Sunday 13 October 2019

World Cup semi-finalists Dream Team

Six Kiwis, four Wallabies, three Springboks and two Argentinians make up the combined selection

Richie McCaw, Bryan Habana and Bernard Foley make our combined XV
Richie McCaw, Bryan Habana and Bernard Foley make our combined XV

Eoin Harrington

With the Rugby World Cup semi-finals fast approaching, we decided to take a look at our best starting fifteen from the four southern hemisphere giants. With some big names left out, it was no easy task.

15. Ben Smith (New Zealand)

The Highlanders full back has scored two tries in the tournament and has made an astonishing 400 metres through 22 carries over the gainline.

14. Julian Savea (New Zealand)

The star of the tournament for New Zealand, Savea is the first man in history to score multiple hat tricks at a single World Cup. Left French defebenders mentally and physically battered in quarter-final.

13 – Tevita Kuridrani (Australia)

- The Australian man has been one of the Wallabies most impressive players of the World Cup so far, scoring a crucial try in the second half against Scotland. Just edges Conrad Smith

12. Ma’a Nonu (New Zealand)

The 33-year-old centre has been his usual efficient self, making three turnovers, beating eleven defenders and making twelve carries over the gainline.

11. Bryan Habana (South Africa)

- With the Toulon wing on the verge of breaking the World Cup try-scoring record, it wouldn’t seem right to exclude him from the team. Juan Imhoff unlucky to miss out, along with Nehe Milner-Skudder but the record breaker gets the nod.

10. Bernard Foley (Australia)

Another marginal call, Foley beats Dan Carter and Nicolas Sanchez to the ten spot. A breath-taking 26-point display against England was followed by crucial key kicks against Wales in a low-scoring encounter. Radar was off against Scotland, but at the death showed nerves of steel to kick Wallabies into the last four.

9. Fourie du Preez (South Africa)

The veteran scrum half has been exceptional in the World Cup since returning to the side, arguably South Africa’s best player. One of only eight in the current Springbok squad left from the winning team of 2007

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1. Marcos Ayzera (Argentina)

-The scrum has been hugely influential for Argentina so far in this World Cup and Ayzera has been to the fore. The Leicester front row has been one of the standout talents of this tournament.

2. Dan Coles (New Zealand)

While other country’s hookers have been inconsistent or have been chopped and changed, Coles has been consistently solid for New Zealand. Will face a stern test against the Springboks lineout in the semi-final.

3. Sekope Kepu (Australia)

The Aussie prop has been outstanding, especially as the often-maligned Wallaby scrum bullied England in the pool stages.

4. Brodie Retallick (New Zealand)

-The 2014 IRB Player of the Year got the ball rolling for the All Blacks against France with his try and has maintained his lofty levels of performance.

5. Kane Douglas (Australia)

Yes, the same Kane Douglas that failed to show similar form in a Leinster jersey during his short Irish stay. The hard-working lock has made 43 tackles throughout the competition and has made his presence known in each and every game.

6 . Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe (Argentina)

David Pocock misses out here due to injury , though the veteran Fernandez-Lobbe is an a capable performer. Argentina have caught the eyes of many in this World Cup and Lobbe has been their leader and their outstanding player in the pack.

7. Richie McCaw (New Zealand)

The All Blacks captain has perhaps been lucky to avoid the wrath of the referees, but the Kiwi has made his name by playing on the edge of the rules. McCaw has won four turnovers, carrying 67 metres and making 35 tackles.

8. Duane Vermuelen (South Africa)

The back row was the most hotly contested area of the pitch and Kieran Read narrowly misses out due to the lack of true tests for New Zealand – Vermuelen’s impact for South Africa has been truly exceptional. The pass for Du Preez for the crucial late try against Wales will be replayed for years to come.

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