Team of the week: Ireland and Springboks dominate; All Blacks, Wales, France and USA get in

Players from Test winners Ireland and South Africa feature heavily in our XV this week with the All Blacks, Wales, France & USA represented too.

See who makes our cut and have your say when it comes to the most influential player of the weekend with our vote below…

15. Jordie Barrett (New Zealand)

In a largely sub-par All Blacks showing, Barrett was the standout as New Zealand saw off 14-man France 26-13 in Wellington on Saturday.

The full-back was strong in the air, made 81 metres from nine carries and beat two defenders as the French struggled to contain the rangy and talented back.

He notched two of the All Blacks’ four tries – finishing a length of the field counter attack for his first and gliding over from close range for his second.

5:23 Highlights from Wellington where 14-man France fought hard but ultimately lost out to New Zealand

14. Josh Adams (Wales)

Wales winger Adams caught they eye this week as Warren Gatland’s men registered a 2-0 series victory down in Argentina.

Adams, who looked set to miss out on this tour due to the Premiership’s stipulations on their players, was a constant threat to the Pumas – beating four defenders – and looked seriously dangerous going forward, earning 74 metres.

He notched a try in the 30-12 victory, and what a score it was.The 23-year-old cut back against the grain, weaved in and out, stepped off his left foot and then his right to finish a wonderful try. One for the archives, for sure.

13. Owen Watkin (Wales)

Though Garry Ringrose impressed on his return to the Ireland team, Wales’ Watkin earns a spot after his all-action display in Argentina.

The Ospreys centre made 13 tackles, 11 carries, forced one turnover and beat two defenders. At just 21-years-old, he looks an extremely promising option for Wales going forward.

12. Damian De Allende (South Africa)

Unfancied by many in South Africa, De Allende stood up for the Boks in Bloemfontein against England on Saturday and ran his heart out as they won 23-12.

He made a phenomenal 16 carries – five more than any other player from either side – and made the most metres too with 113, though this stat is slightly misleading when taking into account his early lengthy intercept.

De Allende also beat six defenders and chipped in eight tackles. There may be increasing calls for Andre Esterhuizen to start in the centre, but De Allende can hardly be criticised after last weekend.

5:42 Highlights from Bloemfontein where England slipped to another defeat despite leading 12-0 early on

11. Mike Brown (England)

If there was one man in the England side who deserves to make it into our team this week, it’s Mike Brown.

The Harlequins star has taken well to his positional switch onto the left wing and has been perhaps England’s brightest spark of a miserable tour to South Africa so far.

On Saturday, he scored the first try again as part of a lovely backline move, and was instrumental in Jonny May’s try soon after, producing a sensational offload-type-bat over the top to Elliot Daly after initially juggling the ball.

Brown made 11 carries – the most of any Englishman and second most of anyone – 77 metres with ball in hand, the third most of anyone, and one turnover.

10. Johnny Sexton (Ireland)

Ireland missed Sexton during their first Test defeat to Australia in Brisbane. On Saturday, their controller was back in Melbourne and demonstrated his class again in the 26-21 win.

Alongside Conor Murray, Sexton dictated proceedings as he so often does, making 43 passes, 10 carries and beating five defenders.

He also kicked six from seven off the tee, and though he will be disappointed with that one miss, in general he was rock solid. Ireland still aren’t the same side without the 32-year-old.

5:17 Highlights from Melbourne where Ireland resisted a late fightback from the Wallabies to level the series

9. Conor Murray (Ireland)

Scrum-half was possibly the toughest call to make this week between Murray and South Africa’s Faf de Klerk.

The Bok nine was influential again in victory but failed to reach the heights of his magnificent first Test display, while Murray stepped up from first Test defeat to return to somewhere near his best in Melbourne.

The Munster man created both of Ireland’s tries – one a superb long, looping pass to Andrew Conway timed perfectly, the other a slick, skilful backdoor flick to Tadhg Furlong.

He also made some 112 passes – a near ridiculous figure which highlights the control he and Ireland had over the game. His tactical kicking game and defensive solidity was superb too.

1. Tendai Mtawarira (South Africa)

A slightly sentimental selection perhaps in that Beast was earning his 100th cap for the Springboks, but the loosehead was superb around the park as well.

