Rugby World Cup: Team of the week

Welsh number eight Toby Faletau. Photo / Getty Images
Welsh number eight Toby Faletau. Photo / Getty Images

With the first eight matches of the Rugby World Cup out of the way it's time to look at which players impressed the most.

There may be a touch of bias with four All Blacks making our top XV and just one Australian.

Despite an average second half in their opening 41-10 win over Tonga, how could you ignore Dagg, Kahui, Williams and Nonu who looked brilliant during the first 40 minutes?

South African flanker Heinrich Brussow was the top tackler of the weekend with 22 tackles to earn his spot at number six while Welsh duo Sam Warburton and Toby Faletau also make the team for impressive efforts in a 17-16 loss to the Springboks.

Australia, France and Ireland each have one player in the team while smaller rugby nations Romania, Japan, Fiji and Tonga also have a representative.

1 - Alisona Taumalolo - The Tongan prop only played just 28 minutes but made the most of it with a barn-storming performance both at scrum-time and around the field.

2 - Marius Tincu - A few more Tincu's in their forward pack and Romania could finally get that elusive upset.

3 - Martin Castrogiovanni - The sole standout in the Italy forward pack against Australia, the Leicester prop proved why he's rated as one of the best in the world.

4 – James Horwill – Man of the match in Australia’s victory over Italy the Wallabies skipper led from example and is quickly becoming one of the best locks at the tournament.

5 – Paul O’Connell – A solid game by the Irish lock in a less than convincing performance from the rest of his team.

6 – Heinrich Brussow – A tackling machine in the Springboks victory over Wales outplayed teammate Schalk Burger which very rarely happens.

7 – Sam Warburton – Brave effort in his side’s loss to Wales.

8 – Toby Faletau – Scored a crucial try which put Wales in front and didn’t shy away from the big Boks forwards.

9 – Dimitri Yachvili – Kept Japan out of touch with some sharp-shooting with the boot while also commanding the French pack.

10 – James Arlidge – Leads all World Cup scorers with 21 points which is impressive for a Japanese player, more so that it came against France.

11 – Richard Kahui – A centre converted to the wing he did it with verve and speed for two excellent tries as well as setting up one.

12 – Sonny Bill Williams – He quite likes to off-load as do his teammates who score off them. He’ll meet better defense if he can get back on the park but a standout performance in the cup opener.

13 – Ma’a Nonu – A smarter runner than Sonny Bill, Nonu linked nicely with his outside runners and was happy in the physical work.

14 – Vereniki Goneva – After scoring four tries in one game it was impossible not to pick the Fijian flyer.

15 – Israel Dagg – Two slick first-half tries and looked electric early on.


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