It was an action-packed 3rd round in the Rugby Championship, first up the Wallabies beat a rudderless Springbok side in Adelaide. In the 2nd game, Los Pumas put in a wonderful performance to undo the All Blacks in Christchurch. Bet Central assembled the best of this past weekend.
15: Damian Willemse (South Africa)
A bright light in a very dark tunnel, Damian Willemse was the pick of the South African backs during a day where hardly anything went right for the Springboks, he consistently took the ball to the line and troubled the Australian defence, but lacked the support to finish off his good work.
The 24-year-old, now firmly established as the Springboks’ 1st choice fullback, also distributed well and kicked well out of hand adding to a great all-round showing to shadow direct opponent on the day Reece Hodge.
14: Emiliano Boffelli (Argentina)
Growing into a player of influence in the Los Pumas outfit, Emiliano Boffelli had one of his best outings in the blue and white stripes of Argentina. He never looked like missing as he put in a flawless goal-kicking display on his way to a personal points tally of 20.
It wasn’t only his goal kicking that impressed, his contesting in the aerial battle was top class and defence was near-perfect. All around, it was a performance for the ages in a historic win.
13: Len Ikitau (Australia)
Bamboozled the Springboks’ defence with his hot stepping in the lead-up to the Marika Koroibete try and the South Africans were never able to find their structure after that. Not only was Len Ikitau a menace with his feet, he asked questions of the Bok defence with his variation on attack.
A monster on defence who reads the situation well and shows good anticipation to add to his aggression in the tackle. All of this was on show against the Springboks in Adelaide.
12: Matias Orlando (Argentina)
Took the fight to the All Blacks as one of the top tacklers in a great defensive effort by Los Pumas in Christchurch. Matias Orlando is one of the more experienced campaigners in the Argentinean team and it showed against the All Blacks, he was composed on the ball and brought the physicality in midfield.
Also chipped in with a crucial turnover in the Pumas’ 22 with the All Blacks pushing for a try late in the 2nd half. An assured outing from the Newcastle Falcons man
11: Marika Koroibete (Australia)
When it comes to consistency on the international stage, you would be hard pressed to find a better model for this than Marika Koroibete. It was more of the same from the 30-year-old winger who showed how fiery and fearless he can be when he threw himself into Makazole Mapimpi in a try saving tackle.
Later in the 2nd half he showed his pace and power as he scored the try that effectively ended the Test as a contest. He was powerful throughout the game – perhaps his best game against the Springboks.
10: Santiago Carreras (Argentina)
While Nicolas Sanchez will most likely go to the World Cup next year as Michael Cheika’s number 1 flyhalf, there will be no doubt as to who comes into that role post 2023 if Santiago Carreras’ game against the All Blacks was anything to go by.
Carreras’ game management was fantastic, he kicked well in play and won the territorial battle against Richie Mo’unga. He got a lot of purchases on his kicks for touch. He was brilliant.
9: Gonzalo Betranou (Argentina)
A tactical kicking masterclass from a player who did not get much opportunity to showcase his attacking prowess. But for what Argentina needed on the day, he delivered.
Along with Santiago Carreras, showed superb game management and like most Argentines, was brilliant on defence.
8: Pablo Matera (Argentina)
It’s not very often Ardie Savea is outdone by his opposite number, but this past Saturday was one of those rare occasions. Pablo Matera was outstanding at 8thman.
The Crusaders relished playing at Christchurch and was excellent in the ground he calls. It isn’t only his work on and off the ball that stands out, but his sheer single-mindedness in taking responsibility for just about everything for his national side. A huge asset for Michael Cheika.
7: Marcos Kremer (Argentina) – Player Of The Week
It says a lot that Emiliano Boffelli put in a game-defining performance for the Pumas but was not even the best Argentinean on the field – that honour belonged to one Marcos Kremer who was in imperious form.
He led the defensive effort for Argentina with an astounding 26 tackles, he stopped the All Blacks’ momentum on numerous occasions. Arguably his best game for Argentina.
6: Juan Martin Gonzalez Samso (Argentina)
It probably helps playing with world class operators like Pablo Matera and Marcos Kremer, but it is evident that young loose forward, Juan Martin Gonzalez is carving his own path. He is becoming a valuable member of an impressive loose trio.
Against the All Blacks, he was outstanding, the London Irish man carried with vigour and defended manfully. Scored a superb try in which he showed his athleticism and strength. A great performance.
5: Thomas Lavanini (Argentina)
When he is not being troublesome on the field, Thomas Lavanini is quite simply one of the best locks in the world. He was an abrasive presence from start to finish. His controlled aggression throughout troubled the All Blacks.
As the lineout general needs to take his share of the blame for the lineout woes, equally must be lauded for the improvement in the 2nd half. Good to see him finding his best form.
4: Matias Alemanno (Argentina)
Could easily have been Sam Whitelock for all his nous at the lineout and breakdown work, but Matias Alemanno was also a standout in the Argentine pack.
He got through the donkey work and away from the flashy parts showed a grit that typified the Pumas performance. A vital cog in a well-oiled machine.
3: Tyrel Lowmax (New Zealand)
The All Blacks are without their 2 frontline tighthead prop due to injury, so Tyrel Lomax is further down the pecking order. His recent performances have been excellent – a standout in a struggling All Blacks side.
He was impressive at the set-piece against Argentina, but showed he can contribute as a ball carrier and his workrate off the ball was excellent.
2: Julian Montoya (Argentina)
Ordinarily, his struggles at the lineout in the early stages of the game would cast his selection for a team of the week in doubt, but Julian Montoya’s set-piece got better as the game wore on.
But it was his defensive work and breakdown prowess that stood out, the Pumas captain. He played like a 4th loose forward and his mongrel on the carry helped Argentina going forward. A superb captain’s innings.
1: James Slipper (Australia)
Another captain who led with aplomb, the added leadership duties seem to have given the veteran a new lease on life. James Slipper had the unenviable task of trying to contain scrum supremo Frans Malherbe and for the most part, he did so showing his vast experience.
He was a willing ball carrier in the tight loose and contributed defensively. The cherry on top was a superb inside pass that put Noah Lolesio away in the lead up a sensational try for standout flanker Fraser McReight.
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