It was the final weekend of the World Cup warm-up matches and spectators across the globe were treated to some wonderful rugby, Bet Central brings you the Test rugby Team of the Week from this past weekend.
15. Damian Willemse (South Africa)
Brilliant across the board, the one thing that is never in question when it comes to Damian Willemse is his commitment. He was class throughout in a dominant performance and may have given Jacques Nienaber some food for thought as far as his selection at 15 is concerned.
Andrew Kellaway was excellent in a losing cause at the Stade de France while his opposite number Thomas Ramos was good.
14. Damian Penaud (France)
Damian Penaud is by far the best winger in world rugby, he makes things look so effortless. He is a silky operator who was once again on hand to score a brace and help France win over a hapless Australia.
Selestino Ravutaumada was outstanding for Fiji and could have easily made the team were it not for the brilliance of Penaud.
13. Waisea Nayacalevu (Fiji)
Canan Moodie had a dream game at 13 for the Boks last Friday, his anticipation was so good and he looked a natural in that position. But Waisea Nayacalevu was even better in their historic win at Twickenham.
The Fijian captain facilitated just about everything on attack and defence. To add to his explosive power, he has an excellent rugby brain and it was on show against England. He showed incredible leadership as well.
12. Andre Esterhuizen (South Africa)
Damian de Allende is such an important part of the Boks game plan and for a very long time his place as a starter for the Boks has not been in doubt, but Andre Esterhuizen’s level of performance at the moment may change that.
The Harlequins centre had a phenomenal game against New Zealand. He was a physical presence and the All Blacks had no answers for his dynamism. Honourable mention for Jonathan Danty and the brilliant Semi Radradra.
11. Duhan van der Merwe (Scotland)
Like Andre Esterhuizen, the former Baby Boks winger Duhan van der Merwe uses his bulk and physicality to good effect offensively. He was on hand to score a brace as the Scots won against a tough Georgian side.
Despite a record loss for the All Blacks, Mark Telea is one of the few players who came away from that with huge credit. He was only lacking a score to maybe edge van der Merwe, but the Scotsman won our No. 11 spot in the end.
10. Manie Libbok (South Africa)
Toughest pick of the week. Caleb Muntz had a superb game against England, he showed touches and maturity that belied his years. Similarly, Mathieu Jalibert eased France’s concerns with regards to replacing the injured Romain Ntamack with an assured performance.
However, our pick is the man who was absolute poetry at Twickenham, Manie Libbok. The Stormers’ flyhalf had his best game in a Bok jersey, his passing range and kicking were top-class.
09. Antoine Dupont (France)
There really aren’t enough superlatives to describe the sheer brilliance of Antoine Dupont. The level of influence he has on defence, attack and the breakdown is truly astonishing. His sumptuous cross-kick for Penaud’s try was a summation of his incredible game.
Connor Murray was a huge reason why Ireland were able to see off a strong Samoan side. Cam Roigard’s cameo off the bench was one of huge promise.
08. Viliame Mata (Fiji)
Despite England’s recent woes, their pack is always formidable and Fiji needed to step up physically to overcome that challenge. Viliame Mata stepped up to the challenge by being a wrecking ball for Fiji. He was also an efficient stopper on defence as his nation got a historic victory.
Bubbling just under him is Gregory Alldritt who wasn’t as good as he usually, but still managed to be influential in the greater scheme of things.
07. Charles Ollivon (France)
Dupont is France’s best player and their captain officially, but in Charles Ollivon, they have their spiritual leader. He makes Dupont’s job easier, but apart from the leadership aspect, he is a fine player. Arguably the best openside flanker in the world. He adds little elements on defence, at the lineout that give France the edge.
Fritz Lee had a fine game as Samoa almost shocked Ireland in Bayonne. He was part of a big physical onslaught from Samoa.
06. Pieter-Steph du Toit (South Africa)
Apart from a yellow card for an unfortunate tackle on Sam Cane, Pieter-Steph du Toit was phenomenal. For large parts of the game, he looked like his 2019 self and that is a scary prospect for the opposition. He is a tackle machine on the blindside flanker.
Peter O’Mahony came on and made a big impact and his contributions may have saved the game for Ireland.
05. Theo McFarland (Samoa)
Tough on Franco Mostert to miss out as he was near-perfect for the Boks at the set piece. But Theo McFarland had an incredible game for Samoa.
The Saracens lock plays like an extra loose forward, his ingenuity and carries were incredible. He brought huge physicality and his athleticism troubled Ireland. It’s his all-round contribution that sees him edge Franco Mostert for the no.5 spot.
04. Eben Etzebeth (South Africa)
Is Eben Etzebeth the finest lock to ever play South Africa? Perhaps he is, but just on current form, he is the best in the world. The Sharks man is a relentless ball carrier, a powerful defender and a lineout wizard. The mongrel he brings is unlike any other lock in world rugby.
Cameron Woki continues to show his immense value for France. The French starting locks struggled on Sunday, but the introduction of Woki changed things a bit. He is clearly an important player for Fabien Galthie going into the World Cup.
03. Frans Malherbe (South Africa)
With Frans Malherbe, there is no debate to be had as far as him being the best tighthead prop to ever play for the Springboks. He will never be everyone’s cup of tea, but for the Boks he is gold. His scrummaging was excellent again and his defensive contributions were immense.
Paul Alo-Emile had a great game and proved to be a proper anchor for Samoa. If he stays fit, Samoa will have a chance.
02. Malcolm Marx (South Africa)
Malcolm Marx was a beast against the All Blacks. He rarely has a bad game, but when he is at his best, he is unstoppable. His breakdown prowess was on show again, he carried strongly and his set-piece was exemplary.
Sam Matavesi was prominent for Fiji and could have made the team were it not for Marx’s brilliance.
1. Angus Bell (Australia)
Angus Bell’s form this season has been impressive despite the struggles. He is a light in a dark tunnel for Australia and he will be crucial if they are to turn their fortunes around.
Like fellow Samoan prop Alo-Emile, James Lay looked very good in the front row.