Rugby Championship 2014: Round 3 Team of the Week


15. Israel Dagg (New Zealand)
Needed a big performance in front of his Napier faithful, and delivered as best he could in disgusting weather. Solid at the back and looked dangerous with a couple of half breaks.

14. Rob Horne (Australia)
The match winning try still needed some scoring after the ball arrived in his hands following some good work from the men inside. Skipped round the final defender, although he could have made the conversion a bit easier!

13. Tevita Kuridrani (Australia)
Fully justified his selection with several barnstorming, line-busting breaks through the heart of the Springbok midfield. The best centre on show this weekend.

12. Matt Toomua (Australia)
A reasonably quiet weekend for inside centres, but the Aussie was as good as any of them. Gave a nice offload to send Folau in for a try in the opening few minutes.

11. Julien Savea (New Zealand)
Comfortably the best finisher in world rugby, as 26 tries in 25 appearances would suggest. Added two more this weekend and doesn’t seem at all overawed by the ‘next Jonah Lomu’ mantle.

10. Beauden Barrett (New Zealand)
In horrific conditions, he was masterful. Probed the corners well and made the right decision every time he got the ball. The only blot on his copybook was some poor goal-kicking.

9. Aaron Smith (New Zealand)
One part of a half-back duo that handled the conditions supremely well. Darted over for one of the easier tries of his career after good work from the pack.

1. James Slipper (Australia)
Australia aren’t famed for their scrummaging but Slipper is as good a set piece player as they have had for some time. He had Jannie du Plessis on toast on more than one occasion.

2. Dane Coles (New Zealand)
Dynamic stuff as always from the Hurricanes hooker, who also seems to have allayed (most of) his lineout demons. Constantly improving.

3. Owen Franks (New Zealand)
After their impressive performance in Salta the Argentine front row arrived in Napier full of confidence. Franks was on the money at scrum time, however, to ensure the visitors never really got a foothold in the game.

4. Victor Matfield (South Africa)
Incredible engine for a 37-year old. Played the full 80 minutes and was his side’s joint second highest tackler with 13. Also ran an efficient lineout that put pressure on the Wallabies.

5. Brodie Retallick (New Zealand)
Running out of superlatives for this man. He was everywhere once again, he side’s third top tackler with 10 – but crucially, none missed. Was a handy lineout option after Whitelock went off injured, too.

6. Liam Messam (New Zealand)
His support work – where he tracked Beauden Barrett from in front of his starting position – to score the crucial try in Napier was sublime. Averaged over 10m per carry.

7. Juan Manuel Leguizamon (Argentina)
Argentina’s top performer on the night, topping his side’s stats for metres made and carries. Showed tremendous spirit on a difficult night.

8. Duane Vermuelen (South Africa)
Desperately unlucky to give away a key penalty for what was obviously a legitimate tackle. Made the most carries of his team and was his usual brutish, physical self around the park.

By Jamie Hosie
Follow Jamie on Twitter: @jhosie43

Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images