Team of the Week: All Blacks, Springboks, Wallabies and a Puma feature in our XV
By Michael Cantillon
Last Updated: 08/10/18 1:54pm
Players from New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and Argentina all feature in our XV this week, with the PRO14, Premiership and Top 14 represented too.
It was another action-packed weekend of rugby from across Europe and the southern hemisphere as the Rugby Championship came to a close and the domestic seasons continued in full swing.
Find out who makes our cut and have your say when it comes to the most influential player of the weekend with our vote below...
15. Dane Haylett-Petty (Australia)
Were this team picked on the performances of players during the first half of games, Argentina's Emiliano Boffelli would have been a certainty for the full-back berth - the Wallabies struggled to contain him and his team-mates in Salta as the Pumas raced out to a 31-7 half-time lead.
But, for Argentina's collective switch-off and the role Dane Haylett-Petty played in Australia's remarkable revival to win 45-34, Boffelli's opposite number gets in.
Haylett-Petty notched two tries on the comeback trail, while he also contributed 15 carries and 125 metres in attack - both the most of anyone in gold.
He beat a string of defenders, was solid under the high ball as ever and looked a class act. Israel Folau may yet have to remain out on the wing.
14. Charlie Sharples (Gloucester)
The headline result from the Premiership this weekend was Gloucester's performance and away victory at Wasps on Saturday, just a week after a shock home defeat to Harlequins at Kingsholm.
Wasps had only lost one game all season and had been one of the most impressive performers before the weekend, but Johan Ackermann's charges rocked up to the Ricoh Arena and played a blinder.
Scoring the tries again was speedster Charlie Sharples, who after his brace of efforts in Coventry, now has eight tries from the opening six games of the league season - placing him top of the charts.
13. Ryan Crotty (New Zealand)
A late, late inclusion in the All Blacks starting XV as a result of Jack Goodhue's withdrawal due to illness, Crotty was fantastic for New Zealand in Pretoria.
In a game in which the visitors never looked likely to win, Crotty gave everything to keep them within touch making 14 tackles - the most of anybody on the pitch - and eight carries - the most of any All Black.
He also claimed one turnover as New Zealand somehow came from 12 points down with four minutes left to win the game 32-30 in the last play as part of a quite sensational Test match.
12. Dan Goggin (Munster)
The Munster centre has largely gone under the radar during the last few seasons, but his performances have steadily increased in quality and impact to such an extent that he is now beginning to get noticed.
At Munster, he must compete with the likes of Sam Arnold, Jaco Taute, Rory Scannell and Chris Farrell (when he's fit) for a starting shirt, but this season he has impressed each and every occasion he has been on the park.
On Saturday, he stood out again as Munster slipped to a tight defeat against Leinster at a sold-out Aviva Stadium. Goggin made 11 carries, contributed five tackles, beat two defenders and largely contained the supremely talented Robbie Henshaw opposite him.
More than that, Goggin steamrolled over one of Europe's premier performers Dan Leavy at one point - how many, if any players can say that? - as Munster pummelled the Leinster line but couldn't register the victory. Joe Schmidt is sure to be taking notes.
11. James Lowe (Leinster)
In a game in which Leinster were starved of possession and territory against their biggest rivals, it was the finishing quality of Lowe which went a long way to them sealing a win.
Lowe scored two superb tries and was critical to the awarding of a penalty try also as Keith Earls was sin-binned for tackling him early.
The Kiwi has everything in the locker - pace, power and a booming left boot. He's capable of the robust and the spectacular and illustrated it in equal measure against Munster in Dublin.
He also contributed 11 carries and three effective offloads in an eye-catching performance.
10. Bernard Foley (Australia)
If anybody needed a good performance this week, it was Wallabies out-half Bernard Foley.
Dropped for the first time in over four years and 52 Tests in Round 3 of the Rugby Championship against South Africa, Foley remained out of the starting lineup for Rounds 4 and 5 too as Australia lost at home to Argentina and away to the Boks.
In Salta against the Pumas, he was recalled to the 10 shirt and was superb as the Wallabies came back from 24 points down to win an amazing Test.
Central to their success was the kicking of Foley, who was immaculate off the tee with seven successful efforts from seven. From hand he was accurate too and produced one scintillating cross-field kick to create Haylett-Petty's second try and confirm victory.
9. Faf de Klerk (South Africa)
What a player the Springboks have in De Klerk.
Since his re-introduction to the team in the June series against England under Rassie Erasmus, the Sale Sharks scrum-half has barely put a foot wrong.
In fact, the 26-year-old has excelled at pretty much every turn and against the All Blacks again on Saturday, he was fantastic.
