Rugby Championship Team Of The Week - Round Four

Rugby Championship Team Of The Week - Round Four

The Rugby Championship was flipped on its head in round four as New Zealand, and South Africa claimed revenge after defeats in round three.


The Springboks and All Blacks dominated their respective fixtures, with the latter claiming a mammoth 53-3 win over Los Pumas while the former secured an 8-24 bonus point victory.


South Africa did outscore the Wallabies four tries to one, with the hosts scoring in the match's final minutes when the Boks were down a man.


The win over Argentina catapults New Zealand to the top of the Championship standings, with Australia, South Africa, and Argentina in second, third and fourth, respectively.


We pick our team of the week following the action in round four, with no Argentine or Australians making the final cut. 


1. Steven Kitshoff - South Africa

A close call between Kitshoff and the ever-improving Ethan de Groot but the All Black prop misses out to the Springbok, who got a rare start in Green and Gold.


The 30-year-old Bok didn't dominate his opposing tighthead but produced a tidy shift in the scrums.  


He was busy on both sides of the ball and was a regular threat at the breakdown in a robust 72-minute outing. 


2. Samisoni Taukei'aho - New Zealand

Another close call between an All Black and Springbok as Malcolm Marx produced another strong game for South Africa. 


However, Taukei'aho's success in the set piece, dominant ball carries, and robust defence gives him the edge over Marx this week.


A notable mention for Julian Montoya, who consistently produces standout performances albeit in a losing cause. 


3. Tyrel Lomax - New Zealand

The All Blacks scrum was humming against Argentina for the second week in a row, and Lomax played a significant role in that.


He got the upper hand more often than not, earning him a place in our team ahead of Frans Malherbe. 


4. Eben Etzebeth - South Africa

Another busy performance from the abrasive South African who thundered into contact on either side of the ball. He was a threat to the Wallabies' lineout, produced a lovely offload to assist de Allende and was a menace throughout his 80 minutes. 


5. Sam Whitelock - New Zealand

One hundred thirty-eight caps into his test career, and Sam Whitelock shows no sign of slowing down with another trademark performance against Los Pumas.


His lineout work was of the highest order while he got through a ton of work around the park. 


6. Siya Kolisi - South Africa

Arguably the Springboks captain's finest game of the year. He claimed three turnovers against the Wallabies, powered forwards with just about every carry and made some telling hits on defence. 


7. Sam Cane - New Zealand

Another captain who stepped up this weekend and produced an outstanding performance. 


It was the kind of game that fans and pundits had been calling out for from their captain, and he certainly produced with some thumping hits on defence, strong ball carries and pesky work at the breakdown.


He twice popped up in the move that led to Jordie Barrett's try and was given a standing ovation when he left the pitch. 


8. Jasper Wiese - South Africa 

With pressure mounting on the Springboks, Jasper Wiese returned to the starting lineup in place of Duane Vermuelen - who earned a test cap from the bench for the first time in his career - and the Leicester Tigers' loose forward did not disappoint.


Wiese was a colossus with the ball in hand and hit just as hard in defence, doing just enough to beat the brilliant Ardie Savea to a place in our team.


9. Aaron Smith - New Zealand

It was clear from the get-go that New Zealand were out for blood and determined to atone for their defeat last weekend, and Aaron Smith set the tone for the match.


He called for the All Blacks to play smarter rugby from his side in the week leading to the match, and he did the talking on the pitch. New Zealand transferred the pressure onto Argentina with well-timed kicks, particularly from his boot.


His passing was swift and accurate, which helped his side unlock the Argentine defence which shut them down the weekend prior. He gave way for Finlay Christie soon after halftime, but by that stage, the job was done already. 


Notable mentions for Nic White and Jaden Hendrikse, who both had good games in Sydney. 


10. Damian Willemse - South Africa

A flyhalf crisis hit the Springboks ahead of the second test against Australia, with both Handre Pollard and Elton Jantjies ruled out through injury, with Damian Willemse taking on the responsibility. 


The versatile back shone in the role combining superbly with Willie Le Roux to unlock the Wallabies' defence. He tackled well in the position, too, and although he had an off day from the tee, he was good enough to see his side home.


Richie Mo'unga also had a good game for New Zealand, while Beauden Barrett had a positive impact off the bench; both came close.


11. Caleb Clarke - New Zealand

Clarke's power running caused chaos for the Pumas' defence; with the abrasive winger steamrolling Tomas Cubelli, he regularly over the advantage line. 


A standout game from the speedster who was strong in all departments and did enough to beat Makazole Mapimpi to a place in our team.


12. Damian de Allende - South Africa

Not much splitting Damian de Allende and David Havili this week, with both players enjoying fine performances in their respective wins.


De Allende's try gives him the edge, while his work at the breakdown and strong defence were also deciding factors.


13. Rieko Ioane - New Zealand

Ioane was back to his best for the All Blacks racking up 100 running metres, beating six defenders while scoring and assisting a try.


He also made the break from his own 22 that led to Jordie Barrett's score while he was sound defensively. 


14. Canan Moodie - South Africa

A dream debut for 19-year-old Canan Moodie.


He helped the Springboks end their losing streak over the Wallabies in Australia, scored a try and hardly put a foot wrong in a performance that a 50 test cap international winger would be proud of.


Becoming the second youngest Springbok debutant in the professional era didn't seem to play on his mind at all.


A star is born. 

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15. Willie Le Roux - South Africa

Back into the starting XV for the first time this year, and Willie Le Roux took his opportunity with both hands.


He played a significant role in three of the Springboks' four tries, and while he did have one moment when he wasted a good attacking position with a charged down kick, he was outstanding throughout. 

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