RWC Semi Finals - Team of The Week

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Post by LondonTiger on Wed 30 Oct 2019, 12:19 pm

There are a variety of these around the web, so will try and post as many as possible, starting with Planet Rugby:

15 Leigh Halfpenny (Wales): The loss of Liam Williams to injury was set to be a significant setback to Wales’ game but credit to Halfpenny, who stepped in as a calm head at the back on Sunday. He was faultless under the high ball – there were certainly lots of those – whilst also defending impressively in terms of his positioning to edge New Zealand’s hard-working Beauden Barrett to our full-back position.

14 Anthony Watson (England): Another performance that showed what a dangerous runner Watson is with ball in hand. He looks in excellent form at the moment and England have clearly played on that by trying to get the ball into his hands as much as possible. He beat five defenders as he racked up a team-high 91 metres from his 13 carries. The Springboks will look to starve him of possession this weekend.

13 Manu Tuilagi (England): Continues to flourish in this hugely confident English line-up as he looks in the form of his life at the moment. Showed intelligence and calmness to spot the weakness on the fringe of New Zealand’s ruck to open the scoring early on in Yokohama before being a strong carrier thereafter. Tuilagi was also solid defensively with seven hits as he played a part in shackling the All Black backs.

12 Damian de Allende (South Africa): Tough call on England talisman Owen Farrell who practically had to be dragged from the action against New Zealand. He led superbly yet again but just misses out here as De Allende was a monster on Sunday. The powerful midfield back dominated the gain line as there was no way through for Wales. He topped that off with a crucial try in a hulking showing for the Boks.

11 Josh Adams (Wales): He’s had a brilliant Rugby World Cup and even in a match that was limited in terms of entertainment due to a multitude of kicks, he stood out. That says a lot about the Wales wing as even with precious ball Adams made it count, with his stock rising once again in the game. Granted his score was a simple finish but he patiently maintained his width to go out on his own in the try chart.

10 Handre Pollard (South Africa): George Ford was outstanding once again at 10 for England as he attacked and defended superbly while also stepping up to coolly take over the kicking duties against New Zealand. However, Pollard gave his most assured showing for the Boks in their semi-final as they ground their way to the final. He was faultless off the kicking tee and needs to be again against England.

9 Ben Youngs (England): An infuriating and dull game plan, yes, but effective? Definitely; Faf de Klerk did his job on Sunday. The Springbok scrum-half kicked everything he could from the base against Wales as they stuck to their instructions, which ultimately paid off. Thankfully though there was a showing more pleasing on the eye as Youngs bested Aaron Smith, with slick service a real feature of his game.

8 Duane Vermeulen (South Africa): Both teams struggled to make ground with ball in hand, but the Springbok number eight was the exception. Vermeulen ran for the most metres of any South African against Wales, with 45 to his name, and was typically physical throughout the contest. Elsewhere, opposite number Ross Moriarty was impressive while England’s Billy Vunipola produced his best performance of the tournament, but it was not enough to displace the gargantuan Springbok.

7 Sam Underhill (England): Led the Red Rose defence with a brutal display of tackling, which has become synonymous with his game. Hits hard and hits low, New Zealand consistently felt the full force of the flanker, who ended the game with a team-high 16 tackles. As a result, Underhill got the better of Ardie Savea, but it was another excellent display from the All Blacks fetcher, who was one of the few New Zealanders to stand out in the defeat.

6 Pieter-Steph du Toit (South Africa): This is an extremely tough call on England’s outstanding flanker Tom Curry, who once again shone for the Red Rose, but Du Toit was absolutely huge for the Springboks. He was a constant nuisance at the breakdown, regularly disrupting Welsh ball, and was superb in defence. The blindside was one of two players to get into double figures for tackles and made a staggering 19 hits overall, which was six more than the next best.

