ATJ Rugby World Cup Dream Team

 

With the Rugby World Cup completed now and only the memories and thoughts of how to hurt Bryce Lawerence to entertain our minds, its time we look back at the World Cup and choose our dream team:

15. Israel Dagg (NZ)

The New Zealander flyer was brilliant under the high ball, solid in defense and effective in attack. He put away 5 tries well being part of a very tight defence. For me, he was comfortably the best fullback in New Zealand! Anybody who can displace Muliania from the team has a place in my squad. He scored two tries against France and then helped New Zealand concede only 13 points in the semi final and final

14. Vincent Clerc (FRA)

The leading try scorer at the World Cup who put a hat-trick away against Canada. But undoubtedly for me the performance against England where his try essentially won the game for Les Bleus. A fantastic and exciting running winger, the disappointment will be that he is 30 now and will probably have played his last World Cup Game.

13. Jamie Roberts (WAL)

He may not have had the most influential World Cup in terms of attack, but Jamie Roberts was a giant in terms of defence. His tackling ability was highlighted for all to see and was a stand out performer against South Africa and France. Although he played at inside centre for the Welsh, I have included him as my outside centre.

 

12. Frans Steyn (SA)

This is the reason Roberts is included as the outside centre. Frans Steyn has the X factor. If its not 60+ metre kicks, its huge tackles or great line breaks. No offense to Jean de Villiers (Who was outstanding against Australia), but South Africa missed their World Class superstar in the game against the Wallabies.  He will be a constant member of the Springboks over the next four years and if we can keep him fit, could be the player that leads us to World Cup Glory in 2015

11. Chris Ashton (ENG)

He was the Joint top try scorer in the World Cup. But one of them will stand out for him. In the do or die match against Scotland, England were very poor. But cometh the hour, cometh the man and a last minute try for Ashton left the English fans in delirium and the Scottish fans in heartbreak. He is young and exciting and could damage a lot of defences over his career still.

 

10. Rhys Priestland (WAL)

Having played just 4 test matches before the World Cup, Priestland was seen as the understudy for James Hook and Stephen Jones. Following his somewhat surprising choice as first choice against the springboks, he lept at the chance and only injury kept him out of the World Cup Semi Final where his absence was more noticeable than the Snor of Divvy.

 

9. Piri Weepu (NZ)

Its not everyday that Dan Carter leaves a team injured. Weepu at the start of the World Cup was simply seen as the understudy to Jimmy Cowan. By the end (Lets forget his poor kicking in the final) he was a first choice pick to not only lead the haka, but also the line as he connected defence with attack. His decision making was top quality and in a World Cup where South Africa claimed to have the best scrumhalf, he outshone Du Preez completely.

8. Kieron Read (NZ)

Kieron Read is a traditional hard man in rugby. He makes tackles that are very much akin to those of Juan Smith and Schalk Burger. He was an influential player at the base of a solid scrum for the all blacks and a willing carrier of the ball into the first phase tackles. For me he just shades Adam Thompson into the dream team.

 

7. Thierry Dusautoir (FRA)

Well the IRB found it in them to name him the Player of the Year. The French team were filled with all sorts of politics at this years World Cup and it was his leadership and all round ability that proved pivotal in getting them so close to their maiden crown. His never say die attitude and belief on the field were rewarded with that try in the final and he deserved better than finishing as a runner up.

6. David Pocock (AUS)

We hate him in South Africa as he tore us to shreds in that semi final. Much like Richie McCaw, he did nothing wrong in terms of the rules of rugby. He played to the referees whistle and was more instrumental in that one game against the Springboks than most were for the duration of the World Cup. I think spectators were robbed in that Quarter Final as Brussouw went off early and quite honestly that could have been the match up of the World Cup. He did struggle big time in the semi as Craig Joubert blew the actual rules, but he makes the side on beating a sly dog all the same. He also averaged a mammoth 17 tackles per game!

5. Sam Whitelock (NZ)

The success story behind New Zealands line outs, both in defense and attack. While other teams were struggling to retrieve their own ball, Whitelock was winning his with comfort. I think he also makes this team on the basis that Victor Matfield had a very average World Cup for me.

 

4. Danie Russouw (SA)

South Africans were sweating blood when they heard that Bakkies Botha was injured in the build up to the opening game of the World Cup. Danie Russouw moved to the position which I believe is his best at lock. This was his third world cup adventure (and last) but the utility forward for the Springboks made sure he went out with a bang. In the game against Namibia he ran over 150 metres. Incredible. It is unfortunate that he gave away the penalty that lost SA the Quarter, but he should be remembered for his brilliance at this world cup.

3. Mike Ross (IRL)

Ireland produced the second best result of the WC in their victory against Australia. That was built around a solid scrum. And that scrum was built around the brilliant Mike Ross. He was not awed against the experienced Welsh and battled bravely from the front. A world cup to remember for him.

 

2. William Servat (FRA)

This position would probably go to Bismark if he started for the Springboks, but he didnt, so it goes to William Servat. He had a good tournament and was not overpowered by the New Zealand, Welsh or English scrums. His lineout throwing was consistent and that is the key to his inclusion here.

 

1. Tony Woodcock (NZ)

 What a funny surname. Anyway, he will never forget the moment he won the second ball from the lineout and barged over for the first World Cup Final try since 2003. A prop scoring is always a thing of beauty and he will no doubt have enjoyed that moment. His scrummaging was solid and New Zealand used it as the basis for many attacking moves. Well done Tony.

Bench

16. Bismark du Plessis (SA) – Probably the best Hooker in the world, but only considered 2nd for the Springboks. Was a huge impact player

17. Owen Franks (NZ) – The other side to the Woodcock scrum, solid if not spectacular.

18. Jerome Kaino (NZ) – The beast at the back of the pack, NZ used his strength in breaking up the play of the opposition effectively in the march to the title

19. Manu Tuilagi (ENG) – One of the only good things about England, is not even an Englishman! His line breaks were fanntastic and enjoyable. Which cant be said of much of Englands play

20. Francois Hougaard (SA) – The pocket rocket. The super sub. The man who broke Welsh hearts and grew many admirers in South Africa. He is a special talent that the Springboks are lucky to have.

21. Mike Phillips (WAL) – That try against Ireland will never be forgotten. Probably my try of the tournament. His decision making was brilliant!

 22. Adam Ashley Cooper (AUS) – The Aussies came 3rd, I guess it means they should have a second player in the dream team. That being said, he just shades out Bryce Lawerence for inclusion!

Coach: Warren Gatland (WAL/NZ) – The Wales Gaffer hails from NZ and showed how much he loved it there, with Wales being the surprise team of the tournament.

Agree or disagree, lets see who your team would be. Add your comment below.

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