International Team of the Week

International Team of the Week

A back-row duo, a Georgian hero and a game-changing sub all feature in our team of the week as the Summer internationals take centre stage.

15. Leigh Halfpenny (Toulon)

Halfpenny marked his return from injury in style as Toulon booked their place in the Top 14 final with a 27-18 victory over Montpellier on Saturday.  

The full-back landed six out of eight attempts at goal against Montpellier and provided the final pass for Ma'a Nonu's try as Toulon reached Top 14 final.

An honourable mention must go to Racing 92's Brice Dulin in the other Top 14 semi-final who racked up a whopping 223 metres in the extra-time thriller against Clermont

14. Liam Williams (Wales)

Despite being undone in the second-half, All Blacks Williams was a stand out performer in Warren Gatland's side following his shift onto the wing to cover for the injured George North.

He provided 14 carries in attack with only Taulupe Faletau contributing more to his team, topped the metres made charts with 124 and topped it all off with a well deserved try

  Highlights from Wellington as New Zealand took on Wales in the second Test of the series

13. David Kacharava (Georgia)

Kacharava fought off competition from some of the biggest names in rugby to take his rightful place at outside centre.

Kacharava helped steer Georgia, who sit 12 in the world rankings to a shock 23-20 victory over Fiji on Saturday scoring both of his side's try including an effort in injury time to snatch the victory on Pacific shores. 

12. Owen Farrell (England)

Farrell epitomised everything good about England as they secured a series win against Australia on Saturday. Switching to outside centre to accommodate George Ford, the Saracen provided a hard edge to the attacking flair and subtlety of his fly-half.

He was a rock in defence and held his nerve to land the points when it mattered before capitalising on Jamie George's fine footballing skills to go over for the match-winning try. 

11. Manuel Montero (Argentina)

Argentina scored three tries to beat an under-strength France side 30-19 on Monday morning with Montero catching the eye on the wing for the Pumas.

The 24-year-old scored a try and set up another in the first of two tests between the nations displaying a powerful hand-off to brush aside Jonathan Danty to set up Joaquin Tuculet's score.

10. Beauden Barrett (New Zealand)

Beauden Barrett celebrates after scoring against Wales

Barrett proved to be a game changer for New Zealand after he replaced the injured Aaron Cruden after 33 minutes against Wales.

The replacement created two tries and scored one himself, his step leaving a series of Welsh defenders in his wake, while causing constant problems for the Welsh defence.

Utility back Barrett took his chance and showcased his ability to control a game from fly-half, putting his hand up for a starting role next weekend.

9. Aaron Smith (New Zealand)

Lining up against his fellow countryman Barrett in our team of the week, Aaron Smith looked back to his best against Wales.

The scrum-half set up his full-back Israel Dagg's try and showcased his attacking ability breaking through the Welsh defence on a number of occasions.

He marshalled the team well and stepped up and took control of his side after the loss of Cruden while his kicking game ensured his team were always on the ascendancy. 

He was however pushed close by Gordon McRorie, the Canadian scrum-half who contributed 26 points through two tries, five conversions and two penalties as the defeated Russia 46-21

1. Mako Vunipola (England)

Mako Vunipola put in a strong carrying performance against Australia

Vunipola went some way to answering his critics with a strong performance against Australia proving England can survive in the absence of Joe Marler.

The prop displayed massively improved fitness levels on his younger years, contributing all around the park, putting in a total of 19 tackles and constantly offering himself as a gain-line breaker.

Most pleasing for Vunipola senior was the fact he held his own in the scrums, an area often singled out as a weakness in his game. 

2. Dylan Harley (England)

The work-rate and leadership of Hartley proved vital for England as they had to withstand a barrage of pressure from Australia as they chased the game on Saturday.

He lead the team's heroic defensive effort shortly before the break, contributing with 17 tackles on his own. Not only did he lead his team into victory he got his name on the score sheet when he dived over from the back of a well-set rolling maul to get England's tally up and running.

3. Tadhg Furlong (Ireland)

Furlong looked like a more than comfortable seasoned international when he faced the toughest challenge of his short career up against 'the Beast' on Saturday.

The 24-year-old prop offered plenty around the park and put in a shift in an increasingly ferocious Irish defence in a 60 minutes where Ireland were fully in control of their Southern Hemisphere opponents

Highlights of the second Test between South Africa and Ireland at Ellis Park

4. Devin Toner (Ireland)

Toner backed up a first-class performance last week well against South Africa to retain his place in our team of the week.

He was physical, abrasive and uncompromising in defence where he contributed 12 tackles, the most in the game.

The lock excelled in the line-out, taking responsibility for winning the ball for his side especially when under huge amounts of pressure from the imposing figure of his opposite number Eben Etzebeth.

5. Pieter-Steph du Toit (South Africa)

Pieter-Steph Du Toit put in a strong carrying performance against Ireland in their second-half fightback

When Ireland looked to be running away with victory at Ellis Park, Du Toit stood up and took charge.

The 23-year-old cited the voicing of fan's disapproval at half-time as a motivating factor in the Bok's change in fortunes and he bundled over for a try of his own as the Boks clawed back their 16-point deficit going into the final quarter.

Du Toit was also a stand-out contributor in attack carrying the ball for his side on 14 occasions.  

6. Chris Robshaw (England)

Chris Robshaw looked a completely changed player to the man that led England to World Cup heartbreak back in the Autumn as England went 2-0 up against Australia.

Tackles, turnovers and hassling the opposition, Robshaw was everywhere.

With no added pressure of the captaincy he was able to concentrate on putting a first-rate individual effort but his leadership and experience proved vital as his side faced an Australian onslaught. 

7. James Haskell (England)

James Haskell joins his back-row partner Chris Robshaw in our team of the week

Much has been made of England and their two six and a halves but Haskell held his own against ferocious back-row opponents.

He provided a series of telling contributions in defence, and topped the tackle charts with 23.

The Wasps man was role model in physicality and showed the intensity needed against southern hemisphere opponents.

8. Warren Whiteley (South Africa)

The number 8 spot in our team was a hotly contested position this week but it was Whitely that stole the show with an impressive 40 minutes against Ireland.

It was no coincidence that the introduction of Whiteley coincided with an upturn in South African fortunes and not just because of his try.

He gave the Boks the urgency and intensity they so desperately lacked in the first half at Ellis Park and transferred his impressive Super Rugby performances of late into the international arena. 

The Lions captain carried the ball eight times and gained 50 metres for his side while beating two defenders.

An honourable mention must go to Amanaki Mafi of Japan who caught the eye despite being part of a losing cause against Scotland with a total of 13 carries making 87 metres. 


– Entry was posted on June 21st, 2016 by James Haskell

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