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Rugby World Cup: Team of the Week

The first round of fixtures at this year’s Rugby World Cup are now done and dusted and there were plenty of shocks along the way with Japan unbelievably beating South Africa while Georgia also claimed an unlikely win against Tonga.

There were comfortable wins for home nations England, Ireland and Wales while France and Samoa were able to overcome Italy and the USA respectively.

But who were the standout performers? Here is our selection – do you agree?


15, Mike Brown (England)

Man of the match Brown was outstanding under the high ball and carried well when England was on the front foot, breaking through the Fijian line regularly. The fullback took his two tries superbly and nearly got the hat-trick as he led England from the back throughout.


14. Dave Kearney (Ireland)

The winger secured Ireland’s bonus point with his try after 35 minutes, throwing a lovely dummy to beat the defender and get the score. The 26-year old threatened from start to finish.


13. Sonny Bill Williams (New Zealand)

Despite starting the game on the bench, Sonny Bill Williams helped turn the game on its head to ensure the All Blacks started their title defence with a win. He immediately made an impact when he came on, almost setting up a try moments after entering the field, before continuing to torment Argentina up until the final whistle.

12. Cory Allen (Wales)

The centre was in fantastic form for the Welsh, scoring a first-half hat-trick against Uruguay. However, he was injured in the second-half, giving head coach Warren Gatland a fresh injury worry.

11. Nemani Nadolo (Fiji)

The man mountain was the Fijians star player against England, out jumping Anthony Watson to score Fiji’s opening try. The winger was breaking tackles for the duration of the game and made England’s usually assured defence look very nervous.


10. Johnny Sexton (Ireland)

The Irish fly-half stole the show against Canada.  He scored 15 points in total, including a superb try, as he moved past 500 points for his country.

9. Vasil Lobzhanidze (Georgia)

He became the youngest ever player to feature at a Rugby World Cup, aged 18, but displayed experience far beyond his years to help Georgia claim a famous win against Tonga. He was confident with the ball in his hands and dictated the tempo of the game excellently.

1. Marcos Ayerza (Argentina)

Despite a loss against the All Blacks, the prop, who plays club rugby for Leicester, continually put himself about and showed the desire and power the Pumas forwards are renowned for with his scrummaging and tackling.

2. Dane Coles

The hookers lineout throwing was sound and he held his own in the scrum against the aggressive Pumas. No opportunities to make one of his electric breaks but overall it was a solid performance from the number 2.


3. Kensuke Hatakeyama (Japan)

 The Japanese prop led the line superbly for the underdogs as he helped control the scrum against the experienced Springboks pack.

4. Iian Henderson (Ireland)

Touched down his first try in Ireland colours after 22 minutes and consistently got into good positions in attack as well as being very efficient at the breakdown.


5. Geoff Parling (England)

The second row was replaced in the second half, but put in another outstanding performance. He was physical throughout and his set piece intelligence was essential to England’s victory.


6. Michael Leitch (Japan)

The Japanese captain put in an inspired performance as he rallied his side home against the heavily favoured Springboks’. The victory can only be described as one of the biggest sporting upsets in history.


7. Sean O’Brien (Ireland)

The flanker scored the opening try in Ireland’s thrashing of Canada before setting up Sexton for their third. His ability to consistently reach the gain line alongside his work rate in defence was commendable.


8. Louis Picamoles (France)
The number 8 made three carries across the gain line and ran 73 metres throughout, beating five defenders in the process. He also supplied an enormous shove from the rear as Le Bleus dominated the scrum.

Ruck Team of the week


 

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