Test Team of the Week

Test Team of the Week

A jam-packed weekend of test rugby saw the Six Nations come to a close while the Tri-Nations got underway with Australia hosting the All Blacks.

The action got underway in Australia with the All Blacks securing the Bledisloe Cup with a 5-43 victory over Dave Rennie's Wallabies. Alun-Wyn Jones become the most capped test player of all time in the next game as Scotland ended an 18-year drought in Wales with a 10-14 victory over Wayne Pivac's side. 

England romped past Italy sealing a 5-34 win in Rome before France's 35-27 win handing England the 2020 Six Nations title. 

After a thrilling weekend of test rugby, we select our team of the weekend from the four tests. 

15. Beauden Barrett - New Zealand

Not an overall inspiring weekend for fullbacks in the test arena. Hogg and his opposite number Leigh Halfpenny were excellent at the Parc Y Scarlets on Saturday with both players being safe under the high ball while also threatening on attack.  Hogg also slotted in at flyhalf in the second half for Scotland and knocked over a late penalty to seal the victory for Gregor Townsend's men. 

However, Beauden Barrett was solid for the All Blacks and set up a try for Richie Mo'unga while Anthony Boutheir had a brain fade for France before going on to have a strong game defensively and on the attack. 

Barrett kicked superbly for the All Blacks and stepped into the first receiver role for the All Blacks at key times. He did enough to beat Hogg and co to a spot in the side.

14. Vincent Rattez - France

Rattez had a strong game for France despite receiving minimal opportunities on attack. He expertly kept a Dupont kick in touch that led to France's first try of the game against Ireland. 

He also covered the backfield well and was reasonably solid on defence. He edges Jordie Barrett to a play in the side with not too much right-wingers having standout games this weekend. 

13. Anton Liernert-Brown - New Zealand

While Virimi Vakatwa was a usual attacking threat for France and Robbie Henshaw was excellent for Ireland, Liernert-Brown was excellent for New Zealand.

Defensively he was brilliant for Ian Foster's men and hardly put a foot wrong the entire game.

12. Henry Slade - England

Not the best weekend for inside centre either but Slade was the best of the lot with All Blacks Ngani Laumape and Goodhue not too far off of the Englishman. 

England's tactics didn't quite suit Slade in the first half but he did have a few excellent moments including a try where he ran an excellent support line as well as some deft kicks in behind the Italian defence. 

11. Gael Fickou - France

Fickou was outstanding at inside centre last week against Wales and his shift to the wing against Ireland did no damage to his form. Every single time he touched the ball for France he produced something brilliant.

His stellar footwork led to the first try for France with Dupont coming on the inside. He made over 40 running metres and made all of his attempted tackles. 

Jonny May was industrious for England in Rome as too was Josh Adams for Wales while Caleb Clarke had a solid game for New Zealand in Sydney.

10. Richie Mo'unga - New Zealand

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Richie Mo'unga had the jersey sown up in the first test of the weekend with his closet competitor for the jumper coming in the final game in Paris. 

Romain Ntamack was stupendous for France against Ireland and combined wonderfully with Antoine Dupont while also setting up a stellar try for Virimi Vakatawa.

However, Mo'unga edges Ntamack for the jersey after his two tries, one assist and 23 point haul.

9. Antoine Dupont - France

Aaron Smith made a strong claim for the jersey in the opening test of the weekend before Ali Price and Ben Youngs also put in excellent shifts for Scotland and England respectively. 

Youngs scored twice in his 100th test match while also displaying some slick passing while Price was tactically sharp for Scotland. 

However, Dupont takes the #9 jersey after another world-class performance to blow Ireland away. Dupont's supporting lines are becoming a trademark of his game and he showed off this ability twice on Saturday, the first score after a lovely break by Fickou and the second saw him assist Ntamack. He kicked and passed with precision once again.  

1. Mako Vunipola - England

Vunipola put Owen Farrell threw a gap with a lovely pass while he was solid in the scrum. Vunipola made his tackles carried well and went about his business with authority. 

Karl Tu'inukuafe was solid for the All Blacks and scored against the Wallabies while James Slipper was excellent on the opposite side of the pitch. 

Gros made a huge impact off the bench for France while Rory Sutherland recovered from a few penalties to put in a solid shift for Scotland.

2. Dane Coles - New Zealand

A close call between Dane Coles and Jamie George but the All Blacks gets the nod over the 50 test cap international.

Both hookers were accurate in the set pieces and were busy around the park. Both players also crossed the whitewash. 

Not much to split the two with Coles' brutal shift giving him the smallest edge. 

3. Zander Fagerson - Scotland

Fagerson rinsed Rhys Carre in the scrum in the first half while also making a few turnovers for the Scots. 

He got through a mountain of work on defence and in the rucks and did enough to secure a spot in our team of the week over Mohamed Haouas.

4. Maro Itoje - England

His usual pesky self in the rucks and around the park. Itoje was excellent in the lineout and was aggressive with ball in hand and in all the collision areas.

He did enough to beat the impressive Patrick Tuipulotu to a place in the side.

5. Sam Whitelock - New Zealand

Jonny Gray was excellent for Scotland, Alun-Wyn Jones put in a tidy shift for Wales while James Ryan was back to his best for Ireland but Whitelock takes the second lock spot in the side.

The centurion was put in a workmanlike performance against Australia, commanding the lineout while doing his utmost to hit just about every single ruck on the pitch. 

6. Jamie Ritchie - Scotland 

We could have easily moved one of the many excellent no.8s this weekend onto the blindside but no other #6 was quite as excellent as Jamie Ritchie was for Scotland.

Whenever the side needed a turnover or a penalty, Ritchie stepped up to the mark including one in the final moments of the game as Wales went in search of a winning score.

Shannon Frizell was also solid for the All Blacks despite his yellow card for a high tackle while Dylan Cretin impressed after replacing Francois Cros. Tom Curry was also superb for England in their win over Italy.

7. Charles Ollivon - France

There was no shortage of candidates when picking a standout openside flanker from the weekend's action. Michael Hooper was superb for the Wallabies despite the All Blacks completely dominating the game. 

Sam Underhill made some bone-crunching hits but spent most of his game getting repairs to his face. Finally, Sam Cane continued his outstanding form with a brutal display against Australia. Finally, Jake Polledri put in a stellar performance for Italy.

However, France captain Charles Ollivon secures the #7 jersey after an inspirational game against Ireland. Ollivon was excellent on both sides of the ball and managed to stifle a number of Ireland's driving mauls while making an impressive 20 tackles, without missing. He also powered to 15 running metres from his five carries and completed two offloads. 

8. Gregory Alldritt - France

Billy Vunipola looked to be close to his best again against Italy while CJ Stander was brutally effective for Ireland in Paris. Hoskins Sotutu put in a solid shift in his first test start for the All Blacks. 

However, Alldritt was the best no.8 of the week. He put in a man of the match shift against Ireland racking up 23 tackles without missing, won a turnover while powering to 20 running metres from his eight carries. 


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