Rugby World Cup team of the week: One All Black makes the cut in opening weekend - Sky
ANALYSIS: The first round of the Rugby World Cup is in the books and it’s clear that the All Blacks have work to do.
Rugby World Cups bring their own level of pressure and they didn’t cope with it against France in the second half.
There was one standout performance from an All Black at the weekend, however, to make Stuff’s team of the week.
15 Thomas Ramos (France): The metronomic French goalkicker punished the All Blacks’ ill discipline and he was also excellent under the high ball. He’s a big reason why France can go all the way.
14 Cheslin Kolbe (South Africa): The little man made some big defensive plays and then cut the Scots to shreds in the second half when he found some space. Ran for a game-high 117 metres.
13 Manu Tuilagi (England): Started in the No 12 jersey but can cover either position in midfield and was a real defensive leader for England. Looks trim and full of energy.
12 Bundee Aki (Ireland): Ran for an incredible 190 metres against Romania as the Irish attack quickly found its groove. It was a bad read by New Zealand to let this guy head to Ireland in 2014, a year before Ma’a Nonu’s retirement from test rugby.
11 Mark Telea (New Zealand): Two tries, 114 running metres, three clean breaks and a massive 11 defenders beaten. Those stats say it all.
10 George Ford (England): The single-most influential display of the opening weekend. Took the game by the scruff of the neck after England’s early red card to amass 27 points.
9 Marcelo Torrealba (Chile): Surprisingly few standout performances from halfbacks in the opening round, but livewire Torrealba caught the eye against Japan with his running game.
8 Gregory Alldritt (France): The big No 8 was France’s best on the opening night at Stade de France and has a reasonable claim to be regarded as the world’s best in his position.
6 Courtney Lawes (England): When the big loose forward is at his best, England tend to follow. Made 10 out of 10 tackles and was a key lineout target.
5 Amato Fakatava (Japan): A late callup for the Rugby World Cup, the athletic lock scored twice to help Jamie Joseph’s side past the passionate Chileans.
4 Will Rowlands (Wales): Made an extraordinary 27 tackles without missing one in a massive defensive effort by the Welsh against Fiji.
3 Taniela Tupou (Australia): The 140kg Wallaby dominated the Georgian scrum and set up a try with a memorable offload.
2 Jamie George (England): Led the tackle count for England and was part of a scrum that put the squeeze on Argentina.
1 Steven Kitshoff (South Africa): The Springboks scrum didn’t have it all their own way in the first 40 minutes but Kitshoff won a big penalty at the start of the second half and it was a momentum shifter.