Only two players from the Six Nations make World XV despite final day flourish
We were treated to seven hours of enthralling rugby union on Saturday but the best of what the Northern Hemisphere has to offer is still trailing behind their southern cousins.
While a number of Six Nations stars have closed the gap, the team is still dominated by the SANZA countries.
15. Israel Folau (Australia)
Leigh Halfpenny's kicking exploits, the aerial prowess of Rob Kearney and Mike Brown, the speed of Stuart Hogg and the growing influence of Scott Spedding can't displace the Israel's, Dagg and Folau. The Wallaby's innate brilliance is almost impossible to eclipse.
Next best: Israel Dagg (New Zealand), Willie le Roux (South Africa) Leigh Halfpenny (Wales).
14. Ben Smith (New Zealand)
Smith is one of the greatest finishers in the game. The ultimate assassin. George North has hinted at a return to his very best form in the Six Nations, while Yoann Huget also has to be counted among the world's best.
Next best: George North (Wales), Bryan Habana (South Africa)
13. Tevita Kuridrani (Australia)
This position would normally be preserved for Mr O'Driscoll but a very operator occupies it now. Kuridrani has the power and speed of Bastareaud but the subtleties to match. A bulldozer. Jonathan Joseph has been the best number 13 in the Six Nations for England.
Next best: Conrad Smith (New Zealand), Jonathan Joseph (England)
12. Ma'a Nonu (New Zealand)
Nonu has been a permanent fixture in this lineup for quite some time. Robbie Henshaw has appeared as a blip on the radar.
Next best: Jamie Roberts (Wales), Robbie Henshaw (Ireland)
11. Julian Savea (New Zealand)
The most dangerous offensive weapon in world rugby bar none. Jack Nowell has announced himself for England with his performances over the past few weeks.
Next best: Jack Nowell (England), Henry Speight (Australia)
10. Jonathan Sexton (Ireland)
The Irish outhalf came back after a 12-week layoff in rude form. An off day against Wales showed just how important he is to Joe Schmidt. George Ford and Finn Russell have propelled themselves forward with their performances over the past eight weeks. Dan Biggar also had a very impressive tournament.
Next best: Aaron Cruden (New Zealand), Dan Carter (New Zealand), George Ford (England)
9. Aaron Smith (New Zealand)
Conor Murray, Rhys Webb and Ben Youngs are now breathing down the neck of Smith but need to find another 10pc to usurp the Kiwi.
Next best: Conor Murray (Ireland), Rhys Webb (Wales), Ben Youngs (England).
8. Kieran Read (New Zealand)
Billy Vunipola is a juggernaut, Jamie Heaslip is a rugby brain, Toby Faletau is a terror at the breakdown, Sergio Parisse is a leader... Kieran Read is all of them in one.
Next best: Billy Vunipola (England), Jamie Heaslip (Ireland), Duane Vermeulen (South Africa).
7. Richie McCaw (New Zealand)
Sam Warburton was immense against Ireland, Chris Robshaw is a huge force in the loose and Sean O'Brien is beginning to look like the Tullow Tank of old. One of them is destined to take over from the legendary McCaw.
Next best: Michael Hooper (Australia), Sam Warburton (Wales), Chris Robshaw (England).
6. Jerome Kaino (New Zealand)
Peter O'Mahony is becoming a world class blindside, Thierry Dusatoir already is one and James Haskell is using his bulk to great affect but Kaino still rules supreme.
Next best: Peter O'Mahony (Ireland), Marcell Coetzee (South Africa), Thierry Dusatoir (France).
5. Paul O'Connell (Ireland)
The Limerick man is playing better than ever. His try against Scotland and his line breaks against Wales were his standout moments of the tournament. He edges out his old pal Victor Matfield in the side.
Next best: Victor Matfield (South Africa), Johnny Gray (Scotland), Alun Wyn Jones (Wales), Sam Whitelock (New Zealand)
4. Brodie Retallick (New Zealand)
An amazing lineout operator with the speed and power of a back rower and the soft hands of a flyhalf. Arguably, the greatest player on the planet.
Next best: Eben Etzebeth (South Africa), Luke Charteris (Wales).
3. Charlie Faumuina (New Zealand)
One of the most gifted and athletic ball-playing props in the world game and at 28, he's just reaching his prime. Samson Lee's ruptured achilles is a devastating blow for a player who was on a steep upward curve.
Next best: Samson Lee (Wales), Dan Cole (England)
2. Bismarck du Plessis (South Africa)
Bismarck du Plessis thrives in every facet of the game. Players like Rory Best, Scott Baldwin, Dylan Hartley and the verteran Keven Mealamu have potential weaknesses.
Next best: Keven Mealamu (New Zealand), Rory Best (Ireland), Dylan Hartley (England).
1. Tendai Mtawarira (South Africa)
The 'Beast' is a fans favourite the world over and we know why. He is so powerful in the loose and destructive in the scrum. Cian Healy is putting his injury concerns behind him and looks the best from the Northern Hemisphere.
Next best: Cian Healy (Ireland), Wyatt Crockett (New Zealand).