Autumn Nations Team of the Week

Autumn Nations Team of the Week

The final weekend of test rugby in 2021 has come and gone.


 
A thrilling weekend of action kicked off with an entertaining clash at Murrayfield, with Scotland beating Japan 29-20. At the same time, Italy battled to a 17-10 victory over Uruguay.
 
 
 
Georgia and Fiji played out a 15 all draw while England edged the Springboks 27-26 in a stunning clash at Twickenham.
 
 
 
Wales also claimed a single point victory thanks to the boot of Rhys Priestland as they beat Australia 29-28 while France beat the All Blacks for the first time in 12 years, claiming a 40-25 victory in Paris.
 
 
 
Finally, Ireland made it three from three in November with a comprehensive 53-7 win over Argentina. 
 
 
 
Here is our team of the week.
 
 
 
 
 
1. Steven Kitshoff  - South Africa
 
South Africa's Steven Kitshoff (L) taps hands with South Africa's prop Trevor Nyakane (2L) as he is substituted on with South Africa's Vincent Koch (R) during the Autumn International friendly rugby union match between England and South Africa at Twickenham Stadium, south-west London, on November 20, 2021. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
A member of the famous Springbok bomb squad, Steven Kitshoff, shone off the bench for the Springboks as they gained the upper hand against England upfront in the second half. He scrummaged wonderfully at Twickenham while carrying and tackling with immense physicality. France's Cyril Baille was also outstanding in Paris, while Cian Healy shone off the bench for Ireland. 
 
 
 
 
 
2. Peato Mauvaka - France 
PARIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 20: Peato Mauvaka of France celebrates victory at the end of the Autumn Nations Series match between France and New Zealand at the Stade de France on November 20, 2021 in Paris, France. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
 
Malcolm Marx and Ronan Kelleher made big claims for a place in the side with their efforts against England and Argentina, respectively, but it wasn't easy to look past the man of the match against New Zealand. Mauvaka grabbed two tries against the All Blacks, taking his tally to five in his last three games. He was physical and abrasive with the ball in hand and was equally effective with ball in hand. His set-pieces were sharp too. 
 
 
 
 
 
3. Tadhg Furlong - Ireland 
 
Dublin , Ireland - 21 November 2021; Tadhg Furlong of Ireland is tackled by Pablo Matera of Argentina during the Autumn Nations Series match between Ireland and Argentina at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. (Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)
In Ireland's impressive victory over Argentina, Furlong was excellent in all facets of the game, making abrasive and energetic caries into the Pumas defence. 
 
 
Australia's Taniela Tupou also had a fine outing this weekend, as did France's Uini Atonio. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
4. Eben Etzebeth - South Africa
South Africa's Eben Etzebeth after the Autumn International match at Twickenham Stadium, London. Picture date: Saturday November 20, 2021. (Photo by Adam Davy/PA Images via Getty Images)
 
Etzebeth was incredible in defeat against England on Saturday. He contested the high balls well for the Springboks while carried with tremendous vigour and tackled with the same intent. He did his utmost to get the Springboks a victory at Twickenham, and it's still mind-blowing that he was not in the running for the World Player of the Year Award.
 
 
England's Maro Itoje was also in the running after a pleasing shift in the same game as Etzebeth, while Tadhg Beirne was busy against Argentina.
 
 
 
 
 
5. Cameron Woki - France
 
Romain NTAMACK of France, Cameron WOKI of France and Gregory ALLDRITT of France during the Autumn Nations Series match between France and New Zealand on November 20, 2021 in Paris, France. (Photo by Hugo Pfeiffer/Icon Sport via Getty Images)
The back-rower-come second-rower for France was incredible against the All Blacks in Paris. He successfully filled the void that Charles Ollivon had left at lineout time while he was defensively strongly.
 
 
He made incredible metres with just about every carry he had and produced a genuinely brilliant all-action performance.
 
 
 
With Australia down a man for most of the test against Wales, Izack Rodda stepped up for the Wallabies. His work rate was off the charts as he made up for the man Australia were missing, while his added work rate did not impact his physicality in the slightest.
 
 
Uruguay's Manuel Leindekar deserves mention for a strong game against Italy, as does Ryan Baird, who starred off the bench for Ireland. 
 
 
 
 
 
6. Courtney Lawes - England
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 20: Courtney Lawes of England reacts during the Autumn Nations Series match between England and South Africa at Twickenham Stadium on November 20, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
 
On Saturday, the stand-in England captain took the fight to the Springbok pack with a cliche performance of 'leading from the front'. 
 
 
His carries were outstanding, as too were his tackles as he drove Green and Gold jerseys backwards. 
 
 
France's Francois Cros and Dylan Cretin were excellent in their cameos against New Zealand, while Peter O'Mahony produced a standout shift against Argentina. 
 
 
 
 
 
7. Taine Basham - Wales
 
CARDIFF, WALES - NOVEMBER 20: Wales flanker Taine Basham on the charge during the Autumn Nations Series match between Wales and Australia at Principality Stadium on November 20, 2021 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
It was a close call between France's Anthony Jelonch and Wales' Taine Basham, with the latter just edging the former. 
 
