Now that the dust has settled after Week 2 of the 2016 Autumn internationals, RUCK selects the players that stood out over the past weekend’s fixtures.
Fullback: TIERNAN O’HALLORAN (Ireland)
Two well-taken tries, the first much like last season’s Pro 12 final, as when Finlay Bealham’s offload gave him a sight of open grass he hared away. Looked to have made a vital intervention when rolling under Matt Evans, but ref and TMO disagreed.
Honourable mentions: Mike Brown (England), Leigh Halfpenny (Wales), Stuart Hogg (Scotland)
Honourable mentions: Francois Venter (South Africa),Tevita Kuridrani (Australia), Malaktai Fekitoa (New Zealand
Centre: OWEN FARRELL (England)
Another reliable performance from England’s lynchpin, who despite one wayward kick was fierce in defence, clever in attack and accurate with his game management throughout. His try was the icing on the cake in another consistent and comfortable outing for the fly-half-turned-inside-centre.
Honourable mentions: Wesley Fofana (France), Reece Hodge (Australia), Scott Williams (Wales)
A class act who was in the frame for man of the match. Troubled Argentina pretty much from the first whistle and has the skill and quality to go with his limitless courage. Took his try superbly. Far and away Wales’ most dangerous attacking weapon.
Honourable mentions: Jonny May (England), Keith Earls (Scotland)
Without Maro Itoje, you could forgive most England fans for having concerns about their team’s performance beforehand, but those worries were abated with an impressive outing from Wasps lock Launchbury. His excellent work at the lineout, carrying around the park, work at the breakdown and in defence ensured his team were on the front foot for most of the game.
Honourable Mentions: Richie Gray (Scotland), Luke Charteris (Wales)
The official man of the match, two days before his father’s funeral. Brave, gutsy, skilful – a true warrior. Didn’t stop working at the heart of the Wales pack. Also supplied one of the moments of the game with a beautifully delayed offload.
Honourable Mentions: Courtney Lawes (England), Johnny Gray (Scotland), Ultan Dillane (Ireland)
In the same diligent and dignified manner as England great Richard Hill, Robshaw has found his international calling as one of the great blindsides in test rugby. His tackle on Rudy Paige ensuring a turnover encapsulates what the Harlequins flanker brings to the England team.
Honourable Mentions: Kevin Gourdon (France), Peter O’Mahony (Ireland), David Pocock (Australia), John Barclay (Scotland)
You can start to take the giant number eight for granted in what he brings to this England side, but Vunipola was once again tremendous for the men in white, even against the once much-vaunted defence of the Springboks.
Honourable Mentions: Louis Picamoles (France), Ross Moriarty (Wales)