5 Lood de Jager (South Africa): We mentioned above that only two players made double figures in tackles; well, the Sale Sharks-bound lock was the other one after another all-action performance for the Springboks. Once again, De Jager and second-row partner Eben Etzebeth, with the exception of one errant lineout, dominated in the air while the 26-year-old was busy in the loose, meaning that he edges out England’s Courtney Lawes and Wales’ Alun Wyn Jones.

4 Maro Itoje (England): Arguably his best display in a white shirt as the Red Rose reached their fourth World Cup final by dominating the forward exchanges against New Zealand. The Saracens man caused havoc in the set-piece and the breakdown, winning three turnovers, while his carrying was also very good. It is an area which has been a work-on, but Itoje is starting to contribute far more with ball in hand. As a result, he comfortably takes the position from South Africa’s Eben Etzebeth.

3 Kyle Sinckler (England): A tough one here as the England tighthead only lasted 46 minutes before coming off due to injury, but he still did more than enough to claim the position ahead of South African duo Frans Malherbe and Vincent Koch. Sinckler was solid in the set-piece, not giving New Zealand’s excellent loosehead Joe Moody an inch, and was once again impressive with ball in hand, playing a huge part in their only try by off-loading to Ford.

2 Jamie George (England): Is now among the best hookers in the world following his performances in this tournament. There were worries about the lineout before the semi-final due to New Zealand’s four excellent operators, but his throwing was pinpoint, while George was typically industrious in the loose. The 29-year-old may look like your stereotypical front-rower from yesteryear, but he is remarkably mobile and has an excellent skill set, which allowed him to get in ahead of Wales’ Ken Owens.

1 Mako Vunipola (England): After his display in the quarter-final and now this effort in the last-four, it seems incredible that the loosehead had barely played since May. The prop was excellent for the Red Rose in both the set-piece and with ball in hand. He won a penalty against Nepo Laulala in the scrum and contributed significantly in the loose by carrying 16 times as he takes the position from South Africa’s replacement prop Steven Kitshoff.

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Post by LondonTiger on Wed 30 Oct 2019, 12:25 pm

SKY Sports:

15. Elliot Daly (England)
Was at his attacking best for England. Ignited their brilliant display with a searing break that led to Manu Tuilagi's opening try.

14. Anthony Watson (England)
Caused the All Blacks' defence all sorts of problems and ended with some great stats - he made the most ground with ball in hand for England, ending up with 91 metres and beat five defenders. Showed some lovely footwork and great power in the tackle too.

13. Manu Tuilagi (England)

Loves to attack off front-foot ball after set-pieces to get the team moving. Kept the All Blacks' defence on their toes and took his try very well indeed. Was also superb for England in defence.

12. Damian de Allende (South Africa)
The Bok battering ram did not stop against Wales and showed immense strength and power to score his try. Took control of the midfield for South Africa in attack and defence.

11. Josh Adams (Wales)
Not exactly a game for wingers to shine but Adams did what he could with ball in hand and his try means he tops the try-scoring charts at this World Cup with six, and levelled the all-time record held by Shane Williams.

10. George Ford (England)
Handre Pollard was the iceman for the Springboks but Ford's vision and game management was quite spectacular against the All Blacks.

9. Ben Youngs (England)
Kept the tempo up and provided his backs with some quality ball - was unlucky to have his try chalked off but one of his best performances for England in a long while.

1. Mako Vunipola (England)
He is certainly making up for lost time with yet another massive display. Was excellent in the set-piece and put All Black tighthead Nepo Laulala under immense pressure at the scrum. Carried well for England too - a total of 16 times.

2. Jamie George (England)
Okay, so he threw that lineout that resulted in the All Blacks try but apart from that he was immense. Once again showed great skills with ball in hand.

3. Vincent Koch (South Africa)
Kyle Sinckler unlucky to miss out but Koch made an immediate impact when he came on for the Springboks. Put massive pressure on at the scrum - especially in the closing stages when Wales were desperate for the ball. A superb defensive display as well.

