Team Of The Week: Rugby World Cup Warm-Ups
With the dust having settled on the Rugby World Cup warm-ups weekend, we have gone through the action and selected the standout players.
Unsurprisingly England lead the way here with nine representatives after their dominant win over Ireland so without further ado, here’s our XV.
Team of the Week: Rugby World Cup warm-ups
15 Elliot Daly (England): Stuart Hogg earns a mention after his busy shift as he made amends as the only survivor from Scotland’s starting XV that was hammered in France. However, Daly is our number 15 as he enjoyed one of his better games in white, scoring one try and setting up another with a brilliant catch and pass under pressure. He also made 13 carries for 79 metres to cap a decent day.
14 Joe Cokanasiga (England): An outstanding performance from the giant finisher as he mixed pace with power to cause Ireland countless problems at Twickenham. Damian Penaud performed well for France with two tries also to his name but Cokanasiga was a level above all wings on Saturday, making 80 metres from 10 runs and already looks to be developing into one of the game’s most potent wide men.
13 Manu Tuilagi (England): Man-of-the-match in their win over Ireland, Tuilagi looks in top form at the moment which is great news for English fans. His carrying ability, alongside Cokanasiga and several others, regularly got England on the front foot and he fully deserved his try. Chris Harris earns a mention for his try-scoring performance for Scotland as they bounced back against the French.
12 Owen Farrell (England): Another solid captain’s innings from Farrell and it seems wherever he is stationed he will put in top class showings. He combined beautifully with Tuilagi and one wonders whether Henry Slade’s starting shirt in midfield is now in doubt. Farrell finished with 15 points off the tee and also set up a try in another complete performance that also kept Bundee Aki largely quiet.
11 Sean Maitland (Scotland): From one Saracen to another, Maitland is our left wing after another assured showing. As always, he kept his depth and width and when given a sniff he was a difficult man to bring to ground. While his try was a walkover after a lovely pass out to the left, his movement played a big role in the score. In World Cups teams need cool heads and there are few cooler than Maitland.
🗣 “That’s more like it from Scotland!”
🏴 Finn Russell sets up Sean Maitland for Scotland’s first try of the day, just before half time! pic.twitter.com/wXUrN8ZSf1
— Premier Sports 📺 (@PremierSportsTV) August 24, 2019
10 George Ford (England): Ford is deadly when playing on the front foot, as he was against Ireland. Alongside the impressive Farrell and Tuilagi that trio ripped their visitors to pieces, unpicking the Irish defence and Ford took the right option on numerous occasions. At Murrayfield, Finn Russell had his swagger back, with a beautiful pass out for Maitland’s try standing out, but Ford gets the nod here.
9 Greig Laidlaw (Scotland): The second Scottish back to make our line-up is captain Laidlaw, who steadied the ship after that disappointing defeat in Nice. Laidlaw kicked two conversions and a penalty as he starred on a forgetful weekend for his rival scrum-halves, with no one else standing out.
8 Billy Vunipola (England): A linchpin in this England side, the Saracens man has been impressive over the past few weeks. Vunipola is evidently a big ball-carrier, given his size, but the number eight also has excellent footwork and a superb skill set. He draws in defenders and allows the Red Rose’s backline playmakers to weave their magic. With Tuilagi and Cokanasiga also in the side, it gives them plenty of options on and off the ball going into the World Cup. Elsewhere, Scotland’s Blade Thomson deserves a mention after a fine debut against France.
7 Hamish Watson (Scotland): Doesn’t seem to get mentioned alongside the best opensides in the world, but he really should be. Continually excellent for Scotland, Watson was once again their standout player in the narrow victory over France and was deservedly named man-of-the-match for his efforts. Sam Underhillshowed up well for England but the Scottish flanker was simply top-drawer.
6 Tom Curry (England): Just an outstanding athlete who combined superbly with Underhill and Vunipola in the back-row on Saturday. Curry is a nuisance at the breakdown, constantly slowing down opposition ball, but is also a very good ball-carrier and an excellent link option, which helped him touch down against Ireland. Ryan Wilson had a fine game for Scotland while Arthur Iturria was one of France’s better players, but they couldn’t usurp the Englishman.