With so many outstanding performances there were some real dilemmas selecting a team this week. Those picked at fullback, left wing, and number eight in particular should consider themselves lucky.
1 – James Slipper (Australia) It’s not too often you get a chance to pick an Australian prop, so the Queenslander gets in there for an impressive all-around performance. He even got the better of Mike Ross in the scrum.
2 – Richard Hibbard (Wales) A tough choice here but Hibbard was outstanding against Argentina, making numerous thumping tackles and putting in the hard yards with the ball in hand. His throwing was in top form as well.
3 – Dan Cole (England) Lots of decent performances but no real standouts here so the big Leicester man gets the nod for some solid work in the tight. Didn’t give Tony Woodcock much change in the scrum either.
4 – Courtney Lawes (England) Wearing 5, but played the second half at 4 when Joe Launchbury went off. An excellent all-around performance and once again gave away no penalties.
5 – Sam Whitelock (New Zealand) A monumental performance once again as he tackled everything and featured heavily in the lineout. Honourable mention to Flip van der Merwe who had a stormer against Scotland.
6 – Tom Wood (England) A big hit on Kieran Read among others, and a huge contribution in the lineout. Looks a bit more muscular this season and it hasn’t affected his workrate.
7 – Richie McCaw (New Zealand) While Michael Hooper was grabbing the headlines in Dublin, King Richie was doing the dirty work once again to guide his team to victory at Twickenham. He can do no wrong.
8 – Kieran Read (New Zealand) Arguably the toughest choice of the week, with the guy on the other side of the pitch worthy of selection, not to mention the two fellas playing in Cardiff. The All Black vice-captain showed why he is a favorite to win the IRB player of the year with another all-action display.
9 – Mike Phillips (Wales) A commanding performance from the Welshman without a club. Scored a fine individual try and bossed his forwards well.
10 – Owen Farrell (England) Not everyone’s cup of tea, but he kept England in the game with his kicking and excellent tackling. Aaron Cruden also did well replacing Dan Carter.
11 – Nick Cummins (Australia) He’s on fire at the moment. Ripped Ireland to shreds for his try and made something happen every time he touched the ball. Shout outs to Julian Savea, Fergus McFadden, and debutant Santiago Cordero.
12 – Florin Vlaicu (Romania) Sure, Ma’a Nonu did a couple things right for New Zealand, but Vlaicu kicked 21 points and for the second week running nailed a last minute penalty goal to win the match for his team.
13 – Male Sa’u (Japan) The best outside centre on show for the second week running. Another fantastic performance, albeit against lowly Russia, as he scored two fine individual tries and completely dominated the midfield in Colwyn Bay.
14 – George North (Wales) Scored a superb try and generally did whatever he wanted against poor Argentina. Will probably be in contention for the next decade.
15 – Israel Folau (Australia) Another very difficult choice, with both Mike Brown and Willie le Roux standouts as well. Caught everything that went up in the air, beat defenders at will, and yet still hardly looked like he broke a sweat.