The All Blacks machine rolled on, aided by a once in a career performance by Beauden Barrett, and with the Springboks‘ surprise loss to the Pumas in Argentina it looks as if New Zealand already have the Rugby Championship sewn up. What’s more, the Bledisloe Cup is safely back in their trophy case for another year.
Here’s our team of the week from round two with All Blacks dominating, not surprisingly, and a good sprinkling of Pumas, a few Wallabies and just one Springbok.
15. Jordie Barrett (NZ)
The youngest Barrett took his chance with some damaging running and great linking play. In all, 14 passes, 13 runs for a game high 149 metres, two clean breaks,five defenders beaten and one offload.
14. Baptist Delguy (ARG)
Scored both of the Pumas opening tries to put them on the way to a famous victory. Some quality finishing with nine runs for 64 metres including three clean breaks and no less than 10 defenders beaten.
Los Pumas' backs are superb today. Moroni giving a masterclass in centre play 🔥👍 #ARGvRSA— Paul Cully (@paulcullystuff) August 25, 2018
13. Matias Moroni (ARG)
Silken hands and superb positioning sense saw him finish with three try assists and he put in his wingers for a shared hat-trick. Elusive with ball in hand as his stats show – five runs for 51 metres, two clean breaks and two defenders beaten.
12. Ngani Laumape (NZ)
Injuries to Sonny Bill Williams and Ryan Crotty gave him his chance and the Canes midfielder took it with both hands. A headache for the defence all day, making 16 runs for 81 metres, one clean break and five defenders beaten.
11. Ben Smith (NZ)
A complete performance from the fullback/winger. Superb under the highball, his brilliant take on 12 minutes set up Beauden Barrett’s opening try. A superb 14 passes, 14 runs for 93 metres, four clean breaks, three defenders beaten and a game high four offloads.
10. Beauden Barrett (NZ)
His 30 points were the most ever scored by one player against the Wallabies in a Test, while his four tries equaled the most scored by a player against Australia in a single outing. Enough said.
9. Will Genia (AUS)
One of the Wallabies best, he made 80 passes, 10 runs for 44 metres, two clean breaks, and four defenders beaten. He made one offload and also scored one of the Wallabies’ two tries with a snipe of the scrum-base close to the line.
8. Kieran Read (NZ)
The rock on which the All Blacks forward platform is built. A game high 21 tackles snuffing out any Australian resistance before it began, good linking play with four passes plus nine runs for 36 metres and one clean break.
7. Siya Kolisi (SA)
Strong performance in a beaten side by the Bok skipper. His opening try showed speed and strength and he continued to work hard with 10 tackles, 12 runs for 75 metres, three clean breaks and seven defenders beaten.
6. Lukhan Tui (AUS)
This is a tough call with none of the blindside flankers really standing out. Tui worked hard in both defence (11 tackles) and attack (11 runs for 39 metres, two clean breaks, five defenders beaten) and conceded no penalties.
5. Guido Petti Pagadizaval (ARG)
When the Boks started to come back in the second half the Pumas had to stand tall and none stood taller than Pagadizaval. He made 15 tackles, five runs for 17 metres and nine out of 10 lineouts won.
4. Brodie Retallick (NZ)
Superb again. Did the tough stuff in tight with 11 runs from 48 metres, and 11 tackles, and won five lineouts. But it was with the ball in hand where he really excelled with an offload, two tackle busts and even a try assist for Liam Squire’s try.
3. Joe Moody (NZ)
Working has way back to his best, Moody was solid at the set piece and strong in the loose, taking his try well at the start of the second half to kill off the match. Eight tackles and four out of four at scrum time.
2. Agustin Creevy (ARG)
A herculean effort in defence as the Pumas broke a 11-match losing streak. Made a game high 18 tackles and was steady at the lineout with nine wins from 10 throws. Held the pack together at scrum time with six wins from eight.
1. Scott Sio (AUS)
The Wallabies scrum was unrecognisable to the blancmange of last week and much of that was down to Sio. Australia won 10 out of 10 scrums, earned numerous penalties and their pressure on the ABs pack led to Genia’s try.
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