Autumn Nations Series Team of the Week: France lead the way, with All Blacks, Ireland and Argentina also rewarded for their victories

 Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

With the dust having settled on the weekend’s Autumn Nations Series action, we have gone through the matches to pick the best players from the encounters that took place.

France lead the way with four representatives but there is a good mix from the respective teams, with New Zealand, Ireland and Argentina also rewarded for their impressive victories.

Team of the Week

15 Thomas Ramos (France): Les Bleus aren’t short of a great kicking full-back and Ramos showed his versatility, swapping between 10 and 15 to deliver a display of rare poise. Ireland’s Hugo Keenan was a rock in his team’s victory against South Africa.

14 Damian Penaud (France): There’s no better wing in world rugby right now than Penaud and his finish off a majestic pass from Matthieu Jalibert was absolutely sumptuous. Scotland’s Darcy Graham was industrious for his player of the match award against Fiji at Murrayfield.

13 Garry Ringrose (Ireland): Seven carries for 41 metres doesn’t tell the tale of the effectiveness of the Leinster centre’s distribution but he was crucial in all aspects of his trade, shutting down the formidable Springbok midfield with 13 tackles. New Zealand’s Rieko Ioane was in blistering running form with a dominant pack in front of him and he’s our runner up, alongside Argentina’s rock, Matias Moroni.

12 Jordie Barrett (New Zealand): Ian Foster’s rationale of getting all the Barretts on the pitch together might have smacked of buying a job lot but the inside centre was a revelation, running for 80 metres from 13 thundering carries and defending manfully. Wales might not have had a great day at the office but Nick Tompkins was impressive in defeat.

11 Emiliano Boffelli (Argentina): Rarely does a Planet Rugby Team of the Week go by without the great Pumas winger featuring and on Sunday, he put in yet another world-class performance. He is now up there amongst the likes of Antoine Dupont, Ardie Savea and Lukhanyo Am as one of the most elite players in international rugby. Ireland’s Mack Hansen deserves a mention for his match-winning moment, and Wallaby Tom Wright is very unlucky to miss out in an assured display in Paris.

10 Matthieu Jalibert (France): 20 minutes of magical finishing impact from Jalibert saw France home against the Wallabies in a match they could well have lost. In Cardiff, All Black Richie Mo’unga continued his Rugby Championship form in a world-class display of fly-half art, and at Twickenham, Los Pumas’ Santiago Carreras ran the length of the pitch to crush Eddie Jones’ men.

9 Aaron Smith (New Zealand): Our thesaurus officially ran out of superlatives for the mercurial Smith as he put in a commanding performance for the All Blacks and was world-class in every aspect of his play. In any other week, Jamison Gibson-Park’s cameo may well have snared the call, but Smith’s display was rugby from the gods and he’s our player of the weekend.

8 Ardie Savea (New Zealand): Alongside Smith, Savea was magical in Cardiff, running, jackaling and tackling in an all-action display which featured the greatest dummy sell since Boris Johnson sold Brexit to the British public. Gregory Alldritt and Caelan Doris both produced ‘business as usual’ for France and Ireland respectively and are joint runners up.

7 Josh van der Flier (Ireland): Yet again the free-running openside made a thunderous impact, coming up with a sumptuous touchline finish that any player in the world would have been thrilled with. New Zealand’s Dalton Papali’i gave a lot of go-forward in attack and has given Ian Foster options at seven.

6 Charles Ollivon (France): The Boss is back. Three turnovers, two lineout takes and two steals, 14 thundering tackles, 81 metres carried and one try disallowed doesn’t begin to tell the story of how effective the big blindside was around the breakdown and in attacking continuity. Elsewhere, Argentina’s 24 tackle Marcos Kremer and Ireland’s Peter O’Mahony were in powerful form for their respective sides.

5 Nick Frost (Australia): Australia’s maul defence is up there with the best in the world and Frost was exceptional in sacking any form of momentum. At Twickenham, Tomas Lavanini was legal and excellent for 80 massive minutes, whilst Australia’s replacement Will Skelton also deserves a mention for impact.

4 Eben Etzebeth (South Africa): Harsh on the player than won against him – Ireland’s Tadhg Beirne – but with 83 metres from 13 massive carries, 16 tackles and five lineout takes, big Eben was the heartbeat of the Boks once again.

3 Taniela Tupou (Australia): A massive shift from the Aussie tighthead, starting in spectacular fashion as he gave Cyril Baille ‘his wings’ in the first scrum of the match. Elsewhere, Finlay Bealham was outstanding, gaining a couple of crucial scrum penalties for Ireland, and Zander Fagerson was a rock for the Scots.

2 Julian Montoya (Argentina): Some massive displays from hookers all around the weekend, with Codie Taylor scoring two for New Zealand and Julien Marchand in outstanding form for France. But Montoya’s leadership, set-piece and breakdown work were world-class in a day at Twickenham he’ll remember forever.

1 Andrew Porter (Ireland): Porter hit 22 tackles in a memorable display of mobility and power, and also scrummaged like a demon against the world’s best, Frans Malherbe. Ellis Genge was one of England’s only bright lights in a gloomy display at Twickenham.

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