Six All Blacks join the best of the Six Nations in our team of the week after a gripping weekend of international action.
New Zealand ran riot in Sydney to register their biggest win over Australia, running in six tries as they retained the Bledisloe Cup for the 18th successive year.
Meanwhile in the northern hemisphere, there were some standout performances in the final round of the Six Nations as England finished on top of the pile in both the men’s and women’s tournaments.
15. Beauden Barrett (New Zealand)
The full-back played the wet conditions perfectly with some excellent tactical kicking against the outclassed Wallabies and was a threat in the air under his own high balls.
Barrett dovetailed beautifully with Richie Mo’unga and his smart chip over the onrushing Aussie defence put the fly-half away for a second try.
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14. Caleb Clarke (New Zealand)
There were no standout right wingers this week so we’re switching Clarke across instead.
The 21-year-old was denied an early try by a brilliant last-ditch tackle by Marika Koroibete but remained a handful with ball in hand all evening.
Clarke’s direct opponent, Filipo Daugunu, could not contain the All Black and was sin-binned for tackling him in the air.
13. Emily Scarratt (England)
Scarrett took over the England captaincy in Sarah Hunter’s absence and led her side to a crushing win over Italy to clinch back-to-back Grand Slams.
The centre scored the third of England’s four first-half tries in Parma and kicked five conversions for a 15-point haul. She also broke three tackles to rack up 59 metres from six carries.
12. Jack Goodhue (New Zealand)
Goodhue puts his hand up for the ugly work so his fellow backs have the space to sparkle. Made some tough carries into traffic to put the All Blacks on the front foot and also put in a smart kick to turn the Wallabies defence.
11. Gael Fickou (France)
Fickou made superb use of what little ball came his way. He capitalised on a mismatch down the left wing by burning Andrew Porter and evading Conor Murray’s tackle to send Antoine Dupont over for the opening try.
Fickou repeated the trick in the second half, leaving Caelan Doris trailing before chipping ahead to help create Romain Ntamack’s try.
10. Richie Mo’unga (New Zealand)
Romain Ntamack was excellent for France but there can only be one player in the No 10 shirt.
Mo’unga tore the Wallabies to shreds in a devastating attacking display. He displayed lightning speed and footwork to score two tries and was close to bagging a third.
Throw in four line breaks, five defenders beaten, 121 metres gained and five from six kicks off the tee for a 23-point haul. Unstoppable.
9. Antoine Dupont (France)
Dupont scored one try and created another in yet another dazzling display.
The scrum-half opened the scoring when he supported Gael Fickou’s break but the standout moment was his involvement in Romain Ntamack’s try, where he beat the scrambling Irish defence to Fickou’s kick ahead and managed to stay in touch before throwing an audacious pass to his half-back partner.
Special mention to Ben Youngs, who marked his 100th England appearance in style with two tries against Italy.
1. Rory Sutherland (Scotland)
Have we a potential Lions bolter on our hands? Sutherland responded impressively to the concession of an early scrum penalty against Wales and steadied the Scottish set-piece. A solid shift in the tight by the loosehead prop.
2. Dane Coles (New Zealand)
Coles rolled back the years with an impressive try-scoring display in Sydney. The hooker set the tone in defence with a big hit on Nic White early doors and threatened with ball in hand.
He was solid at the lineout, finding a team-mate with seven of his eight darts before departing shortly after half-time.
3. Zander Fagerson (Scotland)
Not only is Fagerson an impressive scrummager, but he is also a threat around the park. He didn’t have it all his own way at scrum time but ensured Scotland were 100 per cent on their own put-in, while he hit double figures for tackles and made three defensive turnovers.
4. Maro Itoje (England)
A force of nature who was a thorn in Italy’s side, England’s players needed only to look in Itoje’s direction for inspiration during their faltering first half.
The Saracen was bursting with energy and aggression as England eventually wore down their hosts.
5. Sam Whitelock (New Zealand)
Whitelock was the cornerstone in a dominant New Zealand lineout, winning six throws and stealing another. He also made six tackles and some crucial turnovers in a tireless display.
6. Jamie Ritchie (Scotland)
Ritchie was man of the match as Scotland ended an 18-year wait for a win on Welsh soil, combining brilliantly with Edinburgh team-mate Hamish Watson to blunt Wales’ attack.
Ritchie and Watson made a team-leading 11 tackles apiece while the former also won three turnovers, one of which came at the death to secure a famous victory.
7. Charles Ollivon (France)
Ollivon delivered a captain’s performance, making 20 tackles and excelling at the lineout as France built momentum heading into the Autumn Nations Cup.
8. Gregory Alldritt (France)
Alldritt was rock-solid in defence as France blunted Ireland’s attack. The talismanic No 8 made 23 tackles, missing none, and helped slow Irish ball at the breakdown.
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