Team of the Tournament: One-horse race

Mon, 10 Oct 2016 17:18

OPINION: New Zealand's dominance of the game can be found in many statistics and events - such as the Rugby Championship.

Not only did the All Blacks achieve a 100 percent success rate, but their 30 points (from a first-ever six bonus-point victories) is more than the other teams combine - Australia (with 13 points), South Africa (10) and Argentina (five).

It is thus not a surprise that they totally dominate rugby365's famous Team of the Tournament.

There are 10 All Blacks in our starting XV - with three Wallabies and two Argentineans making up our first-choice selection.

The Argentineans, despite finishing last, is the team that impressed us most among the also-rans.

They have seven players bubbling under, with four Wallabies and three All Blacks also in the mix.

Eben Etzebeth, despite a severe slump in form in the latter half of the season, found favour from one of our selectors and is South Africa's sole representative among the 30 players.

Team of the Tournament:

15 - Ben Smith (New Zealand):
Scored the most tries, made the highest number of clean breaks, second on the list of defenders beaten and second on the list of metres made with ball in hand.
Bubbling under: Joaquin Tuculet (Argentina)

14 - Israel Dagg (New Zealand):
Like most All Blacks he is prominent in all the key categories - cashing in on weak defensive systems and creating opportunities where there appear to be none.
Bubbling under: Santiago Cordero (Argentina)

13 - Anton Lienert-Brown (New Zealand):
The brightest new star in New Zealand and world rugby.
Bubbling under: Samu Kerevi (Australia)

12 - Ryan Crotty (New Zealand):
Not as prominent as his All Black midfield partner, but still better than the rest.
Bubbling under: Jeronimo De La Fuente (Argentina)

11 - Dane Haylett-Petty (Australia):
One of the Wallabies who was consistently good in a season of stark contrasts.
Bubbling under: Julian Savea (New Zealand)

10 - Beauden Barrett (New Zealand):
Simply the best!
Bubbling under: Nicolas Sanchez (Argentina)

9 - Will Genia (Australia):
This one caused considerable debate, but the 'majority vote' won in the end - with the two Kiwis, Aaron Smith and TJ Perenara making strong claims.
Bubbling under: Aaron SAmith (New Zealand)

8 - Facundo Isa (Argentina):
One of the finds of the year and one with a bright, long future ahead of him if he can say injury free.
Bubbling under: Kieran Read (New Zealand)

7 - Ardie Savea (New Zealand):
He may have had a bit of a slump in form and energy in the latter rounds, but overall still rated the best by our esteemed panel.
Bubbling under: Michael Hooper (Australia)

6 - Jerome Kaino (New Zealand):
Made sure his last season in the All Black jersey is a memorable one.
Bubbling under: Pablo Matera (Argentina)

5 - Samuel Whitelock (New Zealand):
Not as flash as some players, but the unassuming approach of this hardworking lock is at the heart of the success of the All Black pack.
Bubbling under: Adam Coleman (Australia)

4 - Brodie Retallick (New Zealand):
The muscle and grunt in the All Black pack, with a workrate and some sublime skills to boot.
Bubbling under: Eben Etzebeth (South Africa)

3 - Ramiro Herrera (Argentina):
The one position where no player dominated - with most candidates playing in fits and starts.
Bubbling under: Sekope Kepu (Australia)

2 - Dane Coles (New Zealand):
Skill, pace and power - the ultimate hooker.
Bubbling under: Agustin Creevy (Argentina)

1 - Scott Sio (Australia):
One of the more consistent performers in a rather mediocre Wallaby pack.
Bubbling under: Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro (Argentina)

Our individual selections:

Paul Dobson XV: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Dane Haylett-Petty, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Will Genia, 8 Facundo Isa, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Scott Sio.

Warren Fortune XV: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Israel Dagg, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Facundo Isa, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Scott Sio.

Jan de Koning XV: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Israel Dagg, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Jeronimo De La Fuente, 11 Dane Haylett-Petty, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Facundo Isa, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro.

Tauriq Ebrahim XV: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Israel Dagg, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Manual Montero, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Will Genia, 8 Facundo Isa, 7 Javier Ortega Desio, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Joe Moody.

Weekly selections:

Team of the Week Rugby Championship, Week Five: 15 Ben Smith (New Zealand), 14 Dane Haylett-Petty (Australia), 13 Anton Lienert-Brown (New Zealand), 12 Ryan Crotty (New Zealand), 11 Francois Hougaard (South Africa), 10 Beauden Barrett (New Zealand), 9 TJ Perenara (New Zealand), 8 Facundo Isa (Argentina), 7 Ardie Savea (New Zealand), 6 Francois Louw (South Africa), 5 Brodie Retallick (New Zealand), 4 Patrick Tuipulotu (New Zealand), 3 Julian Redelinghuys (South Africa), 2 Adriaan Strauss (South Africa), 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro (Argentina).

Team of the Week Rugby Championship, Week Four: 15 Ben Smith (New Zealand), 14 Israel Dagg (New Zealand), 13 Samu Kerevi (Australia), 12 Bernard Foley (Australia), 11 Julian Savea (New Zealand), 10 Beauden Barrett (New Zealand), 9 Will Genia (Australia), 8 Facundo Isa (Argentina), 7 Ardie Savea (New Zealand), 6 Pablo Matera (Argentina), 5 Adam Coleman (Australia), 4 Rob Simmons (Australia), 3 Sekope Kepu (Australia), 2 Dane Coles (New Zealand), 1 Joe Moody (New Zealand).

Team of the Week Rugby Championship, Week Three: 15 Ben Smith (New Zealand), 14 Matthias Moroni (Argentina), 13 Samu Kerevi (Australia), 12 Ryan Crotty (New Zealand), 11 Julian Savea (New Zealand), 10 Beauden Barrett (New Zealand), 9 Will Genia (Australia), 8 Facundo Isa (Argentina), 7 Javier Ortega Desio (Argentina), 6 Jerome Kaino (New Zealand), 5 Samuel Whitelock (New Zealand), 4 Brodie Retallick (New Zealand), 3 Ramiro Herrera (Argentina), 2 Agustin Creevy (Argentina), 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro (Argentina).

Team of the Week Rugby Championship, Week Two: 15 Ben Smith (New Zealand), 14 Israel Dagg (New Zealand), 13 Malakai Fekitoa (New Zealand), 12 Anton Lienert-Brown (New Zealand), 11 Manual Montero (Argentina), 10 Beauden Barrett (New Zealand), 9 Aaron Smith (New Zealand), 8 Facundo Isa (Argentina), 7 Sam Cane (New Zealand), 6 Pablo Matera (Argentina), 5 Sam Whitelock (New Zealand), 4 Brodie Retallick (New Zealand), 3 Ramiro Herrera (Argentina), 2 Dane Coles (New Zealand), 1 Joe Moody (New Zealand).

Team of the Week Rugby Championship, Week One: 15 Israel Dagg (New Zealand), 14 Ruan Combrinck (South Africa), 13 Matias Orlando (Argentina), 12 Ryan Crotty (New Zealand), 11 Waisake Naholo (New Zealand), 10 Beauden Barrett (New Zealand), 9 Aaron Smith (New Zealand), 8 Kieran Read (New Zealand), 7 Sam Cane (New Zealand), 6 Jerome Kaino (New Zealand), 5 Sam Whitelock (New Zealand), 4 Brodie Retallick (New Zealand), 3 Ramiro Herrera (Argentina), 2 Dane Coles (New Zealand), 1 Francisco Chaparro (Argentina).

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