The All Blacks claimed their sixth Rugby Championship from seven attempts with a comfortable 35-17 victory over the Pumas in Buenos Aires, while in Port Elizabeth the Springboks withstood an at-times-spirited comeback from the Wallabies 23-12 to claim back-to-back victories after their historic triumph over New Zealand in Wellington last time out.
Here is our Team of the Round, which is not surprisingly dominated by the All Blacks (six selections) with five Springboks, three Wallabies and one Puma, full-back Emiliano Boffelli.
1. Karl Tuinukuafe (NZ)
Another impressive performance from the loose-head prop in his first season of Test rugby. Decimated the Pumas front row at scrum time and made 14 tackles without a single miss.
2. Codie Taylor (NZ)
Usually known for his play in the loose the Crusaders rake displayed an impressive array to his set-piece play with 12 tackles and just one miss. Seven accurate lineout throws and four runs for 21 metres.
3. Ofa Tu’ungafasi (NZ)
Rock solid at scrum time the Blues tight-head continues to push for a regular starting spot. A busy all-round game with two runs for 8m, as well as eight tackles with two missed.
4. Eben Etzebeth (SA)
A dominant performance from one of the top second rowers in world rugby. Seven runs for 24m, nine tackles with none missed and a tower of strength at the lineout with 10 clean takes.
Former Springbok lock Victor Matfield, Rassie Erasmus and Eben Etzebeth at the team training session at Loftus, Pretoria. pic.twitter.com/w9LgFjOyMx— South African Rugby (@Springboks) October 1, 2018
5. Adam Coleman (AUS)
One of the Rebels’ captain’s better Tests recently. Used sparingly at the lineout with just two takes but a big game in the loose – nine runs for 38m, one offload and two tackle busts. Also made seven tackles.
6. Siya Kolisi (SA)
Another standout performance from the Bok captain. Made a game high 74m from six runs, including two clean breaks. Also put in a huge shift in defence with 12 tackles and only one miss.
7. Michael Hooper (AUS)
The Wallabies captain was outstanding in a beaten team. Lethal with ball in hand making a game high 110m from 13 runs, with one offload and two tackle busts. Five lineout wins and nine tackles.
8. Ardie Savea (NZ)
A late inclusion for the ill Luke Whitelock, the Hurricanes No8 had one of his best matches in a black jersey. 13 tackles with just two misses and 88m from nine runs, with six tackle busts and four lineout wins.
9. Will Genia (AUS)
The Wallabies best again in a losing cause. Spotted the attacking opportunities superbly to set up both of his team’s tries – 84 passes, 10 runs for 55m, one clean break, two defenders beaten and two offloads.
10. Handre Pollard (SA) – PLAYER OF THE ROUND
A close call with Nicolas Sanchez, but was the difference between the two teams in Port Elizabeth. A great run to set up Faf de Klerk’s try, five from five with the boot, five runs for 44m and four tackle busts.
11. Rieko Ioane (NZ)
Currently the best finisher in world rugby. A round high 146 attacking metres from nine runs, including two first-half tries, one offload, five tackle busts, two line breaks and one line break assist.
12. Andre Esterhuizen (SA)
A big game in defence from the giant Sharks inside centre, with an equal second high 13 tackles and just two misses, also a handful for the defence with six runs for 28m and three tackle busts
13. Ryan Crotty (NZ)
Moved a spot further out to accommodate Sonny Bill Williams and put in a good all-round game, making 49 run metres from four runs with one line break and one line break assist, also five tackles.
14. Aphiwe Dyantyi (SA)
His sharp intercept in the opening 30 seconds set the tone for the rest of the game. Always dangerous with ball in hand making six runs for 41 metres with two line breaks. Also made seven tackles with just the one miss.
15. Emiliano Boffelli (ARG)
Tried hard in a losing side with very limited opportunities. Made 14 runs for 61 metres with one clean break, two defenders beaten and one offload. Took his try well which briefly put the Pumas back in the game.
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