as well as the Bok pack took control.
Bubbling under: Tatafu Polota-Nau (Australia)

1 Rodrigo Roncero (Argentina)
Another fighting performance from the veteran who did not get much support from his teammates against the dominant All Blacks, but put his body on the line once again.
Bubbling under: Tony Woodcock (New Zealand)

Our individual selections:

Jan de Koning XV: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Rodrigo Roncero.

Quintin van Jaarsveld XV: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Martín Landajo, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Adriaan  Strauss, 1 Tony Woodcock.

Paul Dobson XV: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Martín Landajo, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Rodrigo Roncero.

Michael de Vries XV: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Martín Landajo, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.

Len Kaplan XV: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Martín Landajo, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Rodrigo Roncero.

Previous selections:

Round One: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jean de Villiers, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe, 7 Richie McCaw, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.

Round Two: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Ma'a Nonu, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Eusebio Guiñazu, 1 Rodrigo Roncero.

Round Three: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Berrick Barnes, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Juan Martín Hernández, 9 Will Genia, 8 Juan Martín Fernandez Lobbe, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Rodrigo Roncero.

Round Four: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Juan Martin Hernandez, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw, 6 Julio Farias Cabello, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Rodrigo Roncero.

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