Tuesday, September 22, 2015

RWC2015 - Team of Round 1

After a weekend of much drama to kick off #RWC2015,

Mark Jackson selects his team of the round…


What a way to kick off the RWC and I don't mean the opening ceremony , big hits , great tries and the biggest upset in the sports history ( so far) . Some teams played well above themselves ,some below themselves and some were par for the course. Below is my selection for the team of the round , as always feel free to disagree and put your own spin on proceedings but here is my XV.

Team of Round 1

15. Ayumu Goromaru (Jap) - The rock at the back for the Japanese, will hear lots about the 'Brave Blossoms' but they simply were the better team all around , great defence , nerveless goalkicking .

14. Santiago Cordero (Arg) -  Lightning quick feet , always made good yards in attack and kept Julian Savea quiet , no mean feat in itself .

13. Male Sa'u (Jap) - Another defensive rock in the middle for Japan , with opposition of Kriel and deVilliers you would've expected a few tries through the centre but Sa'u along with Tatekawa were immense shoring up the Boks attacks.

12. Juan Martin Hernandez (Arg) - A class act who finally looks back to his best , huge boot kept the Pumas going forward and some of his offloads were sublime

11. Nemani Nadolo (Fiji) -  Nadolo completes the outside backs selection. He gave England a lot of problems throughout the opening encounter at one stage threatening to take the entire pack on his back with one run up the middle.

10. Jonny Sexton(Ire) - Not a vintage performance by his high standards but more like it compared to the warm ups. Fly halves didn't set the world alight this opening weekend , Sextons all round game still has him pick of  the bunch.

9. Aaron Smith (NZ) - When it wasn't looking great for the reigning champs Smith kept probing and driving his side on and his sniping try see him win the 9 berth .

8. Mamuka Gorgodze (Geo) - Not as explosive as he once was but the monster from the Caucaus is his country's driving force and in another upset victory over Tonga he had a big influence on the game.

7. Justin Tipuric (Wal) - He could have scored a hat trick against weak opposition but he does the simple things very well , great at turning defence into attack and knitting play together.

6. Michael Leitch (Jap) - Could not have done anything more to ensure the upset versus the Boks. An immense performance in both the tackle and breakdown , took a lot of punishing hits and fingers crossed next game doesn't come too soon.

5. Guido Petti (Arg) - Strong, abrasive, in your face, a typical Argentinian lock , scored a try which was reward for a strong performance

4. Iain Henderson (Ire) - Just gets better and better , a dynamic modern lock forward which we have not had in Ireland possibly ever . No debate on who should partner POC for me. Key ball carrier for Ireland going forward .

3. Rabah Slimani (Fra) -  Not often you see a prop scampering over following a collect from a grubber but this guy does his nuts n bolts first. Strong scrummager and his work there eeked out a few kickable penalties for Michelak which kept France ahead all game

2. Agustin Creevy (Arg) - A valiant effort from the Argentinian skipper , excellent at set piece and nuisance at the breakdown just edges out Shota Horie's effort for Japan  where it was nice to see old school channel 1 ball hooked to the number 8 in a flash ( crooked feeds aside I know)

1. MIkheil Nariashvili (Geo) - A huge scrummaging effort from the Georgian laid the foundation for their win ,along with Zirakashvili they won't take too many backward steps come scrum time

Mark Jackson (@markusjacksonus) An Irishman in London....lover of rugby , NFL and family n friends not always in that order..consumer of meat , best friend to Wayne Barnes . All views my own and always open for a lively debate . Ireland , Leinster and the New York Giants fanatic.


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Taken by JLP from RDS press box on Nov 16, 2019