The past weekend saw Bledisloe 2 being played out at Forsyth Barr Stadium, and the Springboks headed out to Argentina for a World Cup warm-up. The Summer Nations Series began in Europe. Bet Central brings you a compilation of all the standout players.
15. Andrew Kellaway (Australia)
Blair Kinghorn had a terrific game with Scotland, Jimmy O’Brien showed that he can do the job if Hugo Keenan is unavailable. Damian Willemse showed his brilliance in Buenos Aires.
But the man who claims the no.15 jersey this week is the man who seems like the answer for Eddie Jones at fullback, Andrew Kellaway. The Rebels man was outstanding in a losing effort, he has cemented his spot.
Honourable mention: Blair Kinghorn (Scotland)
14. Canaan Moodie (South Africa)
Canaan Moodie had the finest game of his young Test career in Buenos Aires as he scored a try and contributed to a shaky performance by the Springboks, his technical proficiency is impeccable for a player of his age.
French debutant Louis Bielle-Biarrey had an amazing 1st Test and ordinarily would be in the team if it weren’t for Moodie’s presence.
Honourable mention: Louis Bielle-Biarrey (France)
13. Lucio Cinti (Argentina)
With Lukhanyo Am a little off colour, Len Ikitau injured and Rieko Ioane still not consistent at 13. Lucio Cinti has emerged as the preeminent outside centre in the Southern Hemisphere.
Cinti was brilliant against the Springboks, causing a lot of trouble for the South African defenders. His defensive qualities will improve, for now, he is an irresistible attacker. Special mention to Jordan Petaia.
Honourable mention: Jordan Petaia (Australia)
12. Andre Esterhuizen (South Africa)
For many years Andre Esterhuizen has struggled to assert himself as a Test player despite his classy performances on the domestic scene. He was brilliant again for the Boks against Argentina adding to the narrative that he may finally be coming of age as a Test player.
Samu Kerevi had a strong outing against the All Blacks and just missed out on our team.
Honourable mention: Samu Kerevi (Australia)
11. Darcy Graham (Scotland)
Marika Koroibete had a brilliant game against New Zealand and could feel hard done by our cheat selection for this week, but Darcy Graham simply had to make the team.
Graham was a huge part of the turnaround in Scottish fortunes in the 2nd half at Murrayfield. He is such a dynamic attacker, it’s so hard to read what he is going to do. The 26-year-old will be an important part of the team in France at the World Cup.
Honourable mention: Marika Koroibete (Australia)
10. Finn Russell (Scotland)
The only thing that truly separates Finn Russell and Mathieu Jalibert this week is that one won the game and the other lost. Both flyhalves at Murrayfield were brilliant and were separated by very little in the end.
Finn Russell also gets some additional points for his leadership as he captained Scotland for the 1st time and emerged victorious.
Honourable mention: Mathieu Jalibert (France)
9. Tate McDermott (Australia)
Tate McDermott was left out of Eddie Jones’ very 1st training squad and somehow not only managed to convince his coach of his worth as a player, but also as a leader. He almost captained the Wallabies to a rare victory over the All Blacks and showed great touches in tandem with Carter Gordon.
Gareth Davies was really good in Wales’ win over England and deserves to back up McDermott.
Honourable mention: Gareth Davies (Wales)
8. Ardie Savea (New Zealand)
As per usual Ardie Savea was a wrecking ball on the carry even when New Zealand were on the back foot. He came into his own as the All Blacks fought back to win Bledisloe 2 with brutal efficiency on attack and defence.
Aaron Wainwright deserves a mention for his part in the Welsh forward assault against England.
Honourable mention: Aaron Wainwright (Wales)
7. Jac Morgan (Wales)
Jac Morgan has shades of Sam Warburton in him, one can only hope he doesn’t share the similarities in terms of bad luck with injuries so that we may see more of the kind of performance he produced on Saturday against England. He was unreal as he defended with vigour and carried strongly.
Caelan Doris had a good shift against Italy and his versatility is gold for Ireland.
Honourable mention: Caelan Doris (Ireland)
6. Tom Hooper (Australia)
Australia’s best player by far on Saturday, Tom Hooper took the fight to the All Blacks at Forsyth Barr and more often than won the personal duels even though he fell short overall with his team. He is a relentless ball carrier for Australia.
Ryan Baird had a good shift for Ireland, but it was Tom Hooper’s direct opponent on the day who shone on debut, Samipeni Finau who also had a memorable game.
Honourable mention: Samipeni Finau (New Zealand)
5. Grant Gilchrist (Scotland)
The Scottish forward pack stepped up as they fought back against a good French side in the 2nd half, Grant Gilchrist was prominent in that fight. He did the basics very well and showed how valuable he is for Gregor Townsend.
Tomas Lavanini continues to show he can mix up with the best at no.5
Honourable mention: Tomas Lavanini (Argentina)
4. Cameron Woki (France)
Faded a bit in the 2nd half as Scotland fought back to win, but Cameron Woki was brilliant in the 1st half. He commanded the lineout and was on hand to use his athleticism and power to good as a ball carrier. His return to Test rugby was a success in every way except for the loss.
Jean Kleyn was prominent for the Springboks and has proved his worth as backup to Eben Etzebeth.
Honourable mention: Jean Kleyn (South Africa)
3. Demba Bamba (France)
Demba Bamba is probably France’s 3rd choice tighthead prop behind Uini Atonio and Dorian Aldegheri, but he showed on Saturday that the 2 elder statesmen shouldn’t rest on their laurels. He was outstanding in the loose and showed great power in attack and defence. He should feature for France at the World Cup.
Thomas du Toit had a good outing at tighthead prop in a rare start. He was good at the set-piece and around the park.
Honourable mention: Thomas du Toit (South Africa)
2. Pierre Bourgarit (France)
May have leapfrogged Peato Mauvaka into 2nd choice hooker for France behind Julien Marchand, Pierre Bourgarit was outstanding for France. The La Rochelle man is one of the few French players who didn’t fade as Scotland mounted a fightback that would eventually end up in victory for them. An industrious performance all-round.
New Bok captain Bongi Mbonambi had a good game in Argentina on Saturday.
Honourable mention: Bongi Mbonambi (South Africa)
1. Angus Bell (Australia)
James Slipper was named as co-captain of the Wallabies at the beginning of the season as he was widely expected to be 1st choice loosehead prop. The performances of Angus Bell may force Jones to reconsider that position. He has been a stand out in the last 2 games.
Pierre Schoeman had an intriguing battle with Bamba and will look back on a great outing at Murrayfield.
Honourable mention: Pierre Schoeman (Scotland)