4. Maro Itoje (England)
Took the fight to the All Blacks and stood unbowed. A quite dominant display against the likes of Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock. Also contributed at the breakdown with some massive turnovers and waded in with 15 tackles as well.

5. Courtney Lawes (England)
Stood shoulder to shoulder with Itoje in the forwards battle, carried strongly and put in some massive tackles as well. Called the lineout to perfection for England.

6. Tom Curry (England)
It was like his twin Ben was also on the field such was the workrate of the England flanker. Along with Sam Underhill, was a constant nuisance at the breakdown and could become one of the greats to wear the No 6 shirt. A quite extraordinary engine.
South Africa's Pieter-Steph du Toit was a one-man defensive wall against Wales but just misses out.

7. Sam Underhill (England)
A tackling masterclass from Underhill that rattled the All Blacks. Had a superb battle with Ardie Savea who stood out in defeat but it was Underhill's day.

8. Duane Vermeulen (South Africa)
Big Billy V just misses out against the Bok No 8. A big day for Vermeulen with ball in hand, who made the most metres for South Africa - steamrolling over a few Wales players in the process.

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Post by TightHEAD on Wed 30 Oct 2019, 12:33 pm

England. thumbsup
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Post by Guest on Wed 30 Oct 2019, 2:34 pm

Sky's is exactly what you'd expect: England plus whoever they recognise from the Premiership haha.

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Post by Cyril on Wed 30 Oct 2019, 2:48 pm

Planet Rugby say Ford was ‘outstanding’, but then pick Pollard for getting all his kicks. Quality.

To be honest it’s difficult to think of many from the SA/Wales game as it was so low quality and mistake-ridden. That passage of play when there were three charge-downs in a row was a particular highlight.

Distinct lack of NZ players selected. They didn’t play that badly, just outclassed.

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Post by LondonTiger on Wed 30 Oct 2019, 2:58 pm

The Scrum (Scottish based site)

15. Eliot Daly (England)
Handling anything the All Blacks threw at him aerially as well as putting his pace to good use in attack, Daly had his best game of the World Cup at just the right time for his side, his basics-first approach exactly what was required against the former world number ones. A special mention goes to Leigh Halfpenny, who filled the injured Liam Williams’ shoes without skipping a beat.

14. Anthony Watson (England)
Watson was back to his elusive best against New Zealand. Evading the tackle of five defenders as well as chasing down anything and everything that Ford and Farrell dropped on the toe, the Bath man put his opposite man George Bridge to shame.

13. Manu Tuilagi (England)
The bulldozer of a centre had one of his more nuanced performances for England at the weekend. While he no doubt caught the eye with the try that set England on their way, Tuilagi was most impressive in his defensive work as he almost single handedly cut off the All Blacks ability to find the touchline.

12. Damian de Allende (South Africa)
Perhaps the only player left in the competition who can match his centre partner for power, de Allende was excellent for a second week in a row. Beating three defenders, making eight tackles and crashing over for his side’s score, the Stormer was the stagnant Sunday semi-final’s attacking highlight.

11. Josh Adams (Wales)
The competition’s top try scorer bagged another for his side on Sunday, and he continued to show what a find he is for Wales, beating one defender and making three clean breaks against the eventual-finalists.

10. George Ford (England)
With captain Owen Farrell clearly carrying a knock, it was up to the Leicester Tiger to step up to the mark, and so he did, slotting four penalties and kicking well from hand to navigate the English ship through All Black waters. Handre Pollard was assured for South Africa once again, scoring 14 of his side’s total 19 points, but Ford gets the nod.

9. Ben Youngs (England)
He’s had his doubters but Ben Youngs came to the fore against New Zealand. His box-kicking was on the money, and he marshalled the English forward pack throughout the game, altering the game’s tempo as necessary. Though he had his effort chalked off, his performance was worthy of a try.

1. Mako Vunipola (England)
It’s astonishing that this was just Mako Vunipola’s second start for England at the World Cup. The loosehead put in another tireless performance, making seven tackles as well as offering himself a whopping 16 times in attack, running his brother close for his side’s most industrious carrying forward.

