Team of the Month: The rose is blooming

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 15:33
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OPINION: New Zealand may still be ranked No.1, and justifiably so, but England was without doubt the form team in November.

And, along with that other inform Northern Hemisphere team Ireland, they dominate rugby365's famous monthly selection.

There are five English players and four Irishmen in our first-choice selection.

New Zealand are also well represented, with three starters - including World Rugby's Player of the Year Beauden Barrett.

Australia (two) and France (one) complete the team.

There is plenty reward for the All Blacks in our back-up squad, with six Kiwis bubbling under.

Ireland (four), England (two), Italy, Argentina and Australia (one each) make up the numbers.

Team of the Month - November:

15 - Rob Kearney (Ireland):
He was central to Ireland's newfound attacking form, as well as a rock in the last line of defence.
Bubbling under: Mike Brown (England)

14 - Dane Haylett-Petty (Australia):
One of the new breed of Wallabies that could benefit Australia in the long-run.
Bubbling under: Israel Dagg (New Zealand)

13 - Jonathan Joseph (England):
It is going to take a serious injury to dislodge him from the England outside position.
Bubbling under: Malakai Fekitoa (New Zealand)

12 - Wesley Fofana (France):
The creative force behind the new-found French flair.
Bubbling under: Gary Ringrose (Ireland)

11 - Jonny May (England):
There will be strong arguments for a number of others - including Liam Williams and Julian Savea. We debated long and hard, before a split vote gave it to May - based on his greater consistency.
Bubbling under: Julian Savea (New Zealand)

10 - Beauden Barrett (New Zealand):
The best, by the proverbial country mile.
Bubbling under: George Ford (England)

9 - Ben Youngs (England):
Another position where the debate was rather lively, but Youngs became progressively better throughout the month and certainly finished stringer than Conor Murray and Greig Laidlaw.
Bubbling under: Conor Murray (Ireland)

8 - Billy Vunipola (England):
The battering ram that always got his team on the front foot.
Bubbling under: Sergio Parisse (Italy)

7 - Michael Hooper (Australia):
The workhorse of the Wallaby team, often doing the dirty work while others look flash.
Bubbling under: Ardie Savea (New Zealand)

6 - Christiaan Stander (Ireland):
South Africa's brains trust must regret letting him go every time they see him on the field. Ireland's biggest scoop in the last decade.
Bubbling under: Josh van der Flier (Ireland)

5 - Devon Toner (Ireland):
The one lock that can challenge the dominance of the New Zealand second row powerhouses Saw Whitelock and Brodie Retallick.
Bubbling under: Sam Whitelock (New Zealand)

4 - Brodie Retallick (New Zealand):
The rock of the All Black pack.
Bubbling under: Guido Petti (Argentina)

3 - Tadhg Furlong (Ireland):
One of the most improved forwards of the year.
Bubbling under: Charlie Faumuina (New Zealand)

2 - Dan Coles (New Zealand):
His mix of skill, physicality and workrate is what makes him stand out above the rest.
Bubbling under: Stephen Moore (Australia)

1 - Mako Vunipola (England):
A monster in the scrums, a monster with the ball in hand and a monster on defence.
Bubbling under: Jack McGrath (Ireland)

Our individual selections:

Paul Dobson XV: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Dane Haylett-Petty, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Liam Williams, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Christiaan Stander, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Mako Vunipola.

Tauriq Ebrahim XV: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Israel Dagg, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Josh van der Flier, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Dan Coles, 1 Mako Vunipola.

Jan de Koning XV: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Dane Haylett-Petty, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Garry Ringrose, 11 Jonny May, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Christiaan Stander, 5 Devon Toner, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Rory Best, 1 Mako Vunipola.

Our weekly selections:

Team of the Week - November, Week Four: 15 Mike Brown (England), 14 Dane Haylett-Petty (Australia), 13 Jonathan Davies (Wales), 12 Garry Ringrose (Ireland), 11 Virimi Vakatawa (France), 10 Beauden Barrett (New Zealand), 9 Conor Murray (Ireland), 8 Ross Moriarty (Wales), 7 Justin Tipuric (Wales), 6 Christiaan Stander (Ireland), 5 Sam Whitelock (New Zealand), 4 Guido Petti (Argentina), 3 Tadhg Furlong (Ireland), 2 Dane Coles (New Zealand), 1 Gethin Jenkins (Wales).

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 Christiaan 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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