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Team of the Month: Superior south

Mon, 30 Jun 2014 14:10
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With the June Tests having come and gone, it was time for rugby365's esteemed panel of selectors to put their thinking hats on.

It wasn't easy, with the exception of a couple of positions, but we produced two teams of players whom we felt produced the most outstanding performances this past month.

Not surprisingly the three unbeaten Southern Hemisphere teams - New Zealand, South Africa and Australia - totally dominate our selection.

Our starting XV has six All Blacks, four Springboks and a Wallaby - with England (two), Wales and Ireland (one each) making up the numbers.

There is further reward for the south's dominance in our back-up squad - five Boks, four Kiwis and four Aussies.

France provide the two remaining members of the Bubbling Under squad.

Team of the Month - June:

15 - Willie le Roux (South Africa):
The attacking spark in the Springbok backline and a major contribution to the 23 tries in four outings.
Bubbling under: Ben Smit (New Zealand)

14 - Alex Cuthbert (Wales):
Knows his way to the tryline and one of the Welsh heroes in a heartbreaking one-point loss in the second Test.
Bubbling under: Cornal Hendricks (South Africa)

13 - Conrad Smith (New Zealand):
The 'old man' of the All Black backline still has more class than any No.13 on show.
Bubbling under: Malakai (Fekitoa (New Zealand)

12 - Ma'a Nonu (New Zealand):
Our panel was not overly concerned with his shoulder-charging habits or the fact that in some games he missed as many tackles as he made.
Bubbling under: Jan Serfontein (South Africa)

11 - Julian Savea (New Zealand):
The monster truck steamrolled his way to four tries, including an impressive hat-trick in the third Test against England.
Bubbling under: Bryan Habana (South Africa)

10 - Jonathan Sexton (Ireland):
The Irish quietly went about their business, and he was the man pulling the strings in an unbeaten series.
Bubbling under: Bernard Foley (Australia)

9 - Fourie du Preez (South Africa):
Tough choice, but in the end Du Preez had a bigger role in the Springboks' try-scoring spree than Aaron Smith in the All Blacks' unbeaten run.
Bubbling under: Aaron Smith (New Zealand)

8 - Duane Vermeulen (South Africa):
The wrecking ball was a unanimous choice.
Bubbling under: Damien Chouly (France)

7 - Michael Hooper (Australia):
Led from the front, like a true trooper.
Bubbling under: Richie McCaw (New Zealand)

6 - Francois Louw (South Africa):
This was an interesting and long debate, but in the end Louw got the nod because he was right up there in all aspects of forward play - most carries, most effective carries, work at the breakdown and defence.
Bubbling under: Thierry Dusautoir (France)

5 - Geoff Parling (England):
Another lengthy debate, in which Parling edged Victor Matfield because of the quality of the opposition.
Bubbling under: Victor Matfield (South Africa)

4 - Brodie Retallick (New Zealand):
No debate!
Bubbling under: Lodewyk de Jager (South Africa)

3 - David Wilson (England):
Did exceptionally well in a losing cause - not just in the set pieces, but with his allround game.
Bubbling under: Sekope Kepu (Australia)

2 - Dane Coles (New Zealand):
Probably doesn't get enough credit for the growth he has shown in the last 12 months.
Bubbling under: Tatafu Polota-Nau (Australia)

1 - Tony Woodcock (New Zealand):
The veteran played like a spring chicken in June.
Bubbling under: James Slipper (Australia)

Our individual selections:

Paul Dobson XV: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.

Michael de Vries XV: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Richie McCaw, 6 Tom Wood, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tony Woodcock.

Darryn Pollock XV: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 David Wilson, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 James Slipper.

Jan de Koning XV: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Thierry Dusautoir, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 David Wilson, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Tony Woodcock.

Weekly selections:

Team of the Week - June, Round Three: 15 Ben Smith (New Zealand), 14 Cory Jane (New Zealand), 13 Malakai Fekitoa (New Zealand), 12 Jamie Roberts (Wales), 11 Julian Savea (New Zealand), 10 Bernard Foley (Australia), 9 Aaron Smith (New Zealand), 8 Taulupe Faletau (Wales), 7 Michael Hooper (Australia), 6 Francois Louw (South Africa), 5 Will Skelton (Australia), 4 Brodie Retallick (New Zealand), 3 Owen Franks (New Zealand), 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau (Australia), 1 Tony Woodcock (New Zealand).

Team of the Week - June, Round Two: 15 Willie le Roux (South Africa), 14 Lucas González Amorosino (Argentina), 13 Conrad Smith (New Zealand), 12 Ma'a Nonu (New Zealand), 11 Bryan Habana (South Africa), 10 Jonathan Sexton (Ireland), 9 Fourie du Preez (South Africa), 8 Duane Vermeulen (South Africa), 7 Michael Hooper (Australia), 6 Tom Wood (England), 5 Geoff Parling (England), 4 Brodie Retallick (New Zealand), 3 David Wilson (England), 2 Bismarck du Plessis (South Africa), 1 Gurthrö Steenkamp (Springboks).

Team of the Week - June, Round One: 15 Israel Folau (Australia), 14 Adam Ashley Cooper (Australia), 13 Manu Tuilagi (England),  12 Wynand Olivier (World XV), 11 Nick Cummins (Australia), 10 Jonathan Sexton (Ireland), 9 Fourie du Preez (South Africa), 8 Duane Vermeulen (South Africa), 7 Chris Robshaw (England), 6 James Haskell (England), 5 Sam Carter (Australia), 4 Bakkies Botha (South Africa), 3 Carl Hayman (World XV), 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau (Australia), 1 Sona Taumalolo (World XV).

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