Tuesday, October 27, 2015

RWC2015 Team of the Semifinals

Mark Jackson selects his best XV of the weekend…

Click these links for his teams from... week 1 week 2 week 3 week 4 Quarterfinals

Drew Mitchell

Two enthralling encounters at Twickenham , 1 a bruising encounter between ancient rivals and 1 end to end game which was tiring just to watch it . All in all the two best team in the world will contest the final this Saturday and here's hoping for another great game to finish off the tournament . All four teams have representation in this week's selection .

15. Ben Smith (NZ) - Whether at full back or on the wing , Ben Smith is a rock for the ABs , great under the high ball an excellent counter attacker , his versatility is invaluable .

14. Adam Ashley-Cooper (AUS) - A hat trick in a semi-final is not to be sniffed , scoring on both wings shows his work rate too, tough job upcoming against Julian Savea this weekend.

13. Tevita Kuridrani (AUS) - Defensively excellent and marshals the Australian midfield very well . Gets the Wallabies over the gainline when needed , still expect some more somehow but having a very solid RWC.

12. Ma'a Nonu (NZ) - The ABs best outside back this past weekend , relished the physical stuff and showed great footwork in holding the Bok defence for Barrett's try

11. Drew Mitchell (AUS) - His slalom run in the 2nd half was mesmerising at times but his defensive shift was also to the fore. Both himself and AAC gave their opponents no space with the Argentinian wingers coming infield a lot to room to manoeuvre .

10. Dan Carter (NZ) - His drop goal summed up his last 3 outing in black , time and space on the ball and calmness under pressure. We finally get to see him in a RWC final (barring some training ground mishap).

9. Aaron Smith (NZ) - Keeps his place for another week with another controlled performance in the wet . His pass gives teammates time immemorial it seems and brings his forwards into play with clever pops and his game management from 9 is top notch too. Just knows what to do in any given situation.

8. David Pocock (AUS) - Stopped any momentum Argentina tried to build ,the most intelligent poacher there is , doesn't hit rucks aimlessly unless there is an end product , tough as boots too . Duane Vermeulen was unlucky to miss out in what again is a back row that is hard to select.

7. Francois  Louw (SA) - In a losing effort Louw can more than hold his head up , a ding dong battle at the breakdown with McCaw , the collisions were epic with both players(teams) giving their all , McCaw also had a great game but some of the hits Louw gave and took see him edge the 7 jersey.

6. Scott Fardy (AUS) - Another play who gives everything he has everytme he is on the pitch. Australia need to wrap him in cotton wool for the final , if he isn't up for nomination for player of the tournament there is no justice.

5. Rob Simmons (AUS) - His partner has been claiming the headlines in the Aussie second row but Simmons stepped it up last Sunday . A cheeky intercept along with his defensive effort and lineout work see Simmons earn his first place in the side. Tomas Lavanini just misses out

4. Brodie Retallick (NZ) - Has the grunt to go along side his handling skills. A total modern lock forward ,can do it all , no wonder he is the World Player of the Year.

3. Ramiro Herrera (ARG) - Perhaps shouldn't have been in the side for his indiscretions against Ireland but have to admit don't mind that edge in a tighthead. Showed some soft hands at times during the game but he does what every tighthead worth his salt should , scrummage and he does this very well.

2. Dane Coles (NZ) - A weekend where all 4 starting hooker can put their hands up for selection but Coles accuracy at the lineout sees him win the shirt . Loves the wide channels and if the track is dry on Saturday I expect to see him raise his game to another level.

1. Marcos Ayerza (ARG) - Loves a chat with all the refs in every game he plays, the veteran Tiger claims the loosehead spot in this weeks side. Along with his mate Herrera put the Aussie scrum under immense pressure (illegally at times but if you can get away with it who cares) which allowed Sanchez to keep the Pumas in touch throughout the game.  

Mark Jackson (@markusjacksonus) An Irishman in London....lover of rugby , NFL and family n friends not always in that order..consumer of meat , best friend to Wayne Barnes . All views my own and always open for a lively debate . Ireland , Leinster and the New York Giants fanatic.


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Taken by JLP from RDS press box on Nov 16, 2019