Rugby World Cup Dream Team

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

17 thoughts on “Rugby World Cup Dream Team

  1. I think Juan Smith deserves a look in over Hale T Pole (who is selected instead for the Best Names XV). He’s been outstanding and at least one Springbok deserves to make this side.

    Can the referee be Wayne Barnes? What a legend.

  2. The Springboks have been utterly dominant in every single facet of their set play (scrumming the Fijians over their own try line on Sunday) and not one of them make it into your team.

    Not Os du Randt, the only man still playing from our 1995 winning team. Not John Smit, the man singled out by all of his charges for stabilising the ship when Fiji decided to play rugby.
    Not Habana with his 6 tries, not Montgomery with his tournament leading points tally and not one player that crushed the reigning champions England, 36-0.

  3. I’d pick Nili Latu at 7 and Mario Ledesma (what an utter nutcase) at hooker. It is a little odd not to see any Saffas getting the nod but I would remind you that Wales also scrummaged Fiji over their own try line, suggesting that it’s realy not that difficult.

    Also South Africa have played the 3 South Sea Islands, none of whom are renowned for their set pieces, and nearly lost to two of them, and have played an England team who cleverly decide not to show up in order to time their run to the trophy to perfection. Matfield maybe should be in there and, until he was run ragged by Rauluni, Du Preez would have been a shoe-in.

    As well as the ‘Names 15’, there are also some strong contenders for the ‘Hair 15’ in this line up.

  4. Why is Paterson in the team? Scotland scraped past Italy and looked hopeless for 60 minutes against Argentina.

  5. Yeah, I’d go with Poitrenaud at 15 instead of Paterson. I think he’s been superb, albeit he got denied a chance of playing in what has turned out to be the defining game of the tournament.

    Give him a couple more games and Gomersall might force his way in. Can’t believe I’m saying it of a player released recently by Worcester, but he’s been superb.

    What about Dougie Howlett on the wing? I bet he could do some damage, ha ha ha! In case you’re wondering what I’m on about, go here to see the news of his mature response to the latest choking by NZ:

  6. It was a toss up between Os du Randt and Sheridan, but not a long one – can’t have two looseheads in the side.

    Burger nearly got the nod over T Pole but wouldn’t choose Smith at six. Shaw over Matfield anyday.

    Paterson the only player ever not to miss a kick in an entire tournament – including that potentially important touchline effort – shoe in.

  7. Burger wears the number 6 shirt but is actually an openside – Springboks are always a bit confused. Smith plays on the blindside but wears the number 7.

  8. Shaw over Matfield…I love the complete lack of logic behind including 2 English players – of the team that have done nothing apart from be humbled against South Africa and beat a poor Australia, but no South Africans, several of whom are early contenders for player of the tournament.

    What has Paterson’s kicking got to do with it? Montgomery’s all round game is far superior and his kicking isn’t that far off. Is this team going to rely on Paterson’s boot to win games? Should I then suggest that maybe the rest of it aren’t up to scratch?

  9. Would you just prefer 15 Saffas Nick? Shaw’s got better hands than any of your back line, can match Matfield in the lineout, out-scrummage him and I’d wager he could take him the cleaners at the bar as well.

    Was it the Habana comment that upset you?!

  10. You asked your readers to rip it apart. You could’ve done the right thing and picked a single South African, but by leaving us out completely you annoyed me.

    I hope Ashton, Loffreda and Laporte are taking us as seriously as you are.

  11. Typical northern one-eyed view. Win a couple games against crappy teams and they think they’re world champs.
    World Chumps, nothing without wilkinson. proved over the last 4 years performances.

  12. 1 Os Du Randt (1st half) Andrew Sheridan (2nd), 2 John Smit (C), 3 Karl Hayman, 4 Bakkies Botha, 5 Victor Matfield, 6 Schalk Burger, 7 Richie McCaw, 8 Finau Maka

    9 Fourie Du Preez, 10 Juan Martin Hernandez, 11 Bryan Habana, 12 Luke McAllister, 13 Jaque Fourie, 14 Joe Rocokoko, 15 Montgomery

  13. Talk about one-hemiphere-eyed! Not sure Botha deserves to be there – I’d pick Shaw, or Chabal maybe.

    Rokocoko is surely only there on reputation? Agree with Du Preez at 9 though, he’s been phenomenal.

  14. A Sheridan(Eng), J Smit(SA), C V Linde(SA), B Botha(SA), A Williams(NZ), S Burger(SA), N Latu(Ton), F Maka(Ton), M Rauluni(Fij), J M Hernandez(Arg), B Habana(SA), L McAllister(NZ), S Rabeni(Fij), V Delasau(Fij), I Corleto(Arg)

  15. 1,jenkins(wal) 2,best(ire) 3,a,jones(wal) 4,botha(sa) 5,lawes(eng) 6,lydiate(wal) 7,McCaw(nzl) 8,falateu(wal) 9,genia(aus) 10,carter(nzl) 11,s,williams(wal) 12,nonu(nzl) 13,j,davies(wal) 14,bowe(ire) 15,halfpenny(wal)

Comments are closed.