Team of the week: Sam Underhill and Mark Wilson join James Ryan and Brodie Retallick
By Keith Moore
Last Updated: 12/11/18 12:07pm
English half-backs, Scotland's hat-trick hero, breakdown menaces, and a try-scoring hooker form our latest team of the week...
15. Emiliano Boffelli (Argentina)
There was some hot footwork in a try-scoring display from Damian McKenzie in New Zealand's 16-15 victory over England, but the rest of his performance split opinion in Sky Studios.
Maxime Medard marshalled things well for France in their loss to the Springboks, but it was another player who shone in defeat, Argentina's Emiliano Boffelli, who cracks the nod this week.
Bofelli made more carries (13) and more metres (75m) than anyone else for his team as the Pumas were defeated 28-17 by Ireland in Dublin.
14. Tommy Seymour (Scotland)
A Fijian backline is always going to be difficult to contain, but at Murrayfield, Tommy Seymour fought fire with fire as he crossed for a hat-trick of tries in Scotland's 54-17 victory - their 10th in 11 Tests in the Scottish capital.
Seymour carried nine times, beating three defenders and causing problems for the visiting defence throughout. Should Seymour be picked again next week, his likely showdown with South Africa's Breakthrough Player of the Year nominee Aphiwe Dyantyi should prove an exciting one.
13. Jonathan Davies (Wales)
One of the Fijians backline starts who did live up to his billing was Semi Radradra, who was a nuisance throughout the encounter and caused serious headaches for the Scottish midfield. However, Jonathan Davies wears our No 13 for his part in a 9-6 victory for Wales at the Principality Stadium.
In a game decided by three penalty kicks to two, it's the small measures that make the difference, and Davies' experience shone as he spearheaded his country's efforts in an arm wrestle to overturn a decade's worth of defeats against Saturday's visitors.
12. Bundee Aki (Ireland)
Ryan Crotty and Jack Goodhue formed an enterprising centre pairing when the former replaced Sonny Bill Williams late in the first half at Twickenham. The duo created opportunities in midfield which put New Zealand on the front foot as they worked their way back into the game from 15-0 down.
But our No 12 jersey goes to Ireland's Bundee Aki, who carried 15 times, beat four defenders and scored a try to cap off a strong performance at the Aviva Stadium - which incidentally is where Goodhue and Crotty will be later this week.
11. Ben Smith (New Zealand)
Ben Smith wore the No 14 jersey at Twickenham but he was all over the pitch, so he'll no doubt feel at home on the left wing. Smith made three clean breaks, beat three defenders, and made 74 metres with the ball, topping the All Black charts in two of those categories; McKenzie beat the most English defenders (9).
A nod to Josh Adams, who looks very comfortable in the Test arena despite only making his debut a few months ago, and DTH van der Merwe, who notched a hat-trick for Canada against Kenya.
10. Katy Daley-McLean (England Women)
The talk ahead of the Twickenham Test revolved around the battle between Owen Farrell and Beauden Barrett, but in north London on Friday night Katy Daley-McLean stole the show as she marked her 100th international cap with a 17-point haul as England Women thrashed USA 57-5 at Allianz Park.
Daley-McLean has been a stalwart for Simon Middleton's team, with the coach paying tribute to the fly-half last week ahead of the game: "Without a shadow of a doubt, she's the best kicking women's player in the world, and that's just one facet of her game," said Middleton. "A hundred games for your country is nothing short of remarkable."
9. Ben Youngs (England)
On Saturday Ben Youngs had one of his best games in an England jersey in recent times. His pass to Chris Ashton for the opening try in the second minute was pin-point as the pair got Eddie Jones' side off to the perfect start.
Youngs' delivery was crisp, and he did his best to set the tempo for England's attack which struggled under difficult conditions out wide.
Across the Channel, Baptiste Serin was brilliant from the kicking tee for France, and his attacking intent took the home side to a 23-9 lead before the Boks fought back in Paris.
