Oval Talk

Team of the Weekend: D’Arcy bustle

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Gordon D'Arcy (left) makes a tackle against Argentina

Ireland's thumping 46-24 win against Argentina earned them four players in our selection from the third round of autumn internationals.

Gordon D'Arcy was one such Irishman to impress us, but who joins him in the Team of the Weekend?

International results (click on links for reports):

England 15-16 South Africa

France 22-14 Samoa

Ireland 46-24 Argentina

Italy 19-22 Australia

Scotland 15-21 Tonga

Wales 10-33 New Zealand

1 Alex Corbisiero — England

His first game back following injury. England needed a big performance from Corbisiero up front against Du Plessis and he delivered, putting pressure on the Springbok prop. Helped England gain advantage in the scrum while they were losing out elsewhere on the pitch.

2 Richardt Strauss - Ireland

Two weekends ago it was Springbok hooker Adriaan Strauss who was suffering white line fever but on Saturday it was Irish hooker Richardt Strauss adding to the try count for front rows. His contribution around the park was invaluable and his work in the scrum helped Ireland keep on top of the Pumas.

3 Census Johnston - Samoa

Samoa came close against France and were riding high after their win over Wales a couple of weekends ago. Johnston was a handful in the scrum and around the breakdown was powerful and a willing carrier to get over the gain line.

4 Eben Etzebeth — South Africa

For the second week in a row Etzebeth was imperious. In the lineout he gave England no chance and was physical throughout, racking up 16 tackles in total. At just 21 it's scary to think just how good this young Springbok can become over the next few years.

5 Geoff Parling - England

It was a hit and miss performance for England as a team but Parling was solid. He didn't miss a tackle, and won all six of his lineouts. Does what is required of him and when England lacked passion at times he always looked hungry for the ball.

6 Alessandro Zanni - Italy

While the back rows of the top tier nations fought it out at the weekend, Italy had their own challenge with Australia and Zanni was a stand out player in their narrow defeat. No missed tackles and some solid lineout work gave the Australian back row a worthy challenge.

7 Richie McCaw — New Zealand

With frightening consistency McCaw shows week- in-week-out just why he is the best 7 in the world. Sixteen tackles made, the highest of any player on the pitch and an unquenchable thirst for work at the breakdown makes him a valuable commodity in modern day rugby.

8 Viliami Ma'afu - Tonga

Scotland knew the Tongans would be physical and Ma'afu epitomised the Pacific Islanders attacking spirit. Big carries, good hands and a never ending desire to take on defenders. He made the most metres with the ball out of the Tongan forwards and helped drive the pack on to a memorable win.

9 Kahn Fotuali'i - Samoa

The Samoan scrum half had another outstanding week. Despite his team losing to France, Fotuali'i was a real handful around the breakdown and again shifted the point of attack effectively. Many expected Morgan Parra to be the stand out scrum half but Fotuali took that prize on the day.

10 Jonathan Sexton - Ireland

Although Aaron Cruden was impressive for New Zealand, Sexton led the Irish to their 46-24 win over Argentina. With two tries, three conversions and a penalty to his name, not only did he personally contribute a good points haul but also set up Bowe and Zebo's try. An outstanding performance.

11 Julian Savea — New Zealand

Was heavily involved in Messam's try after his slinky run helped New Zealand break through the Welsh defence and his quick hands for Romano's try was crucial in getting the score. He ran 129 metres with the ball in hand throughout the match and beat seven defenders to make him the most dangerous All Black on the pitch.

12 Gordon D'Arcy — Ireland

The position of 12 is somewhat lacking in the Northern Hemisphere at the moment but D'Arcy was on form last Saturday as part of a strong Irish backline. Helped Sexton go over for one of his tries with a nice pass back inside and had the better of his Argentinian counterparts throughout the game.

13 Adam Ashley-Cooper - Australia

Continuing his strong form this autumn Ashley-Cooper was solid in both defence and attack. In what was a tough game for the Wallabies Ashley-Cooper put in 12 tackles, and was always looking to exploit the outside channels to release his back three.

14 Tommy Bowe - Ireland

Bowe looked threatening against Argentina and went over for two tries to help the team to victory. Combined well with Gilroy and Sexton, who were both on exceptional form, and showed composure under the high ball and vision to exploit gaps.

15 Israel Dagg — New Zealand

An incredible ability to avoid contact through blistering footwork continues to make Dagg a huge threat going forward. Linked up nicely with Savea and Cory Jane, especially for Messam's try where he spun, danced and jinked his way away from the Welsh defenders to help Savea through a gap.

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