Team of the Week: Entertainers triumph

Mon, 21 Nov 2016 15:46

OPINION: It was, without a doubt, the most entertaining match of the weekend - not just because of the skill levels, but also the physicality and intensity.

That is why New Zealand's 21-9 (a flattering score for the All Blacks) over Ireland resulted in these two teams dominating rugby365's famous weekly selection.

The All Blacks, despite a couple of favourable calls, still deserve the six players in our starting XV.

Ireland, who could soon challenge England for the No.2 ranking in the global standings, have four players in our first-choice selection.

France, despite their narrow (23-25) loss to Australia, have two players starting.

Italy (after their historic win over South Africa), Australia and England make up the numbers with one each.

There is further reward for Ireland in our back-up squad, as they have three players bubbling under - the same as the Wallabies.

New Zealand and Italy have two each - while Japan, England, France, Scotland and Wales (one each) make up the numbers.

Only one player returns from last week's selection -  prop Mako Vunipola (England).

Team of the Week - November, Week Three:

15 - Ben Smith (New Zealand):
The cream always rises to the top. When the All Blacks needed it most, their key players stood up.
Bubbling under: Edoardo Padovani (Italy)

14 - Noa Nakaitaci (France):
One of the many Fijians not playing for Fiji that ran amok this weekend.
Bubbling under: Akihito Yamada (Japan)

13 - Malakai Fekitoa (New Zealand):
He hasn't had the best tour so far, but was in scintillating form at the weekend.
Bubbling under: Jonathan Joseph (England)

12 - Wesley Fofana (France):
He beat defenders almost at will and made plenty of metres with the ball in hand. Just a pity he did not always have the support.
Bubbling under: Kyle Godwin (Australia)

11 - Julian Savea (New Zealand):
He still has defensive issues, but on attack there is no doubting his ability.
Bubbling under: Giovanbattista Venditti (Italy)

10 - Beauden Barrett (New Zealand):
There is no doubt why he was named World Rugby's Player of the Year.
Bubbling under: Jean-Marc Doussain (France)

9 - Conor Murray (Ireland):
Was once again the puppet master who pulled Ireland's strings.
Bubbling under: Greig Laidlaw (Scotland)

8 - Sergio Parisse (Italy):
Still the main challenger for Kieran Reid's title as the world's premier No.8.
Bubbling under: Kieran Read (New Zealand)

7 - David Pocock (Australia):
Made the most tackles of all the openside flanks, while being a real nuisance at the breakdown. The three penalties he conceded were par for the course.
Bubbling under: Sean O'Brien (Ireland)

6 - Josh van der Flier (Ireland):
Forced into the game much earlier than he expected, but again showed that he could be good value as a starting loose forward as well.
Bubbling under: Liam Squire (New Zealand)

5 - Devin Toner (Ireland):
Apart from his value in the line-outs, he was enormous on defence - in short Ireland's most valuable loose forward. Special mention must go to Alun Wyn Jones and Sam Whitelock.
Bubbling under: Alun Wyn Jones (Wales)

4 - Brodie Retallick (New Zealand):
He was a monster in a brutal contest - one of the main protagonists in ensuring New Zealand had parity in the collision areas.
Bubbling under: Kane Douglas (Australia)

3 - Tadhg Furlong (Ireland):
Apart from his scrum work, it was his ball in hand performance that impressed us most.
Bubbling under: Allan Ala'alatoa (Australia)

2 - Dane Coles (New Zealand):
Certainly the most skilful hooker around at the moment. And he doesn't shy away from the hard work.
Bubbling under: Rory Best (Ireland)

1 - Mako Vunipola (England):
Maybe Eddie Jones was right about him becoming a 'world class' player.
Bubbling under: Jack McGrath (Ireland)

Our individual selections:

Warren Fortune XV: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Noa Nakaitaci, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Sergio Parisse, 7 David Pocock, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Rory Best, 1 Mako Vunipola.

Tauriq Ebrahim XV: 15 Edoardo Padovani, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Giovanbattista Venditti, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 Sergio Parisse, 7 David Pocock, 6 Josh van der Flier, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Mako Vunipola.

Paul Dobson XV: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Akihito Yamada, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Sergio Parisse, 7 David Pocock, 6 Josh van der Flier, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Mako Vunipola.

Jan de Koning XV: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Noa Nakaitaci, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Giovanbattista Venditti, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Sergio Parisse, 7 David Pocock, 6 Josh van der Flier, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Rory Best, 1 Jack McGrath.

Previous selections:

Team of the Week - November, Week Two: 15 Mike Brown (England), 14 DTH van der Merwe (Canada), 13 Huw Jones (Scotland), 12 Owen Farrell (England), 11 Jonny May (England), 10 George Ford (England), 9 Ben Youngs (England), 8 Billy Vunipola (England), 7 Sam Cane (New Zealand), 6 John Barcley (Scotland), 5 Jonny Gray (Scotland), 4 Ultan Dillane (Ireland), 3 Charlie Faumuina (New Zealand), 2 Stephen Moore (Australia), 1 Mako Vunipola (England).

Team of the Week - November, Week One: 15 Rob Kearney (Ireland), 14 Dane Haylett-Petty (Australia), 13 Tevita Kuridrani (Australia), 12 Robbie Henshaw (Ireland), 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro (Barbarians), 10 Johnny Sexton (Ireland), 9 Conor Murray (Ireland), 8 Ross Moriarty (Wales), 7 Josh van der Flier (Ireland), 6 Christian Stander (Ireland), 5 Devin Toner (Ireland), 4 Rory Arnold (Australia), 3 Tadhg Furlong (Ireland), 2 Stephen Moore (Australia), 1 Jack McGrath (Ireland).

@rugby365.com