Let the debate begin – Rob Douglas has selected his World Cup Dream Team so far, tell us what you think and let us have yours.
This may seem a little premature, but fortunately that’s something I’ve never been too embarrassed about. Granted, there are four games left but the truth is, after undoubtedly the greatest weekend of rugby in my lifetime, I actually wake up thinking about the game. I can deal with this in two ways: seek help and worry about some deeply disturbing Freudian obsession, or I can construct my world cup dream team from the tournament so far. Better to do it whilst those memorable performances from the group stages are still fresh anyway.
As you would expect, there are many contenders for all the positions. Criteria can be based around one single, earth-shattering performance (ie big Andrew Sheridan) or consistent, effortless brilliance (Hernandez was the first man on the team sheet). It’s also important to try and maximise the range of nationalities, ok maybe not linguistically, but to bring balance and blend of rugby culture as well as reflecting the contribution of every country to the world cup.
If nothing else, this tournament will be remembered as the year of the upset when the Northern Hemisphere struck back. What it should also be celebrated for is the prolific achievements of the lesser nations, and the outstanding contributions of certain ‘unknowns’ within these collective performances.
Reputation has already been shown to count for nothing, and selection can be won or lost in this team far more for performances in the matches where there is much to be played for. Hence, although they steamrollered their way through the group stages, the sole representative of the Tri-Nations in this side is Luke McAllister because (yellow card aside) he was the only man to deliver when required. The Fijians, Tongans, Samoan and Scot may have lost their crunch fixture(s), but the opposition was victorious in spite of them, not because they took a backward step or were anything less than exceptional throughout.
Before Rugby World Cup 2007 began not one of the men listed below would have been considered for the ‘All-Stars’. However, the sight of Ngwenya being shown the outside by Habana and then taking it comfortably proves how awesome rugby’s showpiece can be. There are only 5 players in this side, all but one in the forwards, who can still finish with a winners’ medal. Perhaps in a fortnight I’ll have to reconsider the starting line up but for now, here’s my ten cents worth. Feel free to rip it apart…
1 Andrew Sheridan
2 Akvsenti Giorgadze
3 Census Johnston
4 Simon Shaw
5 Carlos Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe
6 Hale T Pole (partly because it’s just such a great name)
7 Thierry Dusautoir
8 Finau Maka
9 Mosese Rauluni
10 Juan Martin Hernandez
11 Takudzwa Ngwenya
12 Luke McAllister
13 Seru Rabeni
14 Vilimoni Delasau
15 Chris Paterson