TRC: Team of the Tournament

TRC: Team of the Tournament

New Zealand was pushed all the way by the Springboks in their final Rugby Championship match of the season, while Australia claimed 2nd spot with a 20-37 victory over Argentina. 

Here's our team of the competition. 

Tendai 'Beast' Mtwarira

Consistantly good throughout the competition, the 32-year-old showed that he is still one of the best Test looseheads around with his powerful scrummaging and work ethic. 

He played in all but one, the final match against New Zealand, of South Africa's matches making 32 tackles and carried the ball 22 times. 

Contenders: Joe Moody could have been a strong contender but he was only able to play in 3 of the 6 matches due to injury, while Scott Sio was impressive for the Wallabies.

Malcolm Marx

Dane Coles would have been a shoe-in a the start of the tournament but he is edged out of the side by the Springbok hooker, who was in fine form throughout the competition but put in a huge performance against the All Blacks this weekend. 


Contenders: Dane Coles was impressive on his return to test rugby, while Augustine Creevy was superb for Argentina. 

Nepo Laulala 

Filling the boots of Owen Franks in the All Blacks line up is no easy task but Nepo Laulala looked unfazed as he helped his side retain a 100% scrum record throughout the competition as they won all 40 of their scrums. 

Contenders: Veteran Sekope Kepu was a solid fixture in the Wallabies scrum making over 30 tackles in the tournament.

Brodie Retallick

Does he ever have a bad game? Despite missing two of the All Blacks match Rettalick made 39 tackles, carried the ball 29 times and made 79 running metres. He also scored a try and picked up an assist. 

Contenders: Pieter-Steph du Toit was particular busy whenever he was on the field, while Izack repaid Michael Cheika's faith in him with some stellar performances against South Africa and Argentina

Eben Etzebeth 

The Springbok captain had fantastic campaign making 45 tackles, carrying the ball 58 times and made over 100 running metres. 

He was as physical as ever in the Springboks match against the All Blacks carrying the ball 13 times, beat 3 defenders and made 8 tackles without a single miss tackle. 

ContendersSam Whitelock was instrumental in the 57-0 victory over the Springboks in Albany, while Scott Barrett made a big impact whenever he was on the field. 

Pablo Matera 

The Argentine was a shining light in an otherwise disappointing campaign for Los Pumas. 

The flanker was busy in all 6 of Argentina's matches making an average of 10 tackles and carries per match. 

He also accumulated 105 running metres and won 6 turnovers. 

ContendersLiam Squire and Vaea Fifita were outstanding when given their opportunities, while Siya Kolisi was superb for the Springboks scoring 3 tries & made 44 tackles. 

Michael Hooper

The competition's top tackler (66), Michael Hooper has thrived since taking over the Wallaby captaincy. 

Hooper was also able to make a turnover a game and carried the ball 58 times and completed 5 offloads.

ContendersJaco Kriel was in fine form before falling to an injury, while Sam Cane was in stellar form for the All Blacks.

Sean McMahon 

McMahon edges Kieran Read in our team of the competition after making over 60 tackles & carries during the competition.

He also made over 200 running metres, which included 15 defenders beaten and 2 try assists. 

Contender: Kieran Read was consistently brilliant for the All Blacks as they won all 6 of their Rugby Championship matches. 

Aaron Smith

Another superb Rugby Championship campaign by one of the best halfbacks in the world. Smith kept the potent All Black attack ticking over picking up 6 try assists, his combination with Beauden Barrett was vital to the All Blacks winning 6 on the trot in the tournament. 

Contenders: Will Genia has been in fine form since he returned to the Wallabies squad from France, while TJ Perenara made an impact whenever he was called upon. 

Beauden Barrett

The 2016 World Player of the Year had a superb tournament as he was directly involved in 10 (3 tries, 7 assists) of the All Blacks 35 tries. 

Barrett scored 70 points, gained 222 metres from 65 carries, beating 20 defenders and made 9 clean breaks. 

Contenders: Nicolas Sanchez was partically good against the All Blacks in New Zealand, while Bernard Foley formed a dangerous partnership with Kurtley Beale.

Rieko Ioane 

The 20-year-old speedster looks right at home in the black jersey, he scored 5 tries in 5 games during the Rugby Championship and topped the standings in metres gained (649) despite playing one game less than his closest competitor Israel Folau (643). He also beat the most defenders (35).

Contenders: Reece Hodge was consistently good for the Wallabies, while Courtnell Skosan had a fine debut Rugby Championship season. 

Kurtley Beale 

Beale was the spark in the Wallabies backline the whole tournament. He gained over 300 metres and beat 8 defenders, collecting 8 clean breaks to mark a spectacular return to international rugby.

Contenders: Sonny-Bill Williams & Jan Serfontein

Ryan Crotty

Crotty carried his superb form for the Crusaders into the All Blacks jersey scoring 3 tries and making over 150 running metres.

Contenders: Tevita Kuridrani impressed after replacing Samu Kerevi in the starting lineup making over 250 running meters and beating 5 defenders.

Nehe Milner-Skudder

 

Filthy from Milner-Skudder! ✊🏻💦

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The fact that Milner-Skudder only played 2 and half games for the All Blacks - and still makes our team of the tournament - highlights how fantastic the speedster was in the tournament.

It only took him 8 minutes to score on his return to Test rugby and he followed that up with a double against South Africa in Albany. 

He beat 11 defenders, collected 9 clean breaks and made 236 metres (8th highest in the tournament).

Damian McKenzie 

 

Havili ➡️ McKenzie 🚀 🚀 #AllBlacks #NewZealand

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After being named the Super Rugby player of the season, McKenzie was finally given a proper go in the All Black jersey starting all 6 of the All Blacks match in the Rugby Championship. 

McKenzie repaid Steve Hanson's faith in him as he scored 4 tries and assisted another 3. He also made 450 running metres (3rd highest in the competition), 78 carries (highest total in the competition) and beat 33 defenders (2nd highest in the competition)

Contender: Israel Folau was not far behind McKenzie as he scored 5 tries, beat 26 defenders, carried the ball 69 times, made 643 running metres and made the highest number of offloads (16).

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