Tuesday 25 April 2017

Autumn Internationals Team of the Week

Ireland's Jonathan Sexton is tackled by South Africa's Duane Vermeulen (right) during the Guinness Series match at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday
Ireland's Jonathan Sexton is tackled by South Africa's Duane Vermeulen (right) during the Guinness Series match at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday

Six Irish players make this week's Autumn Internationals Team of the Week after their stunning 29-15 win over the Springboks but who has made the team and who misses out.

15. Israel Folau (Australia)

Struck for two tries having gone four games without one. Has a ballet dancer's footwork and the speed of a Jamaican sprinter.

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14. Ben Smith (New Zealand)

Wonderful take to help set up the Cruden try and possesses such game understanding and intelligence.

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13. Tevita Kuridrani (Australia)

Obliterated the Welsh defence at times, he is like Basteraud with subtlety. Ireland's midfield beware.

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12. Robbie Henshaw (Ireland)

Brilliant tactical kick led to South Africa conceding the try to Rhys Ruddock. Was main part of brilliant midfield defensive performance.

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11. Tommy Seymour (Scotland)

Scored a brilliant late try to help the Vern Cotter era off to a winning start against Argentina.

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10. Jonny Sexton (Ireland)

Six from six with the boot and a majestic display from the Racing Metro flyhalf. His tactical awareness is immense.

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9. Conor Murray (Ireland)

Right up there with Aaron Smith as the best scrum-half on the planet right now. His kick for Tommy bowe's clinching try was sublime.

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8. Jamie Heaslip (Ireland)

A tireless display from the Leinster captain. Recovered from a very high blow from George Coetzee early on to produce a polished performance.

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7. Richie McCaw (New Zealand)

Topped the New Zealand tackle count and won several crucial turnovers. Still a terror to opposition attacks.

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6. Jerome Kaino (New Zealand)

He makes the team ahead of Peter O'Mahony and that should say everything you need to know about how Kaino played. A colossus.

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5. Paul O'Connell (Ireland)

Quite simply one of the greatest locks the world has ever seen. His footballing skills and warrior spirit were to the fore from minute one as he inspired Ireland to a tremendous win.

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4. Sam Whitelock (New Zealand)

Denied a terrific opportunistic try by Nigel Owens but despite that he was an incredibly influential figure.

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3. Samson Lee (Wales)

Showed why he is keeping the experienced Adam Jones out of Warren Gatland's plans. Destroyed Wallabies scrum.

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2. Richard Hibbard (Wales)

Flawless lineout display and dominace in the scrum were the two best facets of Wales' display and Hibbard contributed to both.

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1. Jack McGrath (Ireland)

Earned Ireland's first penalty at scrum time but struggled at the set-piece after that. Made 17 tackles in a brilliantly brave display in the loose.

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