Tuesday, September 29, 2015

RWC2015 - Team of Round 2

After another weekend of #RWC2015 drama

Mark Jackson selects his team of the round…

Click here for his team from week 1

MJ2

The second round of games again saw the so called minnows impress , a backlash from the Boks and a highly anticipated clash at Twickenham with the hosts against their neighbours from across the Severn. Below is my selection of the best performances from this round .

15. Willie le Roux (SA) - A whole world of improvement from the Boks is no coincidence with le Roux at full back , classy footballer who adds an extra dimension out wide for the recharged South Africans , excellent in first receiver role taking some pressure of Pollard.

14. Santiago Cordero (ARG) - Retains his place from week one , 2 tries , more magic footwork , not the biggest winger these days but defensively sound and not afraid to back himself either ,always a good trait in a top class winger

13. Mark Bennett (SCO) - Two impressive games from Bennett , scoring twice against Japan and making yards with ball in hand every time he gets on the ball. Another solid outing against the USA see him claim the outside centre berth

12. Sonny Bill Williams (NZ) - After a nice cameo vs Argentina in Rd 1 SBW continued against an admittedly weaker opponent in Namibia. Some delightful offloads allied with solid defence and consistently setting up NZ attacks with gainline success must see the AB 12 jersey be a close contest .

11.DTH Van Der Merwe (CAN) - Regular Pro 12 viewers know the qualities of DTH and it was great to see him transfer it to the world stage. Tries in both games so far and already the scorer of potential try of the tournament. Gets through a mountain of work on the wing and never afraid to come in field and aid his pack to go forward.

10. Dan Biggar (WAL) - At times seemed he was both keeping Wales in the game on Saturday evening whilst also being treated for a number of bumps n bruises. A fantastic 80 mins from the Osprey , world class goal kicking , rock in the tackle and his recovery of his own kicks is top notch as well as getting the backline moving when Warrenball dictates it.

9. Greg Laidlaw (SCO) - Kept Scotlands scoreboard ticking over during the early stages of a tough clash against Japan. A good captain throughout for Scotland kept the Japanese backrow honest just edges out Tomas Cabelli of Argentina .

8. David Pocock (AUS) - 2 tries , 5 turnovers , Michael Cheika had to find him a place in his back row and along with Michael Hooper and Scott Fardy Australia's breakdown work is the envy of many. After 2 years out of the game great to see Pocock back to somewhere near his best.

7.Tinus du Plessis (NAM) - Normally every time Namibia play its all about Jacques Burger and usually rightfully so. However on Thursday evening a new cult hero emerged on the other flank . Du Plessis could easily be mistaken for a roadie with Iron Maiden (insert another 80s metal group) but his performance against the ABs was nothing short of inspiring . A nuisance at the break down ,massive tackle count and a willingness to stick his head  where you wouldn't put your boot (ala his captain) see him win the 7 shirt.

6 Schalk Burger (SA) - Very close call ahead of TJ Ioane in the same game who was a one man wrecking crew at times. Burger looks more comfortable on the blindside than at 8. Lead from the front consistently making dents into Samoan line with ball in hand and in tackle , Try near the end was just rewards.

5. Tomas Lavanini (ARG) - Argentina are churning out some monsters again. 6ft 7 20st plus and a great skill set , this guy has scary potential . Scored the first try and could've had at least one more .

4. Eben Etzebeth (SA) - Couldve selected a plethora of locks. It is one position where there is no shortage of world class performers, Whitelock , Wyn Jones and Alemanno can feel hard done by for excellent outings but Etzebeth provided the go forward and lineout ball that the Boks converted into an impressive win .

3.Titi Lamositeli (USA) - Just turned 20 Lamositeli proved a thorn in the Scots side especially in first 60 mins , big powerful carrier , soft hands and will only improve as a scrummager as he gets ages. Saracens have found a diamond here.

2. Augustin Creevy (ARG) - Sean Fitzpatrick is firmly in the Dane Coles camp when it comes to the world's best hooker but I would pick this guy everyday of the week and twice on Sunday  Strong in set piece and mobile to make an impact around the field and a born leader too. Argentina are peaking again at the right time

1. Mihaita Lazar (ROM) - Two strong games from the Romanian loosehead . Always scrums well and every tighthead he faces knows he is in for a tough game. If he was playing for a Tier 1 nation would not look out of place. Big and powerful and uses his size well.

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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