RUCK’s Team of the Week: Laidlaw, Sanchez, Douglas, Savea
- Seven of the starting XV made up of All Blacks and Pumas following their outstanding RWC quarter-final wins
- Newly-promoted Worcester’s back-row duo Phil Dowson and Gerrit-Jan van Velze make selection after their incredible opening day victory against Northampton
- Springbok Schalk Burger and Wallaby Kane Douglas make the team following their respective sides reaching the RWC semis.
- Scotland Captain Greig Laidlaw is selected after heroic display while Scottish prop Alex Allan makes the cut following a stellar display for Glasgow Warriors in the Pro 12.
- Saracens Jamie George is included after the reigning champions thrashed Sale on the opening day of the Premiership season
- Veteran centre Florian Fritz makes the side after great try and performance for Toulouse in the Top 14
With less Rugby World Cup games being played this week we have players from the Premiership, Pro12 and Top 14 all making their way into RUCK’s team of the week.
But who were your stand-out performers? After much debate here is our final selection – do you agree? Comment below.
Fullback- JOAQUIN TUCULET (Argentina)
The fullback was just brilliant with the ball in hand and showed his defencive ability at the back when tested by Ireland’s Ian Madigan. He also showed exceptional awareness and skill to bring the ball down from above his head to score the Pumas second try.
Wing- SANTIAGO CORDERO (Argentina)
Started off like a house on fire with his electric pace, setting up Argentina’s opening try when he sucked in the Irish defence before playing in Matias Moroni. After that, he continued to unsettle the Irish defence with his direct running and got his reward when his dynamic style allowed him to slip in Juan Imhoff for his crucial second score after the break.
Centre- FLORIAN FRITZ (Toulouse)
The French veteran centre put in a fabulous performance as Toulouse marched to a bonus-point win against La Rochelle in the Top 14. After receiving a pinpoint pass from Joe Tekori, he was able to break and finish cleverly.
Centre- MA’A NONU (New Zealand)
The unrelenting centre had a storming start and never relented until he was replaced in the second half. He continually questioned defenders with his powerful running, pin-point passing and even some skilful kicks.
Wing- JULIAN SAVEA (New Zealand)
Channelling the spirit of the great Jonah Lomu, Savea displayed incredible pace and brute strength to bounce off Frenchman to score a stunning hat-trick. The magical wing equalled Lomu and Habana as record Rugby World Cup try scorer, and his hat-trick was the first in a knockout match since Lomu and Chester Williams scored one each at the 1995 edition of the tournament. Savea also surpassed Lomu’s All Black record of 37 test tries, and South Africa will fear him as he looks unstoppable.
Other contenders: Juan Imhoff (Argentina)
Fly-half- NICOLAS SANCHEZ (Argentina)
The mercurial fly-half was immense throughout the Pumas quarter-final victory against Ireland, keeping his cool by contributing 23 points from the tee to become the leading points scorer at World Cup 2015. Defensively he did not put a foot wrong either, completing ten vital tackles in a gutsy Argentina performance.
Other contenders: Tommy Bell (Leicester Tigers), George Ford (Bath), Tom Heathcote (Worcester), Dan Biggar (Wales), Nick Evans (Harlequins), Dan Carter (New Zealand)
Scrum-half- GREIG LAIDLAW (Scotland)
In a performance filled with heroes, scrum-half Laidlaw was outstanding. In a tough opening period, the in-form Captain kicked his men back into life, while dictating general play for much of the game. An almost perfect performance only blemished by the cruel outcome for Scotland.
Other contenders: Fourie De Preez (South Africa)
Prop- ALEX ALLAN (Glasgow Warriors)
The 23-year-old prop showed exactly why he is one of the highest rated young props in Scottish rugby. Allan, who has one cap currently, will be looking to push for a regular spot during the 2016 Six Nations and did himself no harm with his strong scrummaging showing as Warriors overcame Newport Gwent Dragons to record a fourth successive win.
Hooker- JAMIE GEORGE (Saracens)
The hooker followed up his fantastic England display against Uruguay by helping reigning Premiership champions Saracens control and dominate Sale in their Premiership opener. The 24-year-old threw well at the line-out and scrummaging relentlessly.
Other contenders: Rory Best (Ireland)
Prop- OWEN FRANKS (New Zealand)
His hard work at the scrum was only a small part of what was a colossal performance from the prop. His hard running in the loose and smart back-like passes made him a threat on the attack with the forward setting up Jerome Kaino’s score.
Lock- KANE DOUGLAS (Australia)
The man-mountain lock was a brute force to be reckoned with in the first half. Douglas pounded Scottish ball-runners with venom and his physicality throughout in truth give the Wallabies pack an edge in that area of the game.
Lock- BRODIE RETALLICK (New Zealand)
It was a phenomenal effort from the giant second-row as he continually popped up all over the place to great effect. His sensational charge down and gather to score for the opening try set the tone for the All Blacks on the way to their convincing victory.
Flanker- PHIL DOWSON (Worcester)
Flanker- SCHALK BURGER (South Africa)
The big back row was all over the park as the Springboks overcame Wales, making his presence felt in a hotly contested midfield tussle. Burger made 11 carries across the gain line, the most of any man on the pitch during the 80 minutes. The flanker also made two turnovers and provided two offloads to set the Springbok galloping toward the Welsh try line
Other contenders: David Denton (Scotland)
Number 8- GERRIT-JAN VAN VELZE (Worcester)
The Worcester skipper rose to the occasion against his former club and had his best game yet for Warriors, which included touching down a try against his old employers.