Oval Talk

Team of the Weekend: Berrick danger

Berrick Barnes's metronomic kicking against England earns him a place among the elite performers from the second round of autumn internationals.

Barnes is one of three Aussies to make the cut - but who else won a place in Oval Talk's Team of the Weekend?

International results (click on links for reports):

England 14-20 Australia

Scotland 10-21 South Africa

Wales 19-26 Samoa

France 39-22 Argentina

Italy 10-42 New Zealand

Ireland XV 53-0 Fiji

Team of the Weekend

1 Ryan Grant — Scotland

When the pressure was on in the second half, Grant was one of a few forwards who fought back against the Springboks with solid support play and driving runs.

2 Adriaan Strauss — South Africa

Two tries from the hooker helped South Africa to a 21-10 win against Scotland. His vision to intercept the pass for his second score would have made any back proud.

3 Ben Alexander - Australia

There was a lot of chat about Australia's scrum not being able to handle the power of England in the lead up to Saturday's game but Alexander took no notice. Solid at set piece, hungry at the breakdown and fierce in his carrying, Alexander was outstanding.

4 Eben Etzebeth — South Africa

He was athletic and level-headed against Scotland. His strength was in the South African lineout, where he made his mark and put pressure on the Scots all afternoon. Still developing but looks set to be a permanent fixture for the Springboks.

5 Louis Stanfill — USA

Winning 22-13 over Tonga is great progress for the US side and Stanfill was at the heart of the pack that stood up to the physical Tongan side. Strength in the line out and quick thinking at the breakdown made Stanfill a key player in the US line-up.

6 Francis Louw — South Africa

Physicality was the name of the game when South Africa played Ireland a couple of weekends ago, and against Scotland the Springboks turned up the pressure again. Willem Alberts and Louw in particular dominated the breakdown and Scotland's penalty count suffered.

7 Michael Hooper - Australia

With David Pocock out of action Hooper had the opportunity to show his worth and he didn't disappoint coach Robbie Deans. His work rate was exemplary and he broke the English back line on a number of occasions. He latched onto kicks, turned over ball and was a constant thorn in the English side.

8 Taiasina Tuifu'a - Samoa

Helped set up the first try against Wales after the Welsh defence was caught napping, then for the rest of the match did what all good back rows do and carried the ball over the gain line. Combined with Kahn Fotuali'i's vision the two players helped keep the momentum up against a woeful Wales side.

9 Kahn Fotuali'i- Samoa

The Samoan scrum-half helped his side to victory over Wales by setting up George Pisi for the Pacific Islanders second try. The Ospreys no. 9 controlled the point of attack and was a handful around the fringes at the breakdown.

10 Frederick Michalak - France

Five conversions, three penalties and a drop goal from Michalak contributed the Lion's share of France's points against Argentina. It's the second week in a row that the Frenchman has shown he deserves that no.10 shirt.

11 Vincent Clerc - France

Two tries in three minutes for the French speedster put Argentina under the cosh going into the half-time team talks and put his international try tally up to 34.

12 Luke Marshall — Ireland

In combination with Darren Cave, Marshall caused trouble for Fiji's midfield and the duo set up Fergus McFadden's try. His own try on 79 minutes was a well-deserved reward for what was a very rounded performance.

13 Conrad Smith — New Zealand

Man of the match against Italy, Smith's outside line breaks were too much to handle for the Italian defence. Constantly targeting the outside channel, his try was well deserved. Worked well with Nonu.

14 Craig Gilroy - Ireland

It may have only been against a struggling Fiji but Gilroy was clinical in his finishing and scored three tries in Ireland's 53-0 demolishing of the Pacific Islanders. Declan Kidney has already suggested selection headaches ahead of the clash against Argentina and that's not surprising after Gilroy's performance.

15 Berrick Barnes - Australia

His kicking from the tee kept the pressure on England. His drop goal to get Australia on the score board was shrewd and his kicking out of hand kept Australia moving forward.