Tuesday, October 06, 2015

RWC2015 - Team of Round 3

After another weekend of #RWC2015 drama

Mark Jackson selects his team of the round…

Click here for his team from week 1

Click here for his team from week 2


With the strength of certain squads coming to the fore in round 3 , the traditional powerhouses are winning their games but certainly a lot closer than anyone expected . The gap is certainly closing and this World Cup is all the better for it . Round 3's Team sees more changes with but a few names consistently in the frame for re selection.

15. Israel Folau (AUS) - The first of a number of Aussies to make this weeks side. Always a menace ball in hand and his defensive play has come on leaps and bounds.

14. Santiago Cordero (ARG) - Three weeks in a row for the fleet footed Puma. Slight compared to other but always makes yards, electric footwork and knows the try line is.

13. Wesley Fofana (FRA) - Wears no.12 I know for France but getting back to somewhere near his best. A dangerous brokenfield runner , could've and should've had a hat trick , Davit Kacharava of Georgia just misses out.

12. Damian de Allende (SA)  - Heyneke Meyer should've picked de Allende over Jean De Villiers anyway at the start of this tournament and by default has been forced to pick his best 12 . Strong runner with a very underrated passing game his growing combination with Pollard and Kriel is one to watch.

11. DTH Van der Merwe (CAN) -Both winger retain their spots in the team . A try in each game , solid at tackle time, a real handful . Huge workrate on and off the ball ,imagine he is a pleasure to coach.

10 .Bernard Foley ( AUS) - Totally repaid the faith showed by Cheika. Kicked his goals , unleashed his colleagues outside him and scored two tries....Quade who ??

9. Fumiaki Tanaka (JAP) - Some good performances over the round by different scrum- halves, Gori , Du Preez to name a couple but Tanaka has produced a consistently high level of play for Japan . Sharp around the base with an excellent pass his energy levels are that of a popular redtop battery and never seems to slow down. Vital to the quick ruck game of Eddie Jones' charges.

8. Lasha Lomidze (GEO) - Gorgodze got MOTM but his compatriot at no.8 was even more impressive for me. Another bull of a man , makes hard yards and was a complete nuisance in defence and the breakdown , slowing down All Black attacks at will.

7. David Pocock (AUS) - Might've worn the 8 jersey but gave a masterclass of how to play 7 or maybe 7.5 . Alongside Hooper and the underrated Scott Fardy embarrassed England at breakdown. His timing and decision making as to when to enter the breakdown are second to none , hopefully he stays injury free for a long long time.

6. Michael Leitch (JAP) - A close call with Schalk Burger again impressing and Gorgodze knocking spots off the ABs but Leitch's place is secured with another excellent game . Whether in attack or defence always aggressive with excellent technique to fell larger opponents .

5. Lood De Jager (SA) - Like de Allende , de Jager is starting through injury but the future is now and he should stay in situ ahead of Matfield , offers so much around the park for a big big man with soft hands to ally his abrasiveness in the tight , his partnership with Etzebeth could be the stuff of legends

4.Kane Douglas (AUS) -  Like many Leinster fans out there we are probably wondering , where the hell did that(performance) come from ? A proper 2nd row outing from Kane , scrummaged very well , won his lineout , was outstanding in  clearing rucks and strong in the tackle.

3. Sekope Kepu (AUS) - Would've made the side just for that offload , but got on top of Marler early and has added a harder edge to his game to go with his mobility. Profiting from Cheika and Ledesma's coaching.

2. Sunia Kotu (FIJI) - Was astounded when he was taken off near the end of the Wales game when he still looked good to go . Part of a superior scrum and his throwing was spot on longside aggressive defence.

1. Campese Ma'afu (FIJI) - Alongside Kotu caused numerous problems for Wales and throughout the group stages has impressed with excellent work in the tight as well as the odd rumble ball in hand .

Probably the hardest week so far to pick a XV . No Irish players make the side with a poor team outing vs Italy , Iain Henderson aside .... no English either but then that's not a surprise. Here is hoping Round 4 has a few surprises left in store

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