Now that the dust has settled after Week 3 of the 2016 Autumn internationals, RUCK selects the players that stood out over the past weekend’s fixtures.
Fullback: Stuart Hogg (Scotland)
Honourable mentions: Ben Smith (New Zealand)
Wing: Semesa Rokoduguni (England)
Returned to the international stage after a two-year absence with a great aplomb, taking full advantage of the open spaces created by England’s slick handling and deserved his two tries.
Honourable mentions: Akikito Yamada (Japan), Israel Dagg (New Zealand)
Centre: Malakai Fekitoa (New Zealand)
Crossed for the All Blacks’ first try early in the match then spent the start of the second half in the sin-bin after a high tackle on Simon Zebo. Nevertheless, he returned to cross the whitewash again to secure the All Blacks victory.
Honourable mentions: Tevita Kurindrani, Sam Beard (Newport Gwent Dragons), Jonathan Joseph (England)
Centre: Owen Farrell (England)
Another impressive display by the Saracens man as he passed the 500-point mark on the international stage while his exquisitely timed pass created the half gap for Joseph’s first try.
Wing: Giovanbattista Venditti (Italy)
Honourable mentions: Tom O’Flaherty (Ospreys), Elliot Daly (England)
Fly-half: Bernard Foley (Australia)
The general made his late call-up for the injured Quade Cooper count. So important to have his hand on the steering wheel with so many newer faces starting against France. Excellent 40m kick to touch to set up lineout drive for penalty try in first half. One kick from a penalty which didn’t find touch was his one blemish.
Honourable mentions: Sam Davies (Wales), Beauden Barrett (New Zealand), George Ford (England), Stephen Myler (Northampton)
Scrum-half: Greig Laidlaw (Scotland)
Feisty display around the fringes and stepped up to deliver crucial match-winning penalty.
Honourable mentions: Will Chudley (Exeter Chiefs), Conor Murray (Ireland)
Prop: Mako Vunipola (England)
The Saracens prop has been England’s player of the season so far and once again he excelled. We saw side-steps, soft hands, thunderous carrying and the distribution of a fly-half. He was also solid in the scrum.
Honourable mentions: Nathan Catt (Bath)
Hooker: Dane Coles (New Zealand)
Solid line outs from the New Zealand hooker, who also popped up on the wing.
Honourable mentions: Scott Baldwin (Wales), Agustin Creevy (Argentina), Rory Best (Ireland) Richard Hibbard (Gloucester)
Prop: Tadhg Furlong (Ireland)
Lock: Brodie Retallick (New Zealand)
Honourable mentions: Joe Launchbury (England)
Lock: Jonny Gray (Scotland)
Towering effort from the lock forward who never backed down and took the game to Argentina throughout.
Honourable mentions: Courtney Laws (England), Devin Toner (Ireland), Sam Whitelock (New Zealand)
Flanker: Malgene Ilaua (Japan)
Honourable mentions: Chris Robshaw (England)
Flanker: David Pocock (Australia)
Immense game from the captain on the day. We know who is leading the John Eales Medal votes after three Tests of the new voting period. Won an early turnover to show what sort of night he was in for. Brilliant over the ball as always but offered far more at No.7.