That 5 of the players selected for this team are Pacific Islanders is a sign of the progress those nations are making. Bet Central assembles the best XV of the 2nd round.
15. Hugo Keenan (Ireland)
Does Hugo Keenan ever have a bad game? It does not seem so at all with the Irish fullback. He was once again safe and reliable at the back while adding to the attacking impetus for Ireland.
Willie le Roux had good games as the Springboks trashed Romania in the 2nd pool game.
Honorable mention: Willie le Roux (South Africa)
14. Leicester Fainga’anuku (New Zealand)
So brilliant we had to accommodate him on the right wing, Leicester Fainga’anuku is very unlucky to be stuck behind the irrepressible Mark Telea. For any other nation, he would most likely start. He was powerful against Namibia combining his bustling power with raw pace to trouble the Namibians.
A first Test start on the wing for the versatile Grant Williams went very well and if not for the brilliance of Fainga’anuku, he would have been in the team.
Honorable mention: Grant Williams (South Africa)
13. Waisea Nayacalevu (Fiji)
Struck a better balance with Josua Tuisova this week compared to how he fared with Semi Radradra on his inside. Waisea Nayacalevu is such a slippery customer and his playmaking skills make him that much more dangerous. Added to this his leadership was outstanding.
His opposite number on the day Jordan Petaia looked dangerous for Australia while Garry Ringrose looked good again outside Bundee Aki.
Honorable mention: Garry Ringrose (Ireland)
12. Josua Tuisova (Fiji)
Bundee Aki can consider himself very unlucky not to crack the team after another excellent outing at inside centre with the Irish side, but Josua Tuisova was sensational in Fiji’s historic win over Australia and Samu Kerevi is rarely outshone by his opposite number – Tuisova did.
The stocky midfielder was a nightmare showing brute physicality and shoring up his defensive channel. He took his try well.
Honorable mention: Bundee Aki (Ireland)
11. Makazole Mapimpi (South Africa)
He became the 2nd fastest Springbok to get to 25 Test tries when he scored against Romania, but it wasn’t only reaching that milestone that stood for Mapimpi, he was phenomenal in a busy performance where he popped up everywhere. His tries were a due reward for a fantastic game.
Were it not for our cheat selection, Fainga’anuku would be bubbling under, but Semi Radradra played his part in a great win for Fiji.
Honorable mention: Semi Radradra (Fiji)
10. Johnny Sexton (Ireland)
Many felt Johnny Sexton should have copped a lengthy ban for his controversial comments over officiating in the Champions Cup final, but it would have been an unjust end to a wonderful Test career. That he continues to control and stamp his authority on games at 38 is incredible.
Damian McKenzie had a tidy game against Namibia in a rare start at flyhalf for the All Blacks.
Honorable mention: Damian McKenzie (New Zealand)
09. Simione Kuruvoli (Fiji)
There were so many good performances at 9 this past round. Cobus Reinach was excellent as he scored a hat trick to help South Africa ease past Romania. Similarly, Yutaka Nagare was the heart of a good Japanese performance.
But the ultimate standouts were Cam Roigard and Simione Kuruvoli. Roigard looks like the successor of Aaron Smith, but Kuruvoli outfoxing Nic White gave him the edge.
Honorable mention: Cam Roigard (New Zealand)
08. Caelan Doris (Ireland)
Former All-Black Vaea Fifita had a strong game for Tonga, as did Taulupe Faletau for Wales, but Caelan Doris takes the no.8 spot for this round.
Doris does so many small and minute things well. These small interventions make Ireland that much more potent. The Leinster man is an important player going into this week against the Springboks.
Honorable mention: Taulupe Faletau (Wales)
07. Levani Botia (Fiji)
A demolition man for Fiji, Levani Botia was at the heart of Fiji’s great win over Australia. He carried with an unreal vigor, threw himself into tackles, and gave the Wallabies nightmares at the breakdown. The La Rochelle man produced arguably the most complete performance of the round.
Ben Earl, Jac Morgan, and Kwagga Smith were all phenomenal, but Botia rules as king of the openside this time around.
Honorable mention: Ben Earl (England)
06. Courtney Lawes (England)
In the small English resurgence that is taking place, Courtney Lawes has had a big part play. His versatility has been a major asset for England, his set-piece presence has been monumental for the English. His endeavor across the board propels his team forward.
Manuel Ardao was titanic in a huge effort against the hosts for Uruguay on the blindside. He gave them an edge at the breakdown and tackled everything.
Honorable mention: Manuel Ardao (Uruguay)
05. Theo McFarland (Samoa)
Theo McFarland’s qualities are evident with every outing he has with Samoa, his athleticism is vital in the lineout and he brings gain line dominance which was evident in their win over Chile. He is a valuable asset for Samoa.
RG Snyman is now showing he can produce the goods at 5 locks as well. He had another excellent bench cameo.
Honorable mention: RG Snyman (South Africa)
04. Tadhg Beirne (Ireland)
In every world-class team, some stars get the plaudits every week and get all the fanfare, and then some rarely get the glossy reviews but are invaluable to the cause. For Ireland, Tadhg Beirne is part of the latter category. His ability to combine physicality, game nous, and unreal work rate make him such a huge asset for Ireland.
Cameron Woki and Sam Lousi certainly contributed their bit for their respective nations this past weekend, but Beirne was all class.
Honorable mention: Cameron Woki (France)
03. Trevor Nyakane (South Africa)
Called into the starting lineup at the 11th hour, Trevor Nyakane did not disappoint as he produced a good all-round performance. He was busy around the park and showed up at the set-piece.
Luke Tagi might have got in were it not for the few times Angus Bell got the edge on him at the set-piece.
Honorable mention: Luke Tagi (Fiji)
02. Sam Matavesi (Fiji)
He embodies the Fijian spirit despite having English ancestry, Sam Matavesi is such a determined ball carrier and doesn’t know when he’s beaten. He carried relentlessly and was superb in his lineout throwing barring 2 stolen lineouts late in the 1st half.
Dewi Lake was another determined figure as Wales swept Portugal aside in an entertaining encounter.
Honorable mention: Dewi Lake (Wales)
1. Eroni Mawi (Fiji)
Slightly behind Tuisova and Botia in terms of level of performance. Eroni Mawi was everywhere in a game where his breakdown work helped Fiji out a few times. His core duties at the set-piece were performed efficiently. Fiji’s 3rd best player on the day. He makes our team.
Ox Nche and Joe Marler were pretty good in the games as well.
Honorable mention: Ox Nche (South Africa)