Find out who made our standout XV from the opening games of this year’s World Cup in Japan…
15. Beauden Barrett (New Zealand)
Steve Hansen’s decision to put the playmaker at full-back was questioned by some, but the All Blacks head coach proved correct as Barrett played an important role in the 23-13 win over South Africa.
He was one of New Zealand’s go-to players with the ball in hand, making 17 carries and beating seven defenders.
14. Andrew Conway (Ireland)
Conway got the try which clinched the bonus point in Ireland’s 27-3 win over Scotland, capping off an eye-catching display out wide to help Joe Schmidt’s side put themselves in a good position in Pool A.
Munster player Conway proved tough for Scotland’s to stop at times, making three clean breaks as well during the match in Yokohama.
13. Manu Tuilagi (England)
Two first-half tries from the centre set England on course for a 35-3 victory over Tonga in their opening game of Pool C, with Tuilagi a constant thorn in the side for their opponents during the clash in Sapporo.
Along with his scoring efforts, the Leicester Tigers man made 88 metres from 11 carries, beat six defenders and made three clean breaks to underline how much of an attacking presence he was for Eddie Jones’ side.
12. Gael Fickou (France)
He did give away the penalty at the end which almost cost France the game, but the centre can be forgiven for that due to his otherwise outstanding display as Les Bleus held on to beat Argentina 23-21 in the Pool C opener.
Fickou scored a try for his team, along with proving a slippery customer for the Pumas’ defence to deal with by making five clean breaks as well. He contributed nine tackles in defence, too.
11. Kotaro Matsushima (Japan)
The winger played a huge part in making it a memorable day for both him and Japan, running in a hat-trick of tries as the hosts opened the tournament with a 30-10 win over Russia.
Along with grabbing his first hat-trick for the Cherry Blossoms, Matsushima made 112 metres, beat eight defenders and made four clean breaks – an effort matched only by Australia’s Marika Koroibete in their win over Fiji.
10. Richie Mo’unga (New Zealand)
Barrett’s move to full-back allowed Mo’unga to be accommodated at fly-half and his direction helped steer the All Blacks to an important victory in Pool B against old rivals South Africa.
Handed the goal-kicking duties, the Crusaders half-back kicked two penalties and two conversions, along with making 38 metres from seven carries, beat one defender and made one clean break – as well as winning a turnover.
9. Antoine Dupont (France)
A 22nd-minute try from the scrum-half helped the French on their way to an important victory in Pool C against Argentina, putting in fine all-round display in the process.
The 22-year-old Toulouse man made 51 metres from 12 carries, made three clean breaks and beat two defenders in a lively attacking performance.
1. Cian Healy (Ireland)
Ireland’s forwards laid the groundwork for the win over Scotland, asserting their dominance at the set-piece, and Healy was an important part of that.
The 31-year-old played a key role in defence for Ireland as well, making seven tackles and recovering a loose ball for Joe Schmidt’s side.
2. Tolu Latu (Aus)
The hooker led from the front for the Wallabies, finishing off two driving mauls for tries – including the one which secured the bonus point in the 39-21 win over Fiji.
Latu beat two defenders and came up with an offload when he had the ball in hand, while defensively he affected five tackles as well.
3. Juan Figallo (Argentina)
A strong performance from Figallo helped Argentina win six scrums in the narrow defeat to France, while he put in 10 tackles on the defensive side as well.
4. Guido Petti (Argentina)
The second row was seemingly everywhere and scored a try as Argentina made a stirring, but ultimately unsuccessful, fightback in the 23-21 defeat to France.
Petti carried for a team-highest 53 metres, beating three defenders and making one clean break in attack. He was a monster at the line-out too, winning eight and stealing one, along with making nine tackles and winning a turnover.
5. James Ryan (Ireland)
Along with scoring the first try of the match, Ryan was a huge presence for Ireland in several facets of the game as they convincingly overcame Scotland in Yokohama.
He made a joint-team-highest 14 tackles, carried the same amount of times and was particularly strong in the line-out where he won four and came up with a steal as well.
6. Ardie Savea (NZ)
A threat with the ball in hand and imposing in defence, Savea proved an important player on both sides of the ball as the All Blacks began their quest for a hat-trick of World Cup wins with victory over South Africa.
Savea made 42 metres from nine carries, beating five defenders and making one clean break. In defence, he made eight tackles and won two turnovers.
7. Tagir Gadzhiev (Russia)
Their first game of this year’s tournament may have ended in defeat, but Russia impressed many observers with their display against Japan and Gadzhiev was a big part of that.
The flanker was particularly effective at the line-out, winning three, and was regularly entrusted with the ball when Russia went on the attack, carrying the ball 12 times.