Team Of The Week: Rugby World Cup Warm-Ups
With the dust having settled on the Rugby World Cup warm-ups we have gone through the action and selected the standout players.
Ireland, France and Scotland all produced impressive displays and, as a result, they lead the way. Joe Schmidt’s men have the most nominations with five while the other two are just behind with four apiece.
Team of the Week: Rugby World Cup warm-ups
15 Will Addison (Ireland): Injuries have disrupted the former Sale player’s career but he is an outstanding talent and is unlucky not to get a chance to showcase his abilities at the World Cup. The 27-year-old showed up well against Wales, making 76 metres from 10 carries. His opposite number on Saturday, Wales’ Hallam Amos, also impressed while Maxime Medard was a constant threat for France, but Addison deservedly takes his place in the XV.
14 Andrew Conway (Ireland): Another Irishman to take a spot in the team after a thrilling attacking performance. Conway has enjoyed an excellent couple of years at Munster and has taken that form onto the international stage. Wales struggled to contain him, with the 28-year-old making 78 metres, which included five defenders beaten. Elsewhere, France’s Yoann Huget and Scotland’s Darcy Graham both played well but it wasn’t enough to displace Conway.
13 Sofiane Guitoune (France): Was one of Toulouse’s standouts during their fine 2018/19 campaign, which saw them lift the Top 14 title, and is starting to show it at international level. There were glimpses of Guitoune’s ability against Scotland last weekend when he set up Damian Penaud’s second try and he built on that performance against Italy. The visitors failed to deal with the talented runner as he made 92 metres in a superb effort which saw Les Bleus claim a 47-19 triumph.
12 Rory Hutchinson (Scotland): Really tough on Bundee Aki, who arguably produced his best display in an Ireland shirt on Saturday, but we had to get the Northampton man into our team. Can play either 10, 12 or 13 and his playmaking abilities were evident against Georgia in the dominant win. Took a couple of superb lines for his tries and was a threat throughout the game, meaning that Gregor Townsend must surely take him to the World Cup. Is reportedly on the fringes of the selection debate but, with Huw Jones’ recent struggles and Chris Harris not exactly impressing at international level, Hutchinson should go to Japan.
11 Jacob Stockdale (Ireland): Like Samson in reverse, the star wing had his hair cut and was immediately back on form as the Irish claimed an important win against Wales. Stockdale was criticised following their Twickenham horror show due to a number of defensive lapses, but the focus was back and the wing touched down twice to continue his impressive scoring record. It now stands at 16 in 21 matches and the Ulsterman will look to maintain that try-scoring ability heading into the global tournament.
— Channel 4 Sport (@C4Sport) August 31, 2019
10 Finn Russell (Scotland): Yes, we may have had Jack Carty in hot and not but we know what Russell can do and he did it superbly well against Georgia. Carty’s World Cup audition was one of the best you will see from an inexperienced player but the Racing 92 man had all the tricks in Tbilisi. He struggled in the early exchanges but soon got into his stride and produced some outstanding moments to help guide Scotland to victory. It was a competitive position, however, as both Carty and Romain Ntamack (France) ran him close.
9 Antoine Dupont (France): Another impressive display from the talented 22-year-old as the French ended their World Cup warm-ups in ideal fashion. Dupont’s service was sharp from the base while he is always a threat around the fringes and was rewarded with a try against Italy. The Toulouse player duly fends off competition from Scotland’s Greig Laidlaw, whose decision-making was typically sound in the victory over Georgia.
8 Louis Picamoles (France): Spent time on the sidelines after receiving a yellow card midway through the first half of his side’s win over Italy, but the veteran back-row improved as the match progressed especially on attack. Eventually gained 72 from 17 carries with seven defenders beaten and also managed two offloads. Was also busy on defence where he made 11 tackles.
7 Jake Polledri (Italy): Ireland captain Peter O’Mahony and James Davies of Wales both played well in their duel in Cardiff but it’s Gloucester stalwart Polledri who gets the nod after a superb all-round display in Italy’s defeat to France in Paris. The 23-year-old gained 40 metres from 15 runs which included one clean break, six defenders beaten, an offload and a well-taken try, but also shone on defence with 10 hits.
— YMU Rugby (@YMURugby) August 31, 2019