July internationals Team of the Week: Ireland lead the way

Now that the dust has settled on the second round of the July internationals, we’ve gone through the action to pick the best players from the weekend’s games.

Ireland lead the way with six players in our XV after their historic triumph over New Zealand, while England are next best with five representatives after they beat Australia.

July internationals Team of the Week

15 Davit Niniashvili (Georgia): Nothing made the Planet Rugby editorial office smile more than the brilliant breaks from the 19-year-old Georgian full-back in his team’s seismic win over Italy. He sees off the challenge of freddie steward (England) and Japan’s Ryohei Yamanaka.

14 Jack Nowell (England): A brilliant all-action shift from an all-court player providing that work rate and grit are as important as outright gas. Nowell gained 46 attacking meters from nine runs with one clean break and four defenders beaten but also shone on defense as he finished with 11 tackles made. He sees off the Springbok debutant Kurt-Lee Arendse and Japan’s Gerhard van der Heever.

13Robbie Henshaw (Ireland): Moved to outside center following Garry Ringrose’s head knock and Henshaw’s impact, intellect and imagination were the counterpoint to the great Jonny Sexton at 10. Also defended well against new zealand‘s outstanding center Rieko Ioane. England’s Guy Porter, Scotland’s Mark Bennettas well as Ioane, were the next best.

12 Owen Farrell (England): Was back to his best against one of the very best in Australian battering ram Samu Kerevi. Apart from one miss, he kicked very well off the tee and also showed plenty of intelligence and skill in attack. As a result, he sees off the challenge of Kerevi and Sam Johnson (Scotland).

11Josh Adams (wales): We were very tempted to select France’s outstanding youngster Matthias Lebel on the left wing, after he shone on attack during his team’s narrow win over Japan in Tokyo, but Adams’ return to South Africa saw him score the clincher in one of the wins of the year and we’re not going to deny the brilliant Welshman in his moment of glory.

10 Johnny Sexton (Ireland): He may be 37 but there’s no finer match general than the Leinster pivot who once again engineered a win against the All Blacks as his variety at 10 once again caused them issues. Challenging Sexton was the brilliant performance from Tedo Abzhandadze of Georgia who finished off the try of the weekend in their win versus Italy.

9 Jack van Poortvliet (England): ‘JVP’ was very much England’s apprentice when the Australian tour squad was announced back in June, but his performance in the second Test against Australia demonstrated he might just be the man the Red Rose have looked for to succeed Ben Youngs. Elsewhere, Jaden Hendrikse was excellent for South Africa despite defeat in Bloemfontein, with Ben White putting in a strong display for Scotland against Argentina.

8 Billy Vunipola (England): The 29-year-old made a big impact as England leveled their series against Australia and was named as the official man of the match after a solid 80-minute shift. He took the fight to the Wallabies on attack and eventually gained a match-high 66 meters from 15 carries which included two defenders beaten and a couple of offloads. Vunipola also did his bit on defense, making seven hits and comes in ahead of Caelan Doris of Ireland, Scotland’s Matt Fagerson and Beka Gorgadze of Georgia.

7 Tommy Refell (Wales): Mentions for Josh van der Flier of Ireland and England’s Sam Underhill but, after an impressive debut in the first Test against the world champions, the Leicester Tigers tearaway makes our team for the second successive week. Reffell caught the eye with his excellent breakdown skills – where he won some crucial turnovers – as well as his defensive work and finished with 12 tackles made.

6 Peter O’Mahony (Ireland): Despite being in the twilight of his career, the veteran back-row delivered one of his best performances for his country as Ireland put the All Blacks to the sword for the first time in New Zealand. O’Mahony was a willing ball carrier, shone on defense with 11 tackles made and put his team on the front foot in the second half with a memorable 50/22 kick. england captain Courtney Lawes, Michael Leitch of Japan and Wales’ Dan Lydiate were next best.

5 Johnny Hill (England): Ireland’s james ryan and Sanaila Junior Waqa of Japan caught the eye but we’ve gone with the Sale Sharks-bound second-row who shone for England in their win against Australia in Brisbane. Hill did well on attack, gaining 19 meters from three carries, won his fair share of lineout balls and came to the fore with a fine performance on defense and finished with a team high 13 tackles made.

4 Tadhg Beirne (Ireland): Another one Ireland’s heroes against the All Blacks, the Munsterman emptied the tank during a brilliant all-round performance. The 30-year-old was at the forefront of his team’s forward effort and finished that Test with an impressive 45 meters made from seven runs which included a clean break, three defenders beaten and an offload. He was also excellent on defense with 12 hits.

3 Beka Gigashvili (Georgia): The Georgian strongman was at the forefront of his country’s forward effort in that important triumph over Italy in Batumi. Gigashvili shone in the execution of his core duties, with his scrummaging particularly outstanding, as Los Lelos ‘pack laid a nice platform for their backs. I have beats out Zander Fagerson of Scotland and Australia’s Taniela Tupo.

2Dan Sheehan (Ireland): Ireland’s forwards deserve plenty of credit for laying a solid foundation for their backs against New Zealand and Sheehan was leading the way for the visitors. He made his biggest impact on defense as he made 12 tackles but also did well as a ball carrier and gained 23 meters from six carries and beat one defender. Sheehan edges out England’s jamie george.

1Andrew Porter (Ireland): One of the stars of Dunedin, Porter showed his class with an outstanding all-round showing in that momentous Irish triumph against the All Blacks. He stunned the home side as he crossed for two well-taken tries but did not neglect his core duties as he stood up well in the scrums and also completed eight tackles. Scotland’s pierre schoeman and Ellis Genge of England also looked good.

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