Second Phase

Team of the Week: Victory in defeat

Mon, 25 Nov 2013 12:55
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Four players return
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Ireland may still be struggling to come to terms with their heartbreaking loss to New Zealand at the weekend, but there is some consolation in our famous weekly selection.

Games are so often lost as a result and one moment of magic or an individual error, as was the case in the All Blacks' impressive come-from-behind 24-22 win over Ireland in Dublin.

And while victory ensure the Kiwi class of 2013 will go down as the most successful team of the professional era, it doesn't mean we have ignored the good performances of a number of Irish players.

As a result four Irish players have found favour in our starting XV.

That is the same number as South Africa, following the Springboks' win over France in the Paris arm-wrestle - a result which made the Bok class of 2013 the most successful SA side in almost two decade.

New Zealand, France, Australia (two each) and Argentina (one) provide the rest of our first-choice selections.

Australia (four) and South Africa( three) also headline out back-up squad.

Wales, France (two each), New Zealand, Scotland, Italy and Ireland (one each) make up the numbers.

Four players return from last week - centre Ben Smith (New Zealand), wing Julian Savea (New Zealand), flyhalf Quade Cooper (Australia) hooker Stephen Moore (Australia).

Team of the Week - November, Round Four:

15 - Rob Kearney (Ireland):
This was a tough call between two very skillful and willing players - Kearney just edging Israel Folau, despite missing a crucial tackle. He fielded everything the All Blacks directed him and returned almost 120 running metres.
Bubbling under: Israel Folau (Australia)

14 - JP Pietersen (South Africa):
Perhaps still a bit off the pace, but improving and produced a crucial play - a charge-down and opening try - that proved to be crucial.
Bubbling under: George North (Wales)

13 - Ben Smith (New Zealand):
Won by majority vote, with the selectors feeling his defensive lapses can be overlooked in the wake of some fine attacking form.
Bubbling under: Jaque Fourie (South Africa)

12 - Wesley Fofana (France):
Some debate about this one. In the end it went to the player who made more running metres, with fewer opportunities, and did not miss a single tackle. Ma'a Nonu's defensive frailties were again exposed.
Bubbling under: Ma'a Nonu (New Zealand)

11 - Julian Savea (New Zealand):
Left a few defenders in his wake as he displayed his brutal power.
Bubbling under: Chris Feauai-Sautia (Australia)

10 - Quade Cooper (Australia):
He is again the puppet-master that skillfully pulls the strings in the Wallaby backline.
Bubbling under: Morné Steyn (South Africa)

9 - Conor Murray (Ireland):
Produced the performance of his life and a key player in a game that saw Ireland come within seconds of a famous win.
Bubbling under: Greig Laidlaw (Scotland)

8 - Duane Vermeulen (South Africa):
He has become a key component in an ever-improving Springbok outfit.
Bubbling under: Damien Chouly (France)

7 - Sean O'Brien (Ireland):
Kept pushing the envelope, like any good openside flank should, and got penalised a couple of times. His carries and massive tackle count far outweighs the negatives.
Bubbling under: Michael Hooper (Australia)

6 - Juan Manual Leguizamón (Argentina):
The Pumas captain was a key factor in helping his team win their first match of their year-end campaign.
Bubbling under: Thierry Dusautoir (France)

5 - Flip van der Merwe (South Africa):
Having grabbed his opportunity, he has now proven himself to be a goof option for the troubled Springbok No.5 jersey - calling the line-outs, winning ball on the opposition throws and making plenty of tackles.
Bubbling under: Paul O'Connell (Ireland)

4 - Pascal Pape (France):
Not only a flawless defensive effort, but some good carries and also won all his own line-outs.
Bubbling under: Luke Charteris (Wales)

3 - Coenie Oosthuizen (South Africa):
Finally dispelled the notion that he is not a tighthead prop of international standard.
Bubbling under: Martín Castrogiovanni (Italy)

2 - Stephen Moore (Australia):
The veteran had a near flawless performance, with his physicality vital to the Wallaby cause.
Bubbling under: Bismarck du Plessis (South Africa)

1 - Cian Healy (Ireland):
The Irish prop made life rather unpleasant for the All Blacks, so much so that we'll forgive him his missed tackles.
Bubbling under: James Slipper (Australia)

Our individual selections:

Paul Dobson XV: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Ben Smith, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Juan Manual Leguizamón, 5 Flip van der Merwe, 4 Luke Charteris, 3 Martín Castrogiovanni, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Cian Healy.

Michael de Vries XV: 15 Israel Folau, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Ben Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Juan Manual Leguizamón, 5 James Horwill, 4 Pascal Pape, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Cian Healy.

Quintin van Jaarsveld XV: 15 Israel Folau, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Ben Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Damien Chouly, 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Thierry Dusautoir, 5 Paul O'Connell, 4 Pascal Pape, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Cian Healy.

Jan de Koning XV: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 George North, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Juan Manual Leguizamón, 5 Flip van der Merwe, 4 Pascal Pape, 3 Martín Castrogiovanni, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Cian Healy.

Previous selection:

Team of the Week - November, Round Three: 15 Willie le Roux (South Africa), 14 Charles Piutau (New Zealand), 13 Ben Smith (New Zealand), 12 Jean de Villiers (South Africa), 11 Julian Savea (New Zealand), 10 Quade Cooper (Australia), 9 Mike Phillips (Wales), 8 Kieran Read (New Zealand), 7 Michael Hooper (Australia), 6 Francois Louw (South Africa), 5 Sam Whitelock (New Zealand), 4 Rob Simmons (Australia), 3 Dan Cole (England), 2 Stephen Moore (Australia), 1 James Slipper (Australia).

Team of the Week - November, Round Two: 15 Brice Dulin (France), 14 Cory Jane (New Zealand), 13 Tevita Kuridrani (Australia), 12 Jean de Villiers (South Africa), 11 Nick Cummins (Australia), 10 Quade Cooper (Australia), 9 Fourie du Preez (South Africa), 8 Kieran Read (New Zealand), 7 Willem Alberts (South Africa), 6 Thierry Dusautoir (France), 5 Courtney Lawes (England), 4 Joe Launchbury (England), 3 Nicolas Mas (France), 2 Bismarck du Plessis (South Africa), 1 Marcos Ayerza (Argentina).

Team of the Week - November, Round One: 15 Mike Brown (England), 14 Charles Piutau (New Zealand), 13 Ben Smith (New Zealand), 12 Francis Saili (New Zealand), 11 Frank Halai (New Zealand), 10 Daniel Carter (New Zealand), 9 Fumiaki Tanaka (Japan), 8 Billy Vunipola (England), 7 Chris Robshaw (England), 6 Tom Wood (England), 5 James Horwill (Australia), 4 Jeremy Thrush (New Zealand), 3 Dan Cole (England), 2 Shota Horie (Japan), 1 Mako Vunipola (England).

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