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Vote for your Player of the Series

Vote for your Player of the Series

Player of the Series

The inaugural Autumn Nations Series delivered in style with 20 enthralling matches over four weeks as the best of the northern and southern hemispheres went head to head.

There were plenty of standout performers as England, France and Ireland all completed perfect autumns, while the likes of South Africa, Scotland, Wales and New Zealand also had their moments.

Narrowing down the list of candidates for Player of the Series to just six was no easy task but we’ve managed it and now you can have your say on who should get the nod.

Caelan Doris (Ireland)

Caelan Doris was Ireland’s dynamo as they beat Japan, New Zealand and Argentina to complete a perfect Autumn Nations Series.

The 36 carries he made across the Series was the most of any player, while he also hit a joint-high 99 rucks as his relentless engine drove his side forward.

His pièce de resistance was the performance in the 29-20 victory over the All Blacks as he popped up everywhere to complete 12 tackles, carry for 84 metres, beat two defenders and generally make a nuisance of himself as he deservedly won Player of the Match in Ireland’s third-ever win against New Zealand.

Antoine Dupont (France) 

Quite possibly the best rugby player in the world – certainly the heavy favourite to win Men’s 15s Player of the Year at the upcoming World Rugby Awards at least – Antoine Dupont’s legend only grew in the Autumn Nations Series.

The fact he has a skillset unmatched by any scrum-half, or maybe any player, in world rugby was already known but his leadership came to the fore as he took the captaincy in place of the injured Charles Ollivon and led France to a perfect record, including an historic victory over the All Blacks.

Four years on from his first Test start, when he was the best player on the pitch in defeat to New Zealand, he ensured the same opposition were put to the sword in Paris on the final weekend with his eight defenders beaten the standout stat – a frankly ridiculous tally for a No.9 and the second-most by any player in a match against the All Blacks since Opta started recording the data in 2019.

His game simply has no discernible weakness.

Eben Etzebeth (South Africa) 

South Africa’s Autumn Nations Series campaign may have ended on a low note with their last-gasp defeat to England but it certainly wasn’t for Eben Etzebeth’s lack of effort.

The talismanic lock was all over the park for the Springboks, making a joint team high seven carries for 46 metres (second on the team) and also topping the South African rankings for tackles with 13.

He used all his veteran nous to steal a crucial late lineout that almost scuppered England’s hopes of victory, while his physicality and raw power helped his team’s pack dominate proceedings in the second half.

It was the sort of display Etzebeth produced throughout the Autumn Nations Series as he drove the world champions to victories over Wales and Scotland before the final round loss.

Eben Etzebeth Player of the Series

Romain Ntamack (France) 

Flitting between inside centre and fly-half, Romain Ntamack was a weapon for France no matter which position he lined up in.

The jury is still out on the long-term viability of the Matthieu Jalibert-Ntamack 10-12 axis for Les Bleus but when Ntamack switched back to fly-half for the game against the All Blacks, he was mesmerising.

His first-half try was a thing of beauty, he dovetailed perfectly with frequent running mate Antoine Dupont at No.9 and his break from inside France’s own in-goal area to turn defence into attack was a moment of skill that few players have in their locker, while also being arguably the standout moment of the entire Autumn Nations Series.

One of the great fly-half performances as he truly came of age in the blue jersey.

Romain Ntamack Player of the Series

Marcus Smith (England) 

The man who landed the kick that completed the revenge mission for the 2019 Rugby World Cup final is the first of two England stars up for Player of the Series.

Ahead of the Autumn Nations Seriesthe excitement around Marcus Smith getting his chance at No.10 was palpable and he more than delivered with a string of composed, game-controlling displays dotted with moments of inventive, creative athleticism.

His kicking from the tee, highlighted by the last-gasp penalty to beat the Springboks on Saturday, was impeccable and he looked to the manor born as he learned the ropes of Test rugby – pulling the strings for whatever version of the England backline was lined up outside him.

Marcus Smith Player of the Series

Freddie Steward (England)Speaking of being to the manor born in Test rugby – step forward Freddie Steward.

England have unearthed an undoubted star in the 20-year-old full-back, whose brilliant ball-carrying and remarkable composure under the high ball look to have locked him into the No.15 jersey for the foreseeable future despite just a handful of Test starts.

His tries against Australia and South Africa, both coming in Player of the Match performances, helped England to three wins from three while a 90 per cent catch percentage throughout the Autumn Nations Series showed his incredible aerial prowess.

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