Test Team of the Week

Test Team of the Week

A thrilling weekend of test rugby saw the Pumas notch up a first win over the All Blacks before the second day of action in the Autumn Nations Cup kicked off up north.

The Pumas were brutal and effective as they marched to a historic 15-25 victory in Sydney on Saturday after Ireland kicked off the Autumn Nations Cup with a comprehensive 32-9 thrashing of Wales.

Analysis: How Los Pumas managed to topple the All Blacks for the first time

Italy then ran Scotland close before Gregor Townsend's men took control of the game to win their fifth straight test match before England mauled their way to a comfortable 40-0 win over Georgia.

Unfortunately, the final test of the weekend was called off as COVID-19 cases in the Fiji squad prevented them from taking the field against France on Sunday.

Following the weekend's test action here is our team of the week. 

1. Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro - Argentina 

The first entry in our team of the week comes from Argentina, of course, and a well deserved on too. 

Chaparro dominated Tyrel Lomax in the scrum as Los Pumas looked to have rekindled the front-row dominance that brought them success in the late 2000s. 

He was effective in the rucks as well and made all but one of his tackles. There is a notable mention for both Ellis Genge and Cian Healy who both had excellent games this weekend as well.

2. Jamie George - England

England's set-piece was pivotal to their comprehensive victory over Georgia in testing conditions at Twickenham on Saturday. 

Jamie George spearheaded the England pack's effort with an accurate performance in both the scrum and the lineout. He failed to miss a lineout dart the entire game with England winning all 17 of their lineouts whilst he was on the pitch and the hooker was rewarded with three tries, all of which coming from the driving maul.

A special mention for the incredible Julian Montoya who was superb against the All Blacks as he took over the jersey Agustin Creevy shone in. The Puma was also accurate in the set pieces while making 16 tackles, a tally only beaten in the game by Marcos Kremer. 

3. Andrew Porter - Ireland

An incredibly tight call between two standout tightheads this weekend. However, Andrew Porter gets the slightest edge over Los Pumas' Francisco Gomez-Kodela. Gomez-Kodela got the better of Joe Moody at scrum time while lending his weight well on attack and defence throughout the game. Porter had a similarly dominant performance against Rhys Carre which even prompted the Wales coaching staff to pull the young loosehead early.

Porter was handy with ball in hand and on defence making 10 metres from his carries and won a turnover. 

4. Guido Petti - Argentina 

There were a number of standout candidates for the #4 jersey in our team of the week with Italy's Marco Lazzaroni, Scotland's Scott Cummins and Ireland's Quinn Roux all having standout games. But in the end, our selection was narrowed down to just two with England's Charlie Ewels and Argentina's Guido Petti the two front runners.

Ewels was excellent in the lineout and aggressive on defence as he put in an assured shift against Georgia. Petti, however, worked tirelessly for the Pumas in their historic win over New Zealand. He was effective on attack and defence while also being a key man at the lineout and cleared bodies away from the ruck.

5. Joe Launchbury - England

A typical Joe Launchbury performance against Georgia on Saturday. Effective and industrious in the rucks while he being a solid lineout option and fronting up to the Georgian grunt. He did enough to edge James Ryan, and Matias Alemmano to a place in our team of the week. 

6. Pablo Matera - Argentina

Maro Itoje played to his usual high standard against Georgia but there was really only one man who could fill the #6 jersey in our team of the week.

Matera was outstanding in every facet of the game. He made turnovers at key times, ripped the ball out of the All Black ball carrier's hands and was measured with his leadership. 

It was hard to see Argentina beating the All Blacks had Matera not taking the pitch on Saturday, he was that important. 

7. Marcos Kremer - Argentina

A colossal performance from the 22-year-old Pumas loose-forward. Kremer has been tipped for stardom for sometime for Argentina and while he has more than held his own at the highest level, Saturday felt like somewhat of a come of age performance.

He sent All Black bodies flying backwards with 28 tackles made in total, one of which leaving Jordie Barrett clutching at his ribs, and looked like a man possessed as he marched through his work in Sydney. He brought the physical edge to the Pumas pack and was comfortably one of the best on the pitch.

Elsewhere, Jack Willis enjoyed a strong start to his test career scoring on debut while Braam Steyn took the fight to Scotland and was dominant. Josh van der Flier was also busy on his return to Ireland starting line up but none were as impactful as Kremer.

8. Caelon Doris - Ireland

Caelon Doris' game against Wales was enough to avoid all three Argentine back rowers from making the team of the week. The 22-year-old enjoyed a stellar 80-minute performance that included plenty of qualiHty carries, hard hits and a charge down. 

