Team of the week: Pick of the All Blacks & prolific domestic try scorers
Last Updated: 17/09/16 10:58am
With the Rugby Championship, PRO12, Top 14 and Premiership competitions all in action the rivalry was fierce for this week’s XV.
The pick of the All Blacks and Pumas that took to the field in Hamilton take centre stage alongside some domestic standouts feature in our team of the week.
15. Ben Smith (New Zealand)
Smith's abilities are second to none and once again he excelled for the world leaders. He was at the heart of New Zealand's flair as he scored two tries, beat five defenders and made 10 carries in total. The full-back makes rugby look effortless and is a joy to watch.
14. Noa Nakaitaci (Clermont Auvergne)
Clermont started their home Top 14 campaign in style with a 47-10 victory over the reigning champions Racing 92.
Nakaitaci opened and finished their try scoring and added another try in between for good measure! The winger looked razor sharp, powerful and couldn't be contained by Racing's defence.
13. Samu Kerevi (Australia)
Australia's match against South Africa at the Suncorp Stadium may not have been the best of the weekend but at outside centre Kerevi had one of his best outings in a Wallaby jersey.
He made a handsome 115 metres off 11 carries and had a great appetite for work. Naturally he'll want to cleanly finish scoring opportunities like the one he spurned in the second half but otherwise it was a good performance from the Wallaby.
12. Jimmy Gopperth (Wasps)
The Kiwi scored 19 points as Wasps won at Welford Road for the first time since 2008. His kicking was excellent, both out of hand and off the tee.
The inside centre made a snipe down the left wing and dabbed a perfectly-weighted kick inside for Christian Wade's try. Although he missed a couple of kicks at goal, he touched down in the last minute and converted his own try to put the seal on a fine display.
11. Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors)
The Glasgow winger, who is now commonly referred to on social media as Tommy Scoremore, has notched up six tries in two matches including the four that he scored against Leinster this weekend.
The 28-year-old is brimming with confidence, he's backing himself in all situations and rightly so. Seymour's turn of pace and perfect choices of lines made try scoring look easy against strong opponents.
A rather large honourable mention must be made for Julian Savea as the 'The Bus' looked back to his electric best. The winger found, and created, numerous holes in Argentina's defence and it was great to see him playing rugby with a smile on his face.
10. Beauden Barrett (New Zealand)
At the Waikato Stadium Barrett showed why he is the best fly-half in the world. His jinking run to set up Ryan Crotty for a try, he managed the game with ease and also touched down himself. The Hurricane made two breaks and beat three defenders while also making nine tackles.
A notable mention for Bath's George Ford who scored another 18 points for his side, taking his season's total to 36. The fly-half kicked superbly out of hand and delivered a performance described by his opponent's director of rugby Dean Richards as 'simply outstanding'.
9. Rhys Webb (Ospreys)
On his first start of the season the scrum-half was made captain and he marked the occasion with two tries. Webb showed good strength to hold off two defenders for his first and then ran the ideal support line for his second to turn Ben John's brilliant break and offload into a try.
1. Mako Vunipola (Saracens)
At Sandy Park Saracens extended their unbeaten run to 12 matches in all competitions having last lost on March 20. At the heart of their performance, and pack, was the older of the Vunipola brothers.
The prop carried hard and worked tirelessly in defence making 15 tackles and nine carries as well as exerting his expertise and experience at the set piece.
2. Agustín Creevy (Argentina)
In Hamilton Argentina's captain led his side from the front for the 62 minutes that he was on the field. Creevy was solid at lineout time and his match statistics clearly highlight his endeavour and impact. The hooker made a team-leading 16 carries for 43 metres and was second in the tackle charts with 11, winning one turnover.
3. Owen Franks (New Zealand)
The tight-head prop was rock solid at scrum time and also put in a shift in the loose. Franks made 13 tackles and five carries before he left the field early in the second half. All in all a strong performance from the forward but he's still searching for that illusive international try!
4. Arthur Iturria (Clermont Auvergne)
Iturria won six lineouts, four at the tail and made 13 tackles in total. Around the park the second rower was busy with ball in hand as he made a team-leading 13 carries delivering 51 metres and that included one break.
Also the work of Tim Swinson at Scotstoun must be mentioned and the lock topped his side's tackle count with and was assured in all areas.
5. Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby)
Physically Attwood, and Bath as a whole, were a cut above their opponents and the experienced lock rampaged from minute one to minute 80.
He burst through for two second half tries in quick succession and was rock solid at the set piece. It was a performance that should have turned the head of Eddie Jones.
6. Jackson Wray (Saracens)
At Sandy Park Mark McCall hailed his blindside flanker as 'magnificent' and praised his continued improvement. Wray was determined and dogged throughout and it was his defensive prowess, making 16 tackles, and breakdown work that allowed Saracens to thrive.
7. Liam Gill (Toulon)
To say it's been a difficult start to the Top 14 season for Toulon is perhaps a sizeable understatement. But, away from home at the Stade Ernest-Wallon they delivered a gutsy bonus-point victory. Gill was key to their success, he put in 12 tackles and worked tirelessly while he was on the field.
8. Facundo Isa (Argentina)
The No 8 caused the All Blacks serious problems with some strong carries. Isa put in a big shift in defence, making 10 tackles and winning two turnovers, and his late conversion charge-down underlined his commitment to the cause.