Tuesday, November 03, 2015

RWC Team of the Tournament

Throughout RWC2015 Mark Jackson

has been offering his “Teams of the Week”

 

Click these links for his teams from...

week 1 week 2 week 3 week 4 QF SF

Today we’ll see his team of the tournament along with a 2nd XV

He has also come up with a “Tier 2 XV” and a “Flop XV”

we’ll post them tomorrow

Carter McCaw

So it is over. The general consensus is the best final in the best tournament and who am I to argue with that . From the shock of Japan beating the Boks in Brighton  to the superfluous performances in the 1/4 finals this tournament had it all and some more.

And so to the final selections. Team of the tournament is always a subjective opinion . The printed and online media will all have their selections and a lot will appear in my selection too . Alongside the first choice XV  I have placed their 2nd XV counterpart. Consistency in performance has been the main criteria for selection , with some players unlucky to miss out on both 1st and 2nd XV selection especially in the back and second rows of the pack.

15. Ben Smith (NZ) - Topped off his form over past few seasons with an excellent RWC. His yellow card almost cost him and his side but his performances on the wing as well as full back see him in the 15 shirt.

    2xv -  Joaquin Tucelet (ARG)

14. Nehe Milner-Skudder (NZ) - If you follow Super Rugby this guy's selection in the AB squad was no surprise. Electric footwork and finishing see him edge out another Argentinian with similar characteristics. A superstar is in the making if he stays injury free.

     2xv -  Santago Cordero (ARG)

13. Ma'a Nonu (NZ) - What a way to finish your international career, shows what consistent work at the basics can do , got better as he got older going from a limited one trick pony(albeit a good one) to a complete centre .

     2xv -  Jessie Kriel (SA)

12. Juan Martin Hernandez (ARG) - The first non AB in the selection , rolled back to years to produce some sublime performances no more so than the 1/4 final demolition of Ireland. Almost had the ball on a string at times never one to shy away from a tackle either , a great foil for Sanchez , showing the value of two ball players in the 10/12 combination.

     2xv -  Matt Giteau (AUS)

11. Julian Savea (NZ) - Bit of a flat track bully at times being shackled in the semi and final but the tournaments top try scorer has to find a place in the starting XV . A wrecking ball when given some space  , along with Milner-Skudder can terrorise defences for year , keep an eye out for his younger brother as a potential long term replacement for McCaw.

     2xv -  Adam Asheley Cooper (AUS)

10. Dan Carter (NZ) - Like Nonu saved his best for last . Injuries over last few season seemed gone and what a difference that made . Always in control of proceedings no matter what the situations , those two drop goals at vital times vs Boks in semis and Wallabies in the final will live long in the memory . Summed up in one word, Class.

     2xv - Nicolas Sanchez (ARG)

9. Aaron Smith (NZ) - Vital to the ABs style of play , buzzes about the pitch clearing rucks and with the best pass on the international scene gives those outside him extra time and space. Quiet enough in the group stages seemed energised by the challenges in the knockout phases.

     2xv -  Greig Laidlaw (SCO)

8. David Pocock (AUS) - One needs to look at his face to show the punishment he took at the breakdown throughout the tournament , his timing into the ruck is the best around (yes even better than the guy in the 7 shirt) and his ball carrying is underrated. Great to see him injury freed and here is hoping to more from the politically charged Wallaby.

    2xv - Duane Vermeulen (SA)

7. Richie McCaw (NZ) - Just keep going and going and going , certainly hated in most countries outside the land of the long white cloud but everyone would love him in their team. A leader of men nonpareil, another who wears the scars of battle with pride. We should just appreciate him for what he is , one of the best ever in any era .

    2xv - Michael Hooper (AUS)

6. Scott Fardy (AUS) - The dog that allowed Messrs Pocock and Hooper the headlines and all the turnovers. A menace slowing down opposition ruck ball and his tackle count and ruck hit numbers were phenomenal. A proper throw back to the blindside , did the dirty work work and a good lineout option too. Massively underrated

    2xv - Schalk Burger (SA)

5. Lood De Jager (SA) - Meyer had his hand forced due to Matfields injury but this baby faced assassin should have been in from the start. 22 years of age and will only get better, offers the complete game from lock like his fellow selection in this XV. Along with Eben Etzebeth they can potentially outdo Matfield and Botha in the future.

     2xv - Sam Whitelock (NZ)

4. Brodie Retallick (NZ) - Like de Jager can do it all , has backed up his World Player of the year award with another season of excellent performances. Great hands and visions allied with a hard edge make him the perfect modern lock.

     2xv - Tomas Lavanini (ARG)

3. Ramiro Herrera (ARG) - Tight heads should be picked first and foremost to scrummage and Herrera certainly does this, has a nasty streak which I like too but needs to learn to control it at times, edges out Owen Franks for his power in the set piece.

    2xv - Owen Franks (NZ)

2. Dane Coles (NZ) - His accuracy out of touch sees Coles claim the 2 shirt. His clever runs out wide are always a great outlet to secure go forward but his lineout throwing secure the starting spot.

    2xv - Augustin Creevy (ARG)

1. Scott Sio (AUS) - A blinding season from the Australian prop. Benefited from the new coaching setup and took his chances well. Sometimes a players true value is recognised when they are missing and the much improved Australian scrum took a battering when he wasn't available. Great ball carrier too with a bright future.

      2xv - Marcus Ayerza (ARG)

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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