Rugby Championship Team of Round One

Rugby Championship Team of Round One

The Springboks and All Blacks got their Rugby Championship campaigns off to winning starts with the Springbok comprehensively beating the Wallabies while the All Blacks survived a big scare against the Pumas in Argentina.


Following an entertaining opening round we pick our team of round one:

15. Ben Smith (New Zealand)

In a somewhat scrappy affair, Ben Smith shined brightest as an attacking threat in Buenos Aires. He beat defenders with ease and made the joint highest running metres along with Beauden Barrett in the encounter.

Warrick Gelant also enjoyed a fine game for the Springbok picking a try assists for the South Africans.

14. Sevu Reece (New Zealand)
 
Strong competition from Sbu Nkosi, who is extremely unlucky to miss out on the side, Sevu Reece sneaks into our team of the week after an encouraging All Blacks debut despite being unable to score his first test try. 
 
 
Reece had numerous threatening runs and racked up 51 running metres beating 4 defenders. He combined wonderfully with his fellow backs and looked right at home in the black jersey. 
 
 
He was also outstanding on defence putting in a few solid hits including one close to the line on Marcos Kremer, stopping a try.
 
 
13. Jesse Kriel (South Africa)
 
 
 
Matias Orlando had a solid enough game to justify a place in the side but Kriel's ability to keep Tevita Kuridrani quiet while racking up a mammoth 14 tackle haul against the Wallabies sees him take the #13 jersey.
 
 
Kriel's defensive effort played a pivitol role in the Boks victory while he also managed to gain over 20 running metres in a game where metres were hard to comeby.
 
 
 
12. Ngani Laumape (New Zealand)
 
 
Another close decision with Samu Kerevi bashing the Springbok defensive line to make the most metres in the game at Ellis Park. However, the Ngani 'the mini bus' Laumape edges the Wallaby after an impressive display in Buenos Aires.
 
 
The canon ball centre scored a crucial try in the first half and made 76 running metres beating 4 defenders and making three clean breaks. He also made all of his 8 attempted tackles.
 
 
11. Emiliano Boffelli (Argentina)
 
 
Makazole Mapimpi and Reece Hodge hardly saw the ball at Ellis Park while Jordie Barrett and Ramiro Moyano put in solid shifts in Buenos Aires leading us to shift Emiliano Boffelli from fullback onto the wing in our team of the week.
 
 
Boffelli was just too good to leave out of our team of the week as he nailed a long-range penalty, beat Ben Smith in the air to score a great try from Sanchez's stellar cross-kick and enjoyed an all round great game.
 
 
 
10. Elton Jantjies (South Africa)
 
 
 
Any of the four flyhalves on display this weekend could have claimed a place in the side after four solid performances. Barrett run a good attack in the first half but failed to turn it into points in the second.
 
 
Foley seemed to go through the motions in the first half but was boosted by the arrival of Beale off the bench in the second while in Buenos Aires Nicolas Sanchez showed his class at times but threw a poor pass that Brodie Retallick picked off to score.
 
 
In the end, we have gone with Jantjies, who was solid throughout and nailed all but one his kicks while exiting well and managing the Bok attack.
 
 
 
9. Herschel Jatntjies (South Africa)
 
 
One standout contender for the no.9 jersey with Herschell Jantjies enjoying a dream test debut scoring a brace and firmly placing his name in the hat for a place on the plane to Japan.
 
 
A quality all-round performance from the young halfback who guided his side to victory scoring a try in either half before making way for Cobus Reinach in the 65th minute.
 
 

8. Ardie Savea (New Zealand)
 
 
Savea brought his Super Rugby form with him into the black jersey producing another strong performance against the Pumas. 
 
 
He pips the impressive Francois Louw for a place in the side, after pilfering numerous Argentinean attacks while being an attacking weapon racking up over 30 running metres from 8 carries.
 
 
7. Michael Hooper (Australia)
 
 
Seldomly has a bad game in the gold jersey and he continued in that fashion at Ellis Park despite being unable to lead his side to victory.
 
 
Hooper was lively on both sides of the ball making 10 tackles, three turnovers and 38 running metres from 7 carries, one of which could have resulted in a try if it weren't for a last ditch tackle by Warrick Gelant/
 
 
 
6. Pieter-Steph du Toit (South Africa)
 
 
 
Pieter-Steph du Toit fills the blindside in our team of the week as he continued to build on his 2018 form in the Green and Gold after a spell on the sidelines for the Stormers.
 
 
Aggressive in all facets of the game, du Toit took the fight to the Wallabies and showed how dangerous he is on the flanks as he came agonisingly close to scoring in the first half.
 
 
He too made over 30 running metres from just 6 carries and was all over the pitch for 80 minutes.
 
 
 
5. Lood de Jager (South Africa)
 
 
Another Springbok forward who recently returned from injury with a point to prove. De Jager powered through 67 minutes at Ellis Park making 14 tackles, 5 carries and scored a try.
 
 
He failed to miss a tackle with his only hiccup the entire game was a lost lineout ball that slipped through his grasps. A hat tip to Rory Arnold who also brought his Super Rugby form with him picking off a number of the Springboks lineout.
 
 
 
4. Brodie Retallick (New Zealand)
 
 
Testing conditions in Argentina had both sides sucking in the air with Brodie Retallick breathing hardest after a big 80-minute performance.
 
 
The dynamic second-rower hit every ruck insight and was a menace in disrupting the Pumas maul throughout the game.
 
 
He also picked off an average Nicolas Sanchez pass to run in one of the All Blacks' two tries in a narrow victory.
 
A big mention for Eben Etzebeth who led his side from the front with an outstanding work ethic and his usual abrasive approach to the game.
 

3. Trevor Nyakane (South Africa)
 
 
A rare start for the 38 test cap utility prop and he certainly made the most of it as he and Tendai Mtawarira dominated the Aussie front row.
 
 
He also got stuck into the rucks and got the job done on defence making all of his attempted tackles. 
 
 
2. Folau Faingaa (Australia)
 
 
Augustin Creevy looked solid for the Pumas before he was forced off with what looked like a shoulder injury while Bongi Mbonambi had an off day at the lineouts.
 
 
In the end, Faingaa takes the no.2 jersey after a fine shift that did his World Cup hopes no harm. 
 
 
He hit his jumpers at the lineouts with just one of the Wallabies 12 lineouts going astray and got stuck in on defence making 11 tackles and two turnovers.
 
 
 
1. Tendai Mtawarira (South Africa)
 
 
 
After over 100 test caps and at the age of 34, the man better known as 'The Beast' looks far from a man heading to the end of his test career.
 
 
Mtawarira was excellent in the scrum, strong with the ball carries and solid on defence before making way for the debutant Lizo Gqoboka.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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