Rugby World Cup team of the week: All Blacks and England dominate
By Sky Sports Rugby Union
Last Updated: 21/10/19 11:09pm
Find out who makes the cut after some brilliant performances across all four Rugby World Cup quarter-finals…
England and New Zealand dazzled as they comprehensively defeated Australia and Ireland respectively, while South Africa showed their defensive steel to grind down Japan.
It was far from smooth sailing for Wales against France but Ross Moriarty's late try saw them progress to a last-four date with the Springboks.
15. Beauden Barrett (New Zealand)
He may have a different number on his back these days but Barrett remains the same devastating player that saw him win back-to-back world player of the year awards.
The playmaker showcased his blistering pace to score his 35th Test try and created another as the All Blacks blew Ireland away.
14. Sevu Reece (New Zealand)
Anthony Watson is unlucky to miss out but Reece justified his selection ahead of Ben Smith and Rieko Ioane with an outstanding display against Ireland.
Brilliant with ball in hand, Reece made four line breaks and beat eight defenders in a ruthless performance by the world champions.
He also made some excellent reads in defence, making six tackles - missing none - and winning two turnovers.
13. Virimi Vakatawa (France)
The 27-year-old was outstanding as France came within minutes of a place in the semi-finals. He had a hand in Charles Ollivon's try and then bagged Les Bleus' third on the half-hour.
Vakatawa made 14 carries - only full-back Maxime Medard made more - and beat five defenders as he racked up 52 metres with ball in hand, while also making eight tackles and winning one defensive turnover.
12. Damian de Allende (South Africa)
A rock in defence, De Allende made a staggering 17 tackles and won three turnovers as the Springboks squeezed the life out of the tournament hosts.
He was harshly denied a try before half-time and will be annoyed at dropping the ball after making a line break, but De Allende has become a mainstay in the South African midfield.
11. Makazole Mapimpi (South Africa)
It is 13 tries in 12 Tests for Mapimpi after he crossed for a try in each half against Japan.
Both were excellent finishes, stepping around Yu Tamura to bag his first before displaying pace and power to dot down again with 10 minutes remaining.
Two tries, three line breaks and five defenders beaten, Mapimpi also carried for 111 metres, which is almost three times more than any of his team-mates.
10. Owen Farrell (England)
Eddie Jones sprung a surprise by switching his skipper back to fly-half and it proved an inspired move.
Farrell ran the show as England demolished the Wallabies, his fantastic pass putting Kyle Sinckler through for a try. He was 100 per cent off the tee, kicking four penalties and four conversions for a 20-point haul.
9. Aaron Smith (New Zealand)
Smith marshalled his pack superbly and made hay from the front-foot ball they provided. The speed and accuracy of his passing is a joy to watch - all 72 of his passes against Ireland found a team-mate.
The scrum-half showed great awareness to spot gaps in the Irish defence and dive over for two close-range tries.
1. Mako Vunipola (England)
The blockbusting loosehead has played barely any rugby since May yet was at his brilliant best in England's quarter-final win.
Vunipola carried with ferocity and formed part of a dominant scrum, but it was in defence where he really shone. He made a lung-busting 20 tackles to edge out New Zealand's Joe Moody for the No 1 shirt.
2. Ken Owens (Wales)
The hooker had Welsh hearts in mouths when he threw an intercept pass in front of his own tryline, but we are sure he already knew the referee was playing advantage!
Owens led the way in defence with 18 tackles and found a team-mate with all nine of his lineout throws.
3. Kyle Sinckler (England)
The tighthead put his early scrum issues behind him to run a brilliant line for his first England try, killing off any hopes of an Australian comeback.
Sinckler also made a crucial turnover on the hour mark to cap a fine all-round performance.
4. Lood de Jager (South Africa)
The towering lock played his part in a fantastic defensive display, particularly in the first half as Japan asked serious questions of the Springboks.
De Jager made 14 tackles, second only to Damian de Allende, and was a key performer at the lineout. He claimed five throws and also stole one as South Africa dismantled Japan's set-piece in ruthless fashion.
5. Sam Whitelock (New Zealand)
Whitelock made a team-high 16 tackles and won a defensive turnover in a vintage performance alongside the returning Brodie Retallick.
He also chipped in with seven carries as he played the full 80 minutes. The second-row battle alone will be worth the entrance fee for Saturday's semi-final.
6. Tom Curry (England)
Curry continues to defy his age with a man-of-the-match display against Australia.
He made 16 tackles, displaying excellent technique as he and Sam Underhill outshone Michael Hooper and David Pocock.
Curry only made two carries but did throw the final pass for Jonny May's first try.
7. Ardie Savea (New Zealand)
He played on the blindside against Ireland but it does not matter what number is on Savea's back. He was brilliant in both attack and defence against an outclassed Ireland, making 42 metres from eight carries and beating four defenders.
Savea was New Zealand's third-highest tackler with 12 and also bagged one of their eight defensive turnovers. He edges out Justin Tipuric, who shone for Wales against France.
8. Kieran Read (New Zealand)
The All Blacks skipper rolled back the years against Ireland, sending the men in green into reverse with some shuddering hits.
Read led by example with 19 carries and 14 tackles, displaying soft hands as New Zealand's ability to keep the ball alive left Ireland floundering.