Team of the Week: Celtic collection

Mon, 28 Nov 2016 14:28
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OPINION: The Celtic nations made a big statement at the weekend and they have been duly rewarded in rugby365's famous selection.

Ireland, without doubt the most improved team of the year, and Wales provide the bulk of our starting XV.

There are eight Celts in our first-choice selection, with New Zealand (three), England, Australia, France and Argentina (one each) making up the rest of the team.

There are four more Celtic players in our back-up squad - four from Ireland and one from Scotland.

France (four bubbling under) add to the Northern Hemisphere heavy squad - with Australia (three), New Zealand (two) and England (one) completing the selection.

Four players returns from last week's selection - flyhalf Beauden Barrett (New Zealand), scrumhalf Conor Murray (Ireland), prop Tadhg Furlong (Ireland) and hooker Dane Coles (New Zealand).

Team of the Week - November, Week Four:

15 - Mike Brown (England):
He made the Argentinians' normally sound defensive structures look decidedly second rate.
Bubbling under: Stuart Hogg (Scotland)

14 - Dane Haylett-Petty (Australia):
One of the real Wallaby stars in what was a year of erratic performances by the Aussies.
Bubbling under: Noa Nakaitaci (France)

13 - Jonathan Davies (Wales):
He showed South Africa's young guns just how far behind they are on the international stage.
Bubbling under: Tevita Kuridrani (Australia)

12 - Garry Ringrose (Ireland):
With talented young players like this coming through there's a bright future ahead for Ireland.
Bubbling under: Ryan Crotty (New Zealand)

11 - Virimi Vakatawa (France):
Flying Fijian wings have become the flavour of the month.
Bubbling under: Julian Savea (New Zealand)

10 - Beauden Barrett (New Zealand):
Was there ever any doubt?
Bubbling under: Paddy Jackson (Ireland)

9 - Conor Murray (Ireland):
He must be close to being the best (at least most on-form) scrumhalf in the world at present.
Bubbling under: Maxime Machenaud (France)

8 - Ross Moriarty (Wales):
Was a monster on defence and just as powerful with ball in hand.
Bubbling under: David Pocock (Australia)

7 - Justin Tipuric (Wales):
And they worried the absence of Sam Warburton could hamper them.
Bubbling under: Michael Hooper (Australia)

6 - Christiaan Stander (Ireland):
One of the most valuable assets Ireland managed to lure from South Africa.
Bubbling under: Charles Ollivon (France)

5 - Sam Whitelock (New Zealand):
One of the few All Blacks who seemed to have something left in the tank for the final match of the year.
Bubbling under: George Kruis (England)

4 - Guido Petti (Argentina):
One of only a few Pumas who kept their reputations intact.
Bubbling under: Iain Henderson (Ireland)

3 - Tadhg Furlong (Ireland):
One of the break-out players of the year.
Bubbling under: Uini Atonio (France)

2 - Dane Coles (New Zealand):
Simply the most complete hooker in the world at present.
Bubbling under: Rory Best (Ireland)

1 - Gethin Jenkins (Wales):
Really did make the South African front row look like rank amateurs.
Bubbling under: Jack McGrath (Ireland)

Our individual selections:

Warren Fortune XV: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Dane Haylett-Petty, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Garry Ringrose, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Conor Murray, 8 David Pocock, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Christiaan Stander, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Iain Henderson, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Rory Best, 1 Jack McGrath.

Paul Dobson XV: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Dane Haylett-Petty, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Virimi Vakatawa, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Ross Moriarty, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Christiaan Stander, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Gethin Jenkins.

Jan de Koning XV: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Noa Nakaitaci, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Garry Ringrose, 11 Virimi Vakatawa, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Ross Moriarty, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Christiaan Stander, 5 George Kruis, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Gethin Jenkins.

Previous selections:

Team of the Week - November, Week Three: 15 Ben Smith (New Zealand), 14 Noa Nakaitaci (France), 13 Malakai Fekitoa (New Zealand), 12 Wesley Fofana (France), 11 Julian Savea (New Zealand), 10 Beauden Barrett (New Zealand), 9 Conor Murray (Ireland), 8 Sergio Parisse (Italy), 7 David Pocock (Australia), 6 Josh van der Flier (Ireland), 5 Devin Toner (Ireland), 4 Brodie Retallick (New Zealand), 3 Tadhg Furlong (Ireland), 2 Dane Coles (New Zealand), 1 Mako Vunipola (England).

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).

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