2. Jamie George (England)
One of England’s most consistent performers since making the starting jersey his own, George put in another quietly excellent performance at the weekend. Though guilty of an overthrow that cost his side a try, his lineout work was on the mark 16 out of 17 times, and he put himself about the park well. Wales’ Ken Owens also went well at the coalface of a brutal encounter against South Africa.

3. Kyle Sinckler (England)
The final third of what was an impressive front-row performance by England, Kyle Sinckler had less of a headline performance as against Australia but the tighthead scrummaged well and showed good hands to link with the English backline on several occasions.

4. Maro Itoje (England)
Not many locks can get the better of the combination of Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock but that’s exactly what the Englishman did on Saturday. At his energetic best, Maro Itoje produced 12 tackles, and three turnovers as he troubled the All Black pack all game.

5. Lood de Jager (South Africa)
Though he might have started the competition as second choice, de Jager is no doubt one of the first names of Rassie Erasmus’ team-sheet. Making all 13 of his tackles as well as powering his side forwards with ball in hand, the Sale Shark was at the forefront of South Africa’s strangle hold over Wales.

6. Pieter-Steph du Toit (South Africa)
There’s an argument to be made that no international forward works as hard as Pieter-Steph du Toit. The blindside got through a mountain of work against Wales, making a whopping 19 tackles and sniffing around the breakdown like any good back-row. He beat two defenders with ball in hand to boot.

7. Sam Underhill (England)
One half of England’s Kamikaze kids, Sam Underhill provided a textbook display of how to tackle offensively. Putting 16 All Black ball carriers on their backsides, the openside led the English defensive effort, never taking a backwards step, and he was unlucky to have yet another try against New Zealand scratched from his personal tally.

8. Duane Vermeulen (South Africa)
It’s taken him a while to get up to speed in Japan, but the veteran Springbok number eight was brutal against Wales. Carrying 8 times for a total of 45 metres, Vermeulen was a consistent source of go-forward for South Africa, as well as throwing himself into collisions in defence. He will be important if his side are to make sure that history repeats itself this coming weekend.

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Post by dummy_half on Wed 30 Oct 2019, 3:11 pm

I might have to watch the Wales SA game again* just for du Toit, if he was better than Curry...

These sorts of team are a bit difficult when you have players replaced, as will always happen for front rows and at least one of the 2nd rows.

* Certainly wouldn't be many other reasons for re-watching it.

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Post by Guest on Wed 30 Oct 2019, 3:12 pm

Josh Adams getting the old 'pick the try scorer' award...

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Post by Afro on Wed 30 Oct 2019, 3:14 pm

miaow wrote:Sky's is exactly what you'd expect: England plus whoever they recognise from the Premiership haha.

And where they haven't chosen the England player, the England player is mentioned in the comment underneath
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Post by LondonTiger on Wed 30 Oct 2019, 3:16 pm

miaow wrote:Josh Adams getting the old 'pick the try scorer' award...

Try and pick a left winger though? May was restricted to 3rd gear and only lasted 43 minutes, Bridge was garbage and Mapimpi unused.

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Post by Gooseberry on Wed 30 Oct 2019, 3:21 pm

Afro wrote:
miaow wrote:Sky's is exactly what you'd expect: England plus whoever they recognise from the Premiership haha.

And where they haven't chosen the England player, the England player is mentioned in the comment underneath

Its team of the week and England were by far the best team of the four that week. Hardly surprising its high on England players really. The Sky one is no more England heavy than the others.

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Post by Guest on Wed 30 Oct 2019, 4:07 pm

Sky 12/15 English
Rugby Planet 8/15 English
Scottish 11/15 English

I'm not actually arguing Sky were wrong. Just saying their selections are exactly what you'd expect. Vincent Koch being perhaps the most obvious 'just pick a Saracens player we/our subscribers know' 'on brand' selection they could have made

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