1. Steven Kitshoff (South Africa)
In the June series between South Africa and England it became apparent that Steven Kitshoff's impressive scrummaging abilities are too big for Rassie Erasmus to ignore.
During this year's Rugby Championship Kitshoff started three of the six matches, and deputised for Tendai Mtawarira for the other three. With the Sharks' Mtawarira currently injured, Kitshoff has a clear run as a starter, and is taking his opportunity.
Not only brilliant at the set piece, the loosehead adds to South Africa's breakdown options, showcasing that by securing two turnovers against the French on Saturday.
2. Bongi Mbonambi (South Africa)
It was a weekend for try-scoring hookers. France's Guilhem Guirado, England's Dylan Hartley and Scotland's Fraser Brown among them. But the most important try scored by a hooker over the weekend was that of replacement Bongi Mbonambi, who crossed for a stoppage-time try in South Africa's 29-26 victory over France in Paris.
However, it was not just the driving-maul try for which Mbonambi makes it into the team. There were three lineouts that led to the try, and all three were after the 80 minutes were up. Therefore pressure - and wet conditions - made it all the more impressive that he found his jumpers without trouble on each occasion.
3. Tadhg Furlong (Ireland)
A huge shout-out to Kyle Sinckler who was once again hungry to impose himself in defence for England, and played a huge part in their efforts with the ball.
But for leading Ireland's scrum dominance over the Pumas, who are traditionally very strong in that area, Tadhg Furlong slots in at tighthead prop for us. Ireland's current status as the second-best team in the world is largely built around the likes of Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray, but the thankless work of Furlong is not to be forgotten.
4. James Ryan (Ireland)
James Ryan had a brilliant game in the Irish second row, making the most tackles for Joe Schmidt's side with 13, and the second-most carries with 18 - two behind CJ Stander - during which he beat four Argentine defenders.
Unlucky to miss out on this jersey is Pieter-Steph du Toit, who topped South Africa's tackle chart for the umpteenth time this year. The lock forward, moved to the side of the scrum in the second half, also won two turnovers for his team.
5. Brodie Retallick (New Zealand)
New Zealand often rely on their backs to deliver victories, and with strike power in the form of Rieko Ioane and Beauden Barrett you can hardly blame them.
But in torrential conditions in south west London the forwards had to grind out a win, and Brodie Retallick was at the centre of it in a man-of-the-match outing. Retallick carried and tackled with purpose, but his biggest contribution was stealing three lineouts from England throw-ins which limited the home side's ability to build on their lead.
6. Sam Underhill (England)
We could not split Sam Underhill and Justin Tipuric, so we've gone for both in our team of the week. Underhill's disallowed try may not have brought victory for England, but the way he made back-to-back World Player of the Year Beauden Barrett look like he was stuck in a revolving door will be a source of great pride for the flanker.
As will his 24 tackles and 66 metres made with the ball in a performance in which Underhill announced himself as someone Eddie Jones will struggle to ignore for No 7 duties, even when Tom Curry returns to full fitness.
7. Justin Tipuric (Wales)
The highly-threatening Australian combination of David Pocock and Michael Hooper was no match for the exploits of Justin Tipuric at the breakdown during Wales' victory over Australia.
Tipuric made 20 tackles - the most by a Welshman and five more than the next best - and turned the ball over three times. As mentioned before, the Cardiff clash was nip and tuck, and under those circumstances, Tipuric shone for Wales.
8. Mark Wilson (England)
Mark Wilson only has 18 months of international rugby under his belt, but he is proving a worthy replacement for the injured Billy Vunipola. Wilson joined Underhill in making plenty of hits on Kiwi call-carrier; 17 New Zealanders stopped in their tracks by the Newcastle No 8.
While Vunipola remains one of Jones' integral players, it will be reassuring for the Australian to see Wilson plugging the gap seamlessly, especially given Vunipola's injury history.