1:12 Beast Mtawarira enjoyed South Africa's series victory in his 100th Test appearance for the Springboks

He was part of a far superior pack in victory against England and his try assist for Duane Vermeulen brought all around Bloemfontein’s Toyota Stadium to their feet. What a servant.

2. Joe Taufete’e (USA)

The USA picked up a history-making victory against Scotland over the weekend – their first ever against a Tier 1 nation.

Pivotal to that dramatic 30-29 success in Texas was the performance of powerful Worcester Warriors hooker Taufete’e.

He also scored two fantastic tries – the first a smart swivel and turn from close range and the second a monumental charge past four Scotland players as the Eagles came back from 21-6 behind to win.

3. Tadhg Furlong (Ireland)

Is there a better tighthead prop in the world at present? The majority of people would now say no.

Furlong picked up the man of the match award following Saturday’s victory over the Wallabies, and was well worth it after another freakish display.

1:34 Tadhg Furlong, who scored the match-winning try in Melbourne, says Ireland's victory sets up a 'huge' series decider

The 25-year-old made 13 carries, nobody made more, for 43 metres. Just three players on the park made more ground with ball in hand – Rob Kearney, Keith Earls and Israel Folau. That trio are back-three players, Furlong is in the front-row. It’s remarkable.

He beat a staggering six defenders, was solid again at scrum time and scored the all important try which put Ireland on course for their first win in Australia since 1979. His finish and acceleration off a Murray flick was brilliant.

As a little extra, have a look at Furlong’s cleanout of David Pocock at a ruck in the 41st minute if you can. It is astonishing and effectively allowed Ireland to set-up camp in the Australia 22. Ireland full-back Kearney later called it “the greatest cleanout I’ve ever seen”.

4. Sam Whitelock (New Zealand)

The All Blacks lock was the best of the New Zealand forwards on display in Wellington as they secured their Test series with France a week early.

The lock made 12 tackles – the second most of any player on the park – and was vicious at the ruck, as he so often is. He was the dominant lineout forward, claiming five and stealing another one.

5. James Ryan (Ireland)

It’s becoming somewhat of a recurring theme, but there’s rarely a weekend that goes by where 21-year-old lock Ryan fails to impress these days.

He seems to be maturing and gaining in physicality day on day, and in second Test victory on Saturday, he was a force to be reckoned with again.

Ryan, as is customary, was one of the hardest-working players on the pitch, showing up for 12 carries, contributing 11 tackles and earning one vital lineout steal. What a talent, what a player.

6. Peter O’Mahony (Ireland)

During Ireland’s first Test defeat to Australia in Brisbane, Wallabies flanker David Pocock was the standout flanker on the pitch, dominating the breakdown. On Saturday, O’Mahony took up the mantle.

The Ireland blindside was outstanding in Melbourne, winning three crucial breakdown penalties, slowing down a whole load of Aussie ball, clinically clearing Wallabies out of rucks and acting as his usual nuisance at lineout time.

And all of that is even before we speak about his leadership qualities. In Rory Best’s absence, O’Mahony has been made skipper, and it looks a role he will gain full-time in the not-too-distant future based on these types of performances.

3:06 Joe Schmidt said Ireland's game management was the difference and paid credit to captain Peter O'Mahony

7. Kevin Gourdon (France)

We’re cheating here a little bit in that Gourdon played against New Zealand with a No 8 on his back last week, but he has featured at flanker more often for France and La Rochelle and we had to find a spot for him.

In the week in which he came out and called the All Blacks “cheats”, Gourdon had to back it up with something, and my word did he do just that.

France went down to 14 men after just 12 minutes when Benjamin Fall was sent off, but Gourdon played with the effort of at least two men as Les Blues gave New Zealand a bit of a fright.

Stats wise, he finished in the top five for carries, tackles and metres made, contributing 14, 78 metres and 10 respectively. He also made 15 passes – seven of which were offloads, and earned a try assist. He was everywhere.

8. Duane Vermeulen (South Africa)

Man of the match in victory over England, Vermeulen led from the front again and was ferociously physical once more.

He scored a fabulous try at a critical moment in the match, with his footwork and power working in tandem to get past Billy Vunipola, Ben Youngs, Maro Itoje and Elliot Daly en route to grounding the ball.

He was strong at the breakdown again and has settled straight back into being a leader in this Bok team. It’s easy to see why he was one of the first names on Rassie Erasmus’ recall list.

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