Southern hemisphere finalists and Top 14 superstars dominate our Team of the Week

Domestic champions of New Zealand and South Africa dominate our team of the week along with superstars of the Top 14…

15. Will Jordan (Tasman)

Will Jordan was on the losing side as Canterbury claimed New Zealand’s Mitre 10 Premiership title with a 35-13 win over Tasman, but it was a star performance from the Makos full-back all the same.

The No 15 carried the ball 20 times for 158 metres, beating six defenders and making three clean breaks. Tasman made a total of 563 metres with the ball in the final, which means Jordan made up more than a quarter of the team total on his own.

In an almost identical performance, Alex Goode carried the ball 21 times for 136 metres against London Irish at Allianz Park on Saturday.

14. Julian Savea (Wellington)

On Friday morning Wellington took the spoils in the Mitre 10 Championship with a 59-45 win over Bay of Plenty in extra time, thereby gaining promotion into New Zealand’s top competition – and Julian Savea played a big part in the victory.

The man they call ‘The Bus’ made 148 metres from his 15 carries, beating an incredible 10 defenders and making four clean breaks as well as providing the final try in the Lions’ win.

Barbarians vs New Zealand

November 4, 2017, 2:55pm

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The winger will line up for the Barbarians against the All Blacks at Twickenham this weekend, which promises to deliver plenty of fireworks no matter who he comes up against in the Kiwi backline.

13. Semi Radradra (Toulon)

Semi Radradra was a try-scoring superstar in Australia’s NRL before making the switch to rugby union, but on Saturday he showed he can play provider too.

The midfielder put Chris Ashton over for one of his two tries in a performance that saw the centre eat up 142 metres and beat seven defenders during his 11 carries.

Agen vs Toulon

November 4, 2017, 7:40pm

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The 25-year-old did cross for a try of his own, one of five for the three-time European champions as they saw off Brive 41-24 in the Top 14.

12. Huw Jones (Western Province)

Glasgow Warriors will have watched the weekend’s Currie Cup final with great interest. Scotland international Huw Jones was playing his last game for Wetern Province before heading to Scotstoun, and the centre gave his new club plenty to look forward to.

Highlights of the Currie Cup final between Western Province and the Sharks

Jones crossed for two tries as Western Province overturned an 11-point deficit to run out 33-21 winners over the Sharks in Durban, and also calmly provided the final pass to Dillyn Leyds for a score in the dying seconds of the first half which allowed the visitors to claw their way back into a game that was slowly getting away from them.

Thomas Farrell (Connacht) and Brad Barritt (Saracens) are both unfortunate to lose out on a place in the team after impressing over the weekend.

11. James Lowe (Tasman)

Highlights of Canterbury's comfortable win in the Mitre 10 Premiership final

Another player involved in his final game before heading to the Guinness PRO14, and another player unfortunate to be on the losing side after a stellar individual performance.

Leinster-bound James Lowe carried 23 times for 107 metres against Canterbury, beating four defenders and offloading six times in the tackle.

A nod to Chris Ashton, who scored two tries for Toulon in the south of France, one of which he celebrated with his trademark ‘Ash Splash’.

Chris Ashton treated Toulon fans to this fantastic try with his signature Ash Splash

10. Richie Mo’unga (Canterbury)

Richie Mo’unga is another New Zealander who could be lining up against the All Blacks this weekend, and the fly-half got the party started a week early in Christchurch.

The No 10 scored 25 points over the weekend, a record for an NPC final, which included a superb solo try launched from his own half. Surely it won’t be long before we see Mo’unga running out in the black jersey.

Richie Mo'unga scored this incredible solo try on his way to helping Canterbury claim the Mitre 10 Premiership title in Christchurch

Owen Farrell, who scored 19 points in Saracens’ 44-13 win over London Irish, just misses out on the No 10 jersey in our team.

9. Luke McGrath (Leinster)

Leinster travelled to Kingspan Stadium to take on Ulster on Saturday night with both sides having lost just one match in the PRO14 this season.

With skipper Rory Best making his 200th appearance for the home side there was plenty of support for the Ulstermen, but Leinster managed to come away with an important 25-10 win away from home.

Highlights of the PRO14 clash between Ulster and Leinster

Replacement scrum-half Luke McGrath scored twice to help his side to victory, his second putting the game to bed for the visitors.