His standout game earned him the man of the match award after starring on both sides of the ball as well as in the rucks and lineouts. 

9. Tomas Cubelli - Argentina

Jamison Gibson-Park stepped up to the starting line up wonderfully for Ireland on Friday evening but another Puma makes our team of the week in Tomas Cubelli.

The experienced scrumhalf got the better of Aaron Smith in Sydney as he hardly put a foot wrong with his passing, kicking and overall game management. The combination of Cubelli and Sanchez was crucial to the win and Cubelli really stepped up to the play. 

His box kicks were contestable while he also took the pressure off Sanchez with a few solid clearances from the base. 

10. Nicholas Sanchez - Argentina

Not too many players have earned the right to say they have beaten the All Blacks in a test match but Nicholas Sanchez will now also have the bragging rights that he scored all his side's points in doing so. 

The experienced playmaker came into the clash on Saturday off the back of some average form that saw him being replaced as the starting flyhalf at Stade Francais. 

He put this all behind him to score 25 points for Argentina with an accurate goal kicking display and grabbed an opportunistic try. He controlled the tempo and rhythm of the Pumas attack brilliantly while his kicking from hand was nothing short of superb too. 

Paolo Garbisi impressed again for Italy while Jonathan Sexton had a solid 30 minutes before injury cut his 100th test match short. 

11. James Lowe - Ireland

Welcome to test rugby James Lowe. The speedster got off the mark against Wales in the opening test of the weekend as he dotted down in the final play of the game. 

The 28-year-old made the step up to Test rugby seamlessly as he quickly rebounded from some early errors to put in a fine shift that included 70 running metres. 

Lowe beats Juan Imhoff to a place in the side after the Racing 92 flyer ended his 5-year-long absence in the test side while Scotland's Duhan van der Merwe was also excellent once again as he grabbed his second try in three tests.

12. Santiago Chocobares - Argentina 

What a way to kick off your test career. Santiago Chocobares was thrown into the deep end by head coach Mario Ledesma as he started on his debut against the All Blacks. 

However, the 22-year-old stepped up to the plate and hardly put a foot wrong all game as he outplayed his opposite number and season international Jack Goodhue.

He worked hard and effectively on defence as the Pumas conceded just two line breaks the entire game, both of which coming in the final three minutes of the game while shifting the ball on well from the 12 channel and carrying strongly for 18 running metres.

In the other tests, Carlo Canna and Henry Slade both had handy shifts for their respective countries as too did Robbie Henshaw and Sam Johnson.

13. Marco Zanon - Italy

Matias Orlando could have quite easily have claimed a place alongside his fellow countryman in our team of the week. The same applies to Ollie Lawrence from England but the outside centre slot goes to the impressive Marco Zanon.

Zanon was handed a test debut by former Italy boss Conor O'Shea but has become but had to wait until the clash against Scotland to earn his second test cap and he did not disappoint. 

He bumped off Duncan Weir before setting up a wonderful try for Itlay while his defence in the wider channels cut off numerous Scottish attacks. Italy started to lose their way once the centre was replaced. 

14. Bautista Delguy - Argentina

Delguy went hunting for work with the Pumas attack seeing them make the most metres in the middle of the pitch which starved the wingers of genuine attacking opportunities. Delguy also had the incredibly tough task of having to mark Caleb Clarke which he ended up doing well as he made all of his attempted tackles. He chased kicks all game long and often poped up near the rucks to offer an extra body or make a snipe.

Jonathan Joseph could well have taken the jersey had he stayed on the pitch longer than he did against Georgia. His free role as a winger with Eddie Jones saw Joseph pop up in dangerous positions all over the pitch which Georgia struggled to deal with. He chased and contested kicks well before setting up the bonus-point score for England and in doing so picked up an injury that ended his game. Elsewhere, Darcy Graham was industrious for Scotland while Andrew Conway was solid for Ireland. 

15. Elliot Daly - England

A relatively uninspiring weekend for fullbacks. Matteo Minozzi did well to get on the end of a fantastic Italy score but was otherwise shaky in at the back while Stuart Hogg had a few mishaps on the other side of the pitch.

Beauden Barrett was kept quiet by the Pumas while the opening game on Friday didn't provide the right kind of platform for Hugo Keenan or Leigh Halfpenny to make an impact.

Santiago Carreras shook off some early errors to have a solid game for Argentina but in the end the jersey goes to England's Elliot Daly. He didn't make errors in defence and was solid enough at the back to claim a spot in the side. A few of his kicks on attack didn't quite come off but they didn't cost England either while he took his chance to score well. 

 Analysis: How Los Pumas managed to topple the All Blacks for the first time

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