Rugby World Cup team of the week: Four All Blacks make the cut after Italy win - Sky
ANALYSIS: The All Blacks flexed their attacking muscles in a 96-17 demolition of Italy in the latest round of matches in France.
That performance will firmly be in the rearview mirror by the time the quarterfinals roll around, but there was no denying the individual quality on display.
As a result, four All Blacks make Stuff’s team of the week.
15 Nuno Sousa Guedes (Portugal): A standout for the irrepressible Rugby World Cup entertainers as they really stressed the Wallabies. Ran for 153 metres and beat six Wallabies defenders.
14 Darcy Graham (Scotland): Scored four tries and ran for a massive 213 metres against Romania. With the Scots likely to go out in the Pool stages, the tournament draw will again be in the spotlight.
13 Chris Harris (Scotland): The classy centre had a field day for Scotland against Romania, as their slick attack clicked into gear.
12 Jordie Barrett (New Zealand): Ran over the gainline, brought line speed on defence when needed, and created tries. An all-round impressive return.
11 Mark Telea (New Zealand): Another six defenders beaten this week by the All Blacks’ most elusive attacker.
10 Nicolas Sanchez (Argentina): Did the veteran playmaker just force his way into the starting XV for the crunch game against Japan? Sanchez was excellent against Chile.
9 Aaron Smith (New Zealand): A hat-trick of tries and his usual crisp distribution as the All Blacks played with a force and tempo that blew Italy off the park.
8 Kazuki Himeno (Japan): Ardie Savea was outstanding, but Himeno was arguably the difference between Japan winning and losing against Samoa. Captain’s knock.
7 Levani Botia (Fiji): His run and offload to set up Vinaya Habosi’s crucial try in the 17-12 win against Georgia was one of the most important moments of their campaign so far.
6 Michael Leitch (Japan): The 34-year-old flanker rolled back the years against Samoa, making 17 tackles and missing only one.
5 Theo McFarland (Samoa): It looks likely that Samoa will exit before the quarterfinals, but they have unearthed a real gem in the 27-year-old McFarland.
4 Brodie Retallick (New Zealand): The plaudits have gone elsewhere but this was a big step up from a visibly fired-up Retallick.
3 Ben Tameifuna (Tonga): The former Chief stood up against the Springboks pack and was rewarded with a popular try.
2 Deon Fourie (South Africa): In the context of their Rugby World Cup, the Springboks needed a physical and accurate performance from Fourie, and he delivered that against Tonga.
1 Angus Bell (Australia): A rare shining light for the Wallabies – played for 76 minutes and nailed his 10 tackle attempts against Portugal, while also carrying strongly.