Team of the Week: Rugby Championship standouts combine
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By Michael Cantillon
Last Updated: 29/07/19 12:30pm
Find out who makes it into our XV this week as the standouts from the latest round of the Rugby Championship combine...
See who makes our cut and have your say when it comes to the most influential player of the weekend with our vote below...
15. Beauden Barrett (New Zealand)
All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen took the decision to field both Beauden Barrett and Richie Mo'unga in the same starting XV at home to South Africa, with the former deployed at full-back, and though New Zealand failed to win the game in a 16-16 draw, Barrett ripped it up.
The 28-year-old made some 21 carries - the most of anyone across all four nations in the Rugby Championship during Round 2 - made 87 metres in attack, beat six defenders and made two clean breaks.
With ball in hand, Barrett is a supremely talented runner.
14. Cheslin Kolbe (South Africa)
Ever since making his Test debut less than a year ago for South Africa in the 2018 Rugby Championship, Toulouse wing Kolbe has lit up whatever stadium he has entered - in both hemispheres.
In Wellington on Saturday, he again displayed his wonderful talents as the wing soared past three defenders and made two clean breaks for a Springbok side who had just over for 15 minutes of possession.
Despite his diminutive stature, Kolbe also stood up to make 13 tackles against the All Blacks. A super effort.
13. Jack Goodhue (New Zealand)
If there is perhaps one position where New Zealand have yet to truly find a regular since their last victorious World Cup campaign, it is perhaps outside-centre. Yet, Goodhue looks to be their long-term answer.
The 24-year-old looked in fantastic form over the weekend against the Boks as he made 11 carries, 56 metres, one clean break, beat seven defenders and scored a try. Keep an eye on Goodhue for the World Cup.
12. Samu Kerevi (Australia)
The Wallabies may have limped somewhat to victory over the Pumas at home on Saturday, but inside-centre Kerevi ably displayed his potent mix of power and guile in spades.
The back made 12 carries, nine tackles, four clean breaks - no one in the competition made more from either game - beat two defenders and earned a turnover in a really well-rounded performance from midfield.
11. Marika Koroibete (Australia)
Another Wallaby to stand out in victory over Argentina was wing Koroibete, whose exceptionally hard-running style makes him a threat against any side.
The back-three man made 13 carries - the most of any Wallaby on the pitch - 77 metres with ball in hand - again the most of anyone in gold - beat six defenders and made a clean break.
He also created the Australia try for Reece Hodge with one of his sharp linebreaks and contributed six tackles in defence.
10. Handre Pollard (South Africa)
Over in New Zealand on Saturday, Springbok out-half Pollard illustrated his qualities with a noteworthy display of creativity and control.
The playmaker made nine carries, 76 metres going forward, one clean break and beat two defenders. He also kicked four of his five goals off the tee.
9. Will Genia (Australia)
In his final Test in Brisbane, Genia produced a brilliant display from half-back for Australia as they dug out a much-needed victory over Argentina.
The 31-year-old will retire from Wallabies duty after the forthcoming World Cup in Japan this autumn, and on Saturday Genia showed why he will be missed.
His passing was crisp, his kicking and the control of his execution was superb, while he also made eight sniping runs, keeping the Pumas defensive line on their toes. A class act.
1. Steven Kitshoff (South Africa)
Into the forwards, Springbok loosehead Kitshoff takes our first shirt after a really impressive display in New Zealand.
During his 58 minute shift, the prop contributed eight tackles, eight carries and two turnovers in a performance of real energy and quality.
2. Tolu Latu (Australia)
In the absence of any outstanding hooker performance across the four nations, Australia replacement Latu gets in for his excellent cameo.
Latu's pressure and skill at the breakdown was the real standout - it's an area which could very well see him starting for the Wallabies before long.
3. Owen Franks (New Zealand)
Again, like hooker, tighthead was a very difficult position to select from this week.
None of Sekope Kepu, Juan Figallo or Frans Malherbe had vintage performances, so All Black Franks gets in for his contribution to a very strong scrum effort.
4. Guido Petti Pagadizaval (Argentina)
The Pumas may have suffered defeat over the weekend, but second row Pagadizaval claims a spot for his eye-catching performance in Brisbane.
The lock made an exceptional 14 tackles and earned one turnover for Argentina, while he also chipped in with seven carries and three lineout takes.
5. Franco Mostert (South Africa)
Also in the engine room of the forward pack this week is South Africa and Gloucester lock Mostert, who put in a huge shift in Wellington.
Mostert made 10 tackles, nine carries and claimed two lineouts in a display full of stamina, fitness and brute strength.
6. Pieter-Steph du Toit (South Africa)
After another display which demonstrated his unyielding energy and enthusiasm, Du Toit claims the blindside spot - the Bok forward really is developing into a world force.
The flanker made some 14 tackles against New Zealand, showed off his deceptive turn of pace and forced two lineouts. A player in the form of his career.
7. Michael Hooper (Australia)
Michael Cheika's Wallabies were far from their best on Saturday, but Hooper's stats highlight his importance to the side.
The Australia skipper made 17 tackles in defence - no one in the competition made more over the weekend - while the next best for the Wallabies was a whole seven tackles less.
Hooper also earned two turnovers, beat three defenders and made a clean break as the Wallabies prevailed over the Pumas.
A note too for Bok openside Kwagga Smith, who was very, very good against the All Blacks.
8. Isi Naisarani (Australia)
In just the second Test start of his career, Naisarani was one of the standouts for Australia against Argentina, with his carrying game and leg drive extremely powerful.
The Fiji-born No 8 made 12 carries, earned 64 metres with ball in hand going forward and forced two turnovers.