 
Basham continued his excellent form for Wales as he topped the tackle count at the Principality (16). He was a real threat over the ball and made good metres with the ball in hand. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
8. Gregory Alldritt - France 
 
Gael FICKOU of France and Gregory ALLDRITT of France during the Autumn Nations Series match between France and New Zealand on November 20, 2021 in Paris, France. (Photo by Hugo Pfeiffer/Icon Sport via Getty Images)
 
Caelan Doris added to his mammoth performance against New Zealand last week with another standout outing against Argentina, but even that was not enough to knock Alldritt out of our team of the week.
 
 
The French were brilliant in every single facet of the game as he shunted the All Blacks backwards on defence and attack. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
9. Antoine Dupont - France
 
Antoine DUPONT of France and Cameron WOKI of France during the Autumn Nations Series match between France and New Zealand on November 20, 2021 in Paris, France. (Photo by Philippe Lecoeur/FEP/Icon Sport via Getty Images)
 

Dupont was at his best against the All Blacks on Saturday. Captaining his side to their first victory over the All Blacks in 14 attempts. He zipped around the pitch, marshalling his troops well and combined his wonderful passing and kicking game with some great hits and reads on defence. 



 
 
 
10. Romain Ntamack - France
 
Romain NTAMACK of Francecelebrates with teammates during the Autumn Nations Series match between France and New Zealand on November 20, 2021 in Paris, France. (Photo by Philippe Lecoeur/FEP/Icon Sport via Getty Images)
Joey Carbery made a late claim for a place in the side in the weekend's final game. At the same time, Paolo Garbisi steered an otherwise average Italian performance to a win over Uruguay. Still, the utter brilliance of Romain Ntamack sees him take the #10 jersey. 
 
 
He rounded Richie Mo'unga superbly to score a try in the famous night in Paris, while his calmness and sheer bravery to run from deep inside his tryline will be remembered for years to come. He runs France's attack wonderfully, adding some great kicks into a near-complete performance. 
 
 
 
 
 
11. Filipo Daugunu - Australia
 
Australia's wing Filipo Daugunu scores a try during the Autumn International friendly rugby union match between Wales and Australia at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, south Wales, on November 20, 2021. (Photo by Geoff Caddick / AFP) (Photo by GEOFF CADDICK/AFP via Getty Images)
 
Joe Marchant was excellent for England and well in the running for a place in our team but played most of the game against the Boks in the centres. 
 
 
Meanwhile, France's Gabin Villiere was excellent too. However, a place on the left wing in our team of the week goes to Australia's Filipo Daugunu.
 
 
The speedster defended well while Australia played most of the game a man down while he expertly finished his try in the corner. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
12. Damian de Allende - South Africa
 
South Africa's centre Damian de Allende (3R) passes to South Africa's flanker Siya Kolisi (L) during the Autumn International friendly rugby union match between England and South Africa at Twickenham Stadium, south-west London, on November 20, 2021. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Another Springbok who had an outstanding game against England. De Allende was at the heart of everything the South African's did well at Twickenham and produced opportunities for his outside backs that they couldn't properly capitalise on.
 
 
 
His defence was excellent, and he was a significant threat over the ball. He edged Henry Slade to a place in the side after the Englishman shifted into the inside centre channel after the injury to Manu Tuilagi. 
 
 
 
 
Elsewhere, Jonathan Danty was another Frenchman who had an outstanding game Nicolas Freitas was excellent for Uruguay. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
13. Chris Harris - Scotland
 
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - NOVEMBER 19: Scotland's Chris Harris (R) and Japan's Kotaro Matsushima during the Autumn Nations Series match between Scotland and Japan at BT Murrayfield, on November 20, 2021, in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Paul Devlin/SNS Group via Getty Images)
 
Did just enough against Japan to beat Gael Fickou to a place in the side. He cut off just about every opportunity the Japanese had on the attack, landing some thumping hits while he was a real threat with the ball in hand. Named man of the match in a powerful performance. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
14. Max Malins - England
 
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 20: Max Malins of England runs with the ball during the Autumn Nations Series match between England and South Africa at Twickenham Stadium on November 20, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
 
No shortage of right-wingers to pick from this weekend. 
 
 
Italy's Pierre Bruno grabbed a try on test debut against Uruguay in an impressive performance.
 
 
Damian Penaud scored two tries in France's historic win over the All Blacks only misses out due to some of the errors and suspect defence that let the All Blacks back into the game after halftime. 
 
 
Max Malins cracks the nod after a brilliant shift against the Springboks. 
 
 
Coming on early in the match after an injury to Manu Tuilagi, Malins starred for England particularly on defence. He saved Eddie Jones' side on more than two occasions with key interventions. 
 
 
He made good inroads into the Springbok defence and produced some lovely touches with his passing and offloading game. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
15. Freddie Steward - England 
 
England's full-back Freddie Steward (L) and England's fly-half Marcus Smith celebrate after the Autumn International friendly rugby union match between England and South Africa at Twickenham Stadium, south-west London, on November 20, 2021. - England won the match 27-26. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
 
So many options at fullback with Stuart Hogg shining against Japan, Melvyn Jaminet scoring 20 points in France's victory over New Zealand, and that's before you look at the performances of Kurtley Beale and Liam Williams at the Principality.
 
 
 
However, Steward was just too good to ignore. He was incredible under the high ball and safely defusing the Springbok high balls, and made more metres than any other player in the game.
 
 
 
 
 

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