The international season continued this weekend and there were some impressive matchups, with the All Blacks shining against an underwhelming French side, Samoa defeating Italy, Japan gaining a historic win over Wales and the Springboks just managing to overcome Scotland.
The encounters saw a number of players put their hands up, demonstrating exactly why they were chosen.
1. Alasdair Dickinson (Scotland) – despite Scotland’s loss, the front-row had a great game, and Dickinson stood up against the strong Springbok pack.
2. Dane Coles (New Zealand) – Dane Coles is making a name for himself in the number 2 jersey, and his quick hands also showed that he is a danger when running with the ball.
3. Jannie du Plessis (South Africa) – the Springboks weren’t great, but Dr. du Plessis was strong at scrum time and had some great carries.
4. Luke Romano (New Zealand) – Luke Romano showed up the French locks, dominating the lineouts and working off the ball like a loose forward against the French.
5. Brodie Retallick (New Zealand) – Romano’s locking partner Retallick was also a shining light for the All Blacks, popping up all over the field and putting in the hard work to keep possession at all times.
6. Ofisa Treviranus (Samoa) – the agile yet brutal Treviranus had some great linebreaks and skilful off-loads against the Italians, making their defensive jobs that much harder throughout the day.
7. Siya Kolisi (South Africa) – Kolisi has the number 20 on his back after coming on for Arno Botha in the 4th minute, but Kolisi earned himself a man-of-the-match award with his efforts. Rightfully so, as Kolisi didn’t show any sign of nerves. He tackled hard and made a number of impressive line-breaks. Expect the Stormers flanker to start againt Samoa after his performance.
8. Taiasina Tuifu’a (Samoa) – like Treviranus, Tuifu’a caused havoc for the Italians, showing his pace and pure strength that was hard to contain for Parisse’s men.
9. Fumiaki Tanaka (Japan) – the Highlanders scrumhalf has transferred his speedy service and quick-thinking to the national side excellently, making some great decisions that helped Japan overcome Wales in Tokyo.
10. Tusiata Pisi (Samoa) – there can’t be any other flyhalf that has as many linebreaks as Pisi. The Samoan playmaker is able to step through any defence at will and put his speedier colleagues in space with ease.
11. Julian Savea (New Zealand) – While chasing a great Ma’a Nonu kick for his first try, the big winger also showed some great work in the midfield, setting up Ben Smith’s try in the second half.
12. Ma’a Nonu (New Zealand) – Nonu was selected as the best centre in last week’s Team of the Week, and he’s done it again. He showed some skills that are not usually associated with the big back, such as his well-weighted kick through for Savea. Nonu was brilliant once again in the black jersey.
13. JJ Engelbrecht (South Africa) – Despite the one defensive lapse that led to the first Scottish try, Engelbrecht was great for the Boks. His ability to inject pace into the backline has been well-needed in the Springbok set-up, and his ability to spot gaps is coming in handy for the playmakers around the field.
14. Alapati Leiua (Samoa) – the Hurricanes winger has arguably the most deceptive pace in the game, sneaking up on players and getting around on the outside when he looks to be jogging. His chase of Pisi’s kick and subsequential try was great.
15. Ayumu Goromaru (Japan) – the unsung hero in the fullback position was instrumental in the win over Wales. He carried the ball well and showed some incredible goal-kicking skills, slotting every shot he had at the uprights.