It was a busy weekend in Japan, with twelve teams in action. Take a look at our team of the weekend.
Prop – James Slipper (Australia)
Before Saturday’s game, James Slipper had gone 93 caps without an international try. But 60 minutes into the Wallabies third group game vs Uruguay, the loose-head prop had broken his try-scoring drought.
After the game Slipper joked that he’s relieved to finally cross the try-line.
“I am more relieved to be honest,
“Obviously the more games you play, the pressure keeps building.”
Hooker – Bongi Mbonambi (South Africa)
Three World Cup caps, three World Cup tries – an impressive record. And it’s held by South Africa’s hooker Bongi Mbonambi.
Mbonambi scored twice in the Springboks victory over Namibia, and he crossed again in their comprehensive victory over Italy on Friday.
Prop – Kyle Sinckler (England)
A tough position to choose, with no stand-out performers, but England’s Kyle Sinckler makes the team.
Against a strong Argentinian scrum, Sinckler dominated, with England winning 88% of their scrums.
A dominant Sinckler will be important to England’s progression in the competition.
Second Row – James Moore (Japan) and Sam Whitelock (New Zealand)
Another hard to pick position, with so many impressive performers – but it was Japan’s James Moore and the All Black’s Sam Whitelock who stood out.
Moore, who is just games into his international career, led Japan’s pack well in their 38-19 victory over Samoa. Moore’s impressive set-piece performance helped the Brave Blossoms to a 100% scrum and line-out record.
Whitelock, a two time World Cup winner, captained the All Blacks to victory over Namibia. He also scored a try in the comprehensive win.
Flankers – Zane Kapeli (Tonga) and Jake Polledri (Italy)
In a disappointing weekend for both Tonga and Italy, two of their players stood out.
Gloucester’s Jake Polledri has had an impressive start to his World Cup for Italy. In their match against Canada, the 23-year-old completed 21 tackles and made 161 metre’s from only 16 carries. And in a poor team performance against South Africa he was a stand-out once again.
Tonga’s defeat to France was expected, but the performance and narrow margin of defeat was not. Flanker Zane Kapeli stood out for Tonga, making metres as well as crossing for their third try.
Number 8 – Kazuki Himeno (Japan)
Completing the forward pack is a second Japanese player.
25 year-old Kazuki Himeno helped his side to victory with some strong tackling.
Himeno made 15 tackles, and also helped the Brave Blossoms to a 100% set-piece record.
Scrum-Half – Ben Youngs (England)
In just 46 minutes, Ben Youngs made an impact on England’s victory over Argentina.
Youngs made a number of metres as well as crossing the try-line for England.
Youngs was pushed close by the All Blacks replacement TJ Perenara.
Fly-Half – Jordie Barrett (New Zealand)
Despite having 13 All Blacks caps before their game against Namibia, Jordie Barrett has not yet started a game at fly-half.
But on Sunday, Barrett wore the ten shirt for New Zealand and stood-out.
The 22-year old scored 21 points, which included a late try in their 71-9 victory.
Wingers – Dane Haylett-Petty (Australia) and Kotaro Matsushima (Japan)
The two wingers that make this weeks team of the weekend are high on the tournaments top try scorer list.
Japan’s Kotaro Matsushima added to his hat-trick against Russia, with a try in their victory over Samoa, to take his tally up to four.
Australia’s Dane Haylett-Petty doubled his tally for this World Cup with a brace against Uruguay.
Centres – Tevita Kuridrani (Australia) and Anton Lienert-Brown (New Zealand)
Both Australia’s Tevita Kuridrani and the All Black’s Anton Lienert-Brown scored twice in their sides victories over the weekend.
Kuridrani scored either side of half-time in Australia’s win over Uruguay.
Lienert-Brown crossed both sides of the half, and made 103 metres in his sides 71-9 win over Namibia.
Full-Back – Willie Le Roux (South Africa)
Completing our team of the weekend is South Africa’s full-back Willie Le Roux.
Le Roux, despite not scoring, made 76 metres in attack in his sides 49-3 victory over Italy and played a pivotal role in guiding the Springboks to victory in the Pool B second place play off.