Team of the Week: O Fhlùir na h-Alba

Mon, 27 Nov 2017 15:48

OPINION: The final round of November internationals have come and gone and so we deliver the last our famous weekly selections for the year.

The team that made the biggest impression - in terms of growth - is arguably Scotland and their reward comes in the form of five players in the rugby365 starting XV.

New Zealand, in the wake of their demolition of Wales, are close behind with four starters.

Ireland is next with three - while South Africa, Japan and England make up the numbers with one each.

There is further reward for England in our back-up squad, with four players bubbling under.

Scotland also gets recognition for their efforts with three players in our back-up squad - the same as South Africa.

New Zealand and Ireland have two each, with Argentina (one) completing the squad.

Three players return from last week - centre Huw Jones (Scotland), flyhalf Beauden Barrett (New Zealand) and lock Joe Launchbury (England).

Team of the Week - November, Week Three:

15 - Rob Kearney (Ireland):
Most will look at his attacking stats, which are indeed impressive. However, it was his defence that helped him ahead of the chasing pack.
Bubbling under: Michael Brown (England)

14 - Waisake Naholo (New Zealand):
He may miss the odd tackle, but ball in hand he is simply the best.
Bubbling under: Ramiro Moyano (Argentina)

13 - Huw Jones (Scotland):
Arguably the best midfielder in the world this year.
Bubbling under: Henry Slade (England)

12 - Francois Venter (South Africa):
Are the Springboks a step closer to finding a solution to their midfield conundrum?
Bubbling under: Sonny Bill Williams (New Zealand)

11 - Byron McGuigan (Scotland):
He clearly knows his way to the tryline. Still a bit rough around the edges, but certainly one to watch.
Bubbling under: Jacob Stockdale (Ireland)

10 - Beauden Barrett (New Zealand):
Not perfect, but he did his magic when it mattered most.
Bubbling under: Handré Pollard (South Africa)

9 - Aaron Smith (New Zealand):
When on song he is the best, by some distance.
Bubbling under: Ali Price (Scotland)

8 - Amanaki Mafi (Japan):
He is going to be invaluable to Japan at the 2019 World Cup, if he stays injury free.
Bubbling under: Sam Simmonds (England)

7 - Sam Cane (New Zealand):
Apart from the mountain of work he got through in general play, he also made a weekend-high 25 tackles.
Bubbling under: Hamish Watson (Scotland)

6 - John Barclay (Scotland):
He epitomises the grit and endeavour that makes Scotland such a joy to watch.
Bubbling under: Francois Louw (South Africa)

5 - Johnny Gray (Scotland):
The muscle in a Scottish team that embarrassed Australia.
Bubbling under: Ian Henderson (Ireland)

4 - Joe Launchbury (England):
One of those unsung heroes, doing the hard yards where the cameras don't always pick up action.
Bubbling under: Grant Gilchrist (Scotland)

3 - Tadhg Furlong (Ireland):
Continuing the good form he showed for the British and Irish Lions in New Zealand in June and July.
Bubbling under: Wilco Louw (South Africa)

2 - Stuart McInally (Scotland):
Close to the perfect all-round game, with an immense workrate.
Bubbling under: Jamie George (England)

1 - Cian Healy (Ireland):
More than just scrumming to his game. Adds plenty of value all-round the park.
Bubbling under: Kane Hames (New Zealand)

Our individual selections:

Leezil Hendricks XV: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Ali Price, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Christiaan Stander, 5 Johnny Gray, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Stuart McInally, 1 Cian Healy.

Paul Dobson XV: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Ramiro Moyano, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Byron McGuigan, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Will Genia, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Sam Cane, 6 John Barclay, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Jamie George, 1 Kane Hames.

Andrew Noland XV: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Rieko Ioane, 13 Chris Farrell, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Byron McGuigan, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Sam Simmonds, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Ian Henderson, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Cian Healy.

Jan de Koning XV: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Byron McGuigan, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Sam Cane, 6 John Barclay, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Stuart McInally, 1 Cian Healy.

Previous selections:

Team of the Week - November, Week Two: 15 Stuart Hogg (Scotland), 14 Jonny May (England), 13 Huw Jones (Scotland), 12 Owen Farrell (England), 11 Rieko Ioane (New Zealand), 10 Beauden Barrett (New Zealand), 9 Will Genia (Australia), 8 Nathan Hughes (England), 7 Kevin Gourdon (France), 6 Vaea Fifita (New Zealand), 5 Courtney Lawes (England), 4 Joe Launchbury (England), 3 Sekope Kepu (Australia), 2 Dylan Hartley (England), 1 Kane Hames (New Zealand).

Team of the Week - November, Week One:  15 Kurtley Beale (Australia), 14 Andrew Conway (Ireland), 13 Huw Jones (Scotland), 12 Bundee Aki (Ireland), 11 Rieko Ioane (New Zealand), 10 Johnny Sexton (Ireland), 9 Conor Murray (Ireland), 8 Nathan Hughes (England), 7 Sam Underhill (England), 6 Peter O'Mahony (Ireland), 5 Samuel Whitelock (New Zealand), 4 Adam Coleman (Australia), 3 Tadhg Furlong (Ireland), 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau (Australia), 1 Mako Vunipola (England).

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