Louis Schreuder deserves a mention for his part in a losing cause for the Sharks, while Danny Care scored a try in Harlequins’ win over the Warriors on Saturday and Willi Heinz scored twice for Gloucester in their win over Bath.

1. Mako Vunipola (Saracens)

Yet another barnstorming showing from the British and Irish Lion. The prop forward carried the ball 10 times for 63 metres, the latter putting him in Saracens’ top five for territory made on the day.

Vunipola also crossed for a try in a performance that will have pleased Eddie Jones, with Joe Marler ruled out of England’s first Test of the autumn through suspension.

2. Ryan Elias (Scarlets)

There were some good runs-outs for Dylan Hartley and Jamie George – who was 15 from 15 in the lineout department over the weekend – but our No 2 jersey goes to Ryan Elias this week.

Edinburgh vs Ospreys

November 4, 2017, 5:15pm

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The hooker scored a first-half try as Scarlets went top of Conference B in the PRO14 with a 30-17 win over Cardiff Blues at Parc y Scarlets, putting in 10 tackles to cap off a good all-round performance.

3. Wilco Louw (Western Province)

During the build-up to the Currie Cup final there was plenty of talk surrounding the front row battle between two of South Africa’s up-and-coming props, with Sharks loosehead Thomas du Toit putting his 131kg frame up against that of 126kg Western Province tighthead Wilco Louw.

Ireland vs South Africa

November 11, 2017, 5:15pm

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The latter won the battle emphatically, the visitors’ complete dominance in the scrum setting the tone for a title win in Durban – have South Africa found their new No 3 in 23-year-old Louw?

4. Leone Nakarawa (Racing 92)

Racing 92 are struggling in the middle of the Top 14 table, but their cause was helped immensely by a 29-13 win over Bordeaux-Begles over the weekend, and it was helped along by another free-flowing day at the office for Fijian flyer Leone Nakarawa.

The second rower took the most lineout balls of all the Racing forwards, carried the ball 18 times – the highest in his team – and made 73 metres with those carries. Only winger Teddy Thomas (105m) and full-back Brice Dulin (82m) made more territory with the ball than Nakarawa, showing how important he is to the French side’s attack.

5. Ed Slater (Gloucester)

Ed Slater was influential throughout Gloucester’s tense west country derby against Bath at the Rec, but the cherry on the top was the try at the death which sealed an important victory for Johan Ackermann’s men.

Slater led from the front in tough conditions, with the loud home support and a 76th-minute Semesa Rokoduguni try ramping up the pressure in Bath before Slater set up an Owen Williams conversion for the victory.

On our imaginary bench is Will Spencer. The lock made 15 carries with the ball in Worcester’s 41-35 loss to Harlequins on Saturday – tied at the top for the Warriors along with Alafoti Fa’osiliva – and made 18 tackles which was the most by any player from either side on the day.

6. Tom Sanders (Canterbury)

New Zealand’s production line of blindside flankers has churned out another gem in 23-year-old Tom Sanders. The loose forward carried the ball 12 times and made 19 tackles as Canterbury defended their domestic title in front of their home fans.

England vs Argentina

November 11, 2017, 2:00pm

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With Vaea Fifita and Liam Squire impressing this year in the All Blacks’ No 6 jersey, it’s unlikely Sanders will get the call from Steve Hansen anytime soon, but he is an indication that New Zealand’s overall depth is as strong as ever.

7. Thomas Young (Wasps)

Wasps were desperate for a victory over Northampton on Saturday to get their season back on track, and they were successful at Franklin’s Gardens with a 38-22 win.

It was a four-try success for Dai Young’s men, but it was in defence that his son Thomas excelled, putting in 25 hits on opposition runners, nine more than Joe Launchbury who was Wasps’ next best on the day.

8. Brad Shields (Wellington)

There were several players who could have taken this spot, with Leinster’s Sean O’Brien proving effective on his return and Luke Whitelock inspiring Canterbury in the loose, but it’s the Wellington No 8 who gets the nod.

Shields carried the ball 25 times and scored a try to help his side to a Championship win, and contributed with nine tackles in defence which was the second-most by a Wellington player at Westpac Stadium. Like Sanders, the uncapped Shields is proof of the wealth of talent available to Hansen.