THERE is no way to sugar coat it.
The Wallabies were out of their depth against the All Blacks in Sydney and that is reflected by just one Australian player making the grade in Fox Sports Lab’s Rugby Championship team of the week for round one.
1: Tendai Mtawarira (South Africa)
The man known as ‘Beast’ was at his imposing best in the first up win over Argentina.
Mtawarira forced two scrum penalties, made 10 runs for 30 metres, popped four offloads while also making five tackles without a miss.
2: Malcolm Marx (South Africa)
Probably the form player in world rugby.
The Boks hooker made seven carries for 31 metres, including one line break while also dominating the breakdown with four ruck and maul turnovers (one pilfer and three forced penalties).
Marx was also solid with his lineout throwing, connecting with 12 of 15 attempts.
3: Owen Franks (New Zealand)
The omnipresent rock of the All Blacks pack got the job done yet again in Sydney.
Franks forced five scrum penalties and made eight tackles without a miss.
He will join Crusaders teammate Sam Whitelock in the All Blacks’ centurion club on Saturday.
4: Brodie Retallick (New Zealand)
Big ‘Guzzler’ sent the rugby world gaga on Saturday with one of the most dominant individual performances in recent memory.
Retallick bamboozled Bernard Foley for a runaway try as part of his eight carries for 77 metres and one line break.
He also made seven tackles and had five lineout wins (including three steals) to earn favourable comparisons with the great John Eales.
5: Eben Etzebeth (South Africa)
Speaking of comparisons, Etzebeth wasn’t quite as fond of his alleged likeness to Borat.
But the Boks lock with all smiles after a strong performance in Durban, making five tackle busts and 81 metres from his 14 carries.
Etzebeth also made 11 tackles and had seven lineout wins, including one steal.
6: Siya Kolisi (South Africa)
The Boks captain led by example at King’s Park, producing one line break, five tackle busts and 57 metres from his eight carries.
Kolisi — who South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus has identified as a better blindside that openside — also made 12 tackles.
7: Sam Cane (New Zealand)
Rebounded from some average late season form for the Chiefs with a typically industrious performance in black.
Cane made 12 tackles — many of them impactful — while also forcing one ruck penalty.
8: David Pocock (Australia)
The Wallabies’ outstanding player on another black night in Sydney.
Playing out of position, Pocock made 31 metres and two tackle busts from his seven carries.
Pocock also topped the tackle count with 16 as well as securing three trademark pilfers and winning praise for his care of stricken rival Ryan Crotty.
9: Faf de Klerk (South Africa)
Rassie Erasmus’ decision to recall his European based stars is paying dividends with Sale sparkplug de Klerk igniting his team’s attack.
De Klerk scored his second Test try against Argentina while also making a line break and three tackle busts from his sniping runs.
The 26-year-old also created two line break assists and three try assists and amassed a whopping 359 metres from his 14 kicks.
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10: Beauden Barrett (New Zealand)
Responded to calls for his axing with a typically exciting display.
Barrett — who wanted to play for Real Madrid as a kid — scored a skilful, dribbling try while making a line break and 87 metres from nine carries.
The two time world player of the year also produced one line break assist and two try assists while kicking for 337 metres.
An underrated defender, Barrett also made seven tackles — a couple of them crucial interventions.
11: Aphiwe Dyantyi (South Africa)
How did this guy not start the Super Rugby final?
The flying Lion scored a brace against the Pumas while also making four tackle busts and 75 run metres.
Dyantyi also had a line break assist to go with eight tackles.
12: Anton Lienert-Brown (New Zealand)
Usually an outside centre, Lienert-Brown was thrust into the fray early after Ryan Crotty’s sickening head clash with Jack Goodhue.
Beauden Barrett revealed Lienert-Brown hadn’t trained at No 12 in the Bledisloe buildup but it didn’t show as he slotted seamlessly into the backline.
He had five tackle busts and 53 run metres to go with three line break assists and one try assist — including two offloads.
The 23-year-old also made 11 tackles and is set to start in the Eden Park rematch against Australia.
13: Jack Goodhue (New Zealand)
Goodhue looms as the All Blacks’ Rugby World Cup centre after starring in his second Test in Sydney.
The Crusaders standout scored his first Test try and ran for a whopping 161 metres including one line break and five tackle busts.
Goodhue also had a line break assist and two offloads while making 10 tackles without a miss.
14: Waisake Naholo (New Zealand)
Got a rare start on the wing and rewarded Steve Hansen with his best Test yet.
Naholo scored a brace of tries and tormented Australia out wide with 172 run metres, one line break and nine tackle busts.
15: Willie le Roux (South Africa)
Like Faf de Klerk, Wasps star le Roux is adding an extra dimension to South Africa’s attack.
The fleet footed fullback produced two line break assists and two try assists.