Bundles of energy, a pest for his opponent and blessed with a wand of a left boot, De Klerk really showed off his kicking pedigree against New Zealand in Pretoria, regularly pinning them back into their 22.
He also chipped in with one turnover and once again made Aaron Smith look a shadow of the player he can be. If Erasmus had left De Klerk on the park until the end, the Boks would likely be celebrating a win.
1. Dany Priso (La Rochelle)
La Rochelle welcomed Top 14 leaders Clermont to the Stade Marcel-Deflandre on Saturday and put in a fabulous display up front to come away with a noteworthy victory.
Their only try of the day game via the scrum and the awarding of a penalty try, with loosehead Priso in monstrous form.
La Rochelle retained 100 per cent possession on their own scrum, winning three penalties, a penalty try and a free kick, while they also won two penalties against the head too.
Priso remained on the pitch for the entire 80 minutes - exceedingly rare for a prop these days - and in addition to his scrum efforts, contributed eight tackles, seven carries, one turnover and an effective offload. He was also one of very few starting forwards on the park from either side who failed to give away a single penalty.
2. Malcolm Marx (South Africa)
Another Bok to really stand out in defeat was hooker Marx, who once again revelled in the white-hot atmosphere of the Test arena.
He's up there with the premier forwards in the world at the breakdown in terms of what he can achieve and Saturday was no different as he claimed two vital turnovers against the All Blacks - one a metre from his own line - and regularly competed to slow down ball.
He also beat two defenders with ball in hand and was part of a scrum which was 100 per cent on its own ball and refused to give up a penalty against the head either.
He conceded no penalties throughout the entire game either, which, for a man who prizes himself on being a nuisance at the breakdown, is pretty extraordinary.
3. Finlay Bealham (Connacht)
Connacht achieved a historic result in the PRO14 on Friday as they went up to face provincial rivals Ulster and won in Belfast for the first time in 58 years.
The success of their scrum was critical to the victory, as was the effort put in by the Connacht pack as a whole.
Tighthead prop Bealham contributed eight tackles, missing none, while he also made seven carries and beat one defender.
He was disciplined enough to give away no penalties and was part of an immense scrummaging effort.
From seven scrums they had in the match, Connacht earned a penalty try, three further penalties, a free-kick and two more dominant drives.
4. James Ryan (Leinster)
As well as being the more clinical, it was the unyielding defensive display of Leinster which went a long way to them overcoming Munster at the weekend.
Principal to this was lock Ryan, who made an exceptional 20 tackles. The Ireland international also claimed three lineouts and stole one in the success.
A mention too for Connacht lock Ultan Dillane, who was fantastic in their first victory in Ulster since 1960.
5. Scott Barrett (New Zealand)
The All Blacks always seem to struggle that little bit more when lock Brodie Retallick is out of the side, and Saturday was no exception as they somehow avoided defeat to the Boks.
In his place was Scott Barrett and by the end, the 24-year-old had made a major contribution to a sensational win.
Supremely physical, the second row played the full 80 minutes, made 12 tackles, was a key lineout operator: claiming four and making one vital steal, and he scored a critical try with four minutes left.
6. Pablo Matera (Argentina)
The Pumas flanker was immense in Salta on Saturday against the Wallabies, and since the last World Cup seems to have gone from strength to strength.
Still just 25 years old, Matera always seems to show up where he's most needed on the pitch - whether he's competing at the breakdown, making dominant tackles or carrying the ball hard.
One aspect to Matera which really stands out is how difficult he is to tackle. A combination of his power, footwork and hand-off strength make him a nightmare for any would-be defenders. On Saturday, the Argentine registered 12 carries in a striking display.
7. Siya Kolisi (South Africa)
The Springboks had so many good performers in their agonising defeat to the All Blacks, but near the top of the list was skipper Kolisi.
A real all-rounder, the flanker made 10 carries and 12 tackles, won a turnover, beat two defenders, created Damian de Allende's try with a marvellous piece of play and conceded no penalties.
His strength to bounce off Tim Perry, break the line and offload inside to De Allende was as good as it gets.
8. Ardie Savea (New Zealand)
He may only have played just over half the game against South Africa, but for his match-winning impact towards the end, we had to find a spot for Savea.
Brilliant against Argentina in Round 4, Savea was demoted back down to the bench for the Pretoria Test.
When he emerged into the game, the All Blacks were in dire need firstly of keeping the Boks at bay and secondly of getting back into things on the scoreboard.
Saves made seven tackles and won two crucial turnovers - one at the very end which allowed Richie Mo'Unga to kick a monster to touch and set-up a game-winning five-metre lineout.
And who was there to dive over from close range after the set-piece? Savea. The replacement, in short, proved the difference.
A note too for Australia's David Pocock (does he ever have a bad game?), who was phenomenal once more in Argentina.