The 2009 World XV: do you agree?

Today’s Advent Calendar treat is The Rugby Blog’s 2009 World XV, which has been a few weeks in the making, and there have been some very difficult decisions to be made.

Mils Muliaina and Bryan Habana continue to impress, and still seem to be the best players in their positions in the world. Habana’s hat-trick for the Barbarians capped a fine season in which he won the Super 14 and Currie Cup with the Bulls, a Lions series and the Tri-Nations, so is thoroughly deserving of his place on one wing.

The other wing position is up for debate, but Cedric Heymans gets the nod in our team. France have had a terrific year, beating the All Blacks twice, and Heyman’s try in their victory in July cemented his position.

Tommy Bowe and Sitiveni Sivivatu both deserve a mention, and there may be other candidates that you can build a case for.

In the centres, we have selected Jamie Roberts and Brian O’Driscoll after their performances for the Lions suggested that this might be the greatest centre partnership ever. Yanick Jauzion came close, but it’s difficult to split up this pair.

At fly-half, Dan Carter missed out very narrowly, and he might feel a little aggrieved after some outstanding performances later in the year – particularly against France last week. I don’t necessarily think Morne Steyn is the best fly-half in the world, but his contributions this year have been so important – and having someone who can kick goals from almost anywhere on the park is fairly handy.

Fourie du Preez is selected at scrum-half, and given that many rugby fans think he should have been the IRB Player of the Year, it’s difficult to argue with his selection.

The front row caused a few selection headaches, and The Beast is in at loosehead after his destructive efforts in the Lions series. Zimbabwean or not, he has been a crucial part of South Africa’s success and deserves his place.

Adam Jones lines up on the other side of the scrum, with Frenchman William Servat at hooker. Some might argue that John Smit should be in both of these positions in a World XV, but whilst you would love to have him in your side as a leader of men, he isn’t necessarily the best player. Gethin Jenkins is also unfortunate to miss out after impressing for Wales, but this isn’t a bad front row.

Simon Shaw is the only Englishman in the side and lines up alongside Victor Matfield in the second row. Both have put in gargantuan performances and played key roles in the Lions series for their respective teams.

And finally, the back row. Thierry Dusautoir has led his French team by example, he has been instrumental in their aggressive performances this year, and in my view is streets ahead of Player of the Year-nominee Tom Croft.

At openside flanker, there is a raft of talent to choose from. Richie McCaw needs very little introduction, and David Pocock would have been a shoo-in if he had played more games this season – he’s already pencilled in for next year’s team, and seems to be one of the finest players around. Heinrich Brussow wears the seven shirt though after some of the most eye-catching efforts for South Africa.

Jamie Heaslip takes the final place in the side, and having won the Six Nations Grand Slam, the Heineken Cup, started all three Lions Tests and was a standout player in all of those games, he is the ideal man to have at the base of the scrum.

So here is the full lineup – let me know what you think.

15. Mils Muliaina
14. Cedric Heymans
13. Brian O’Driscoll
12. Jamie Roberts
11. Bryan Habana
10. Morne Steyn
9. Fourie du Preez
8. Jamie Heaslip
7. Heinrich Brussow
6. Thierry Dusautoir
5. Victor Matfield
4. Simon Shaw
3. Adam Jones
2. William Servat
1. Tendai Mtawarira

16 thoughts on “The 2009 World XV: do you agree?

  1. No mention of Paul O’Connell? He captained the Lions and led by example. In the November tests he was on great form, winning any number of turnovers, not to mention destroying the South African lineout (and Matfield in particular). Munster have been off-colour lately but POC has been consistently intense and dominant on the field.
    Glad to see Simon shaw in there, and Jamie Heaslip too – both of them have had stellar years.
    Not sure about The Beast though. Bar one mis-match against Vickery he hasn’t shone. But then again, I’m not sure who’d take his place on the squad either.

  2. You are right, POC deserves a mention and could easily slot in ahead of Shawsy. He’s had a great year, and a particular highlight for me is him learning Afrikaans so that he could decipher the Boks’ lineout calls!

  3. Only change would be POC in for Shaw – Tough on Shaw I know but POC has had a great year and is the outstanding NH lock around

  4. POC learning Afrikaans? never knew that – what a legend.

    I’d have to put Gethin Jenkins in there – he’s a phenomenal player. Does his bit in the set pieces and acts like a 4th back rower in the loose. The amount of (often try-saving) tackles he makes by tracking back is incredible.

    Also, no matter how good a year Morne Steyn has had I don’t think you can put him ahead of Carter, or Giteau for that matter, both of whom have a very high percentage conversion-ratio…and with Carter taking on anything in the oppo half that ain’t bad.

  5. You have to have Kearney in at full back, and Bowe on the wing – especially after what they’ve both acheived for Ireland and the Lions!

  6. Jenkins would be my first pick for ANY team. He ran down Habana in one test and covered across from a scrummage to stop the All Blacks right winger last month. The “beast” couldn’t live with him in the tight and hasn’t got his hands or mobility.
    O’Connell is a great player but was a big disappointment on the Lions tour and only kept his place in the tests because he was skipper.

  7. POC sucks ok just face it matfield is so much better he got owned in the lions series. And that person who said carter and giteau have better percentage ratios than steyn must be an idiot

  8. Um, not much impression made by many All Blacks then?

    OK, Sivivatu vs Habana is a 50/50 call, but Corey Jane would certainly make it on the right wing for me, and Keiren Reid was also something of a find for them….McCaw and Carter are still obviously the best in their respective positions in the world.

    Moreover, France beat them just once, not twice as you have said. They lost the overall series 2-1, and won the first when neither McCaw or Carter were present.

  9. totally disagree with that team how come there are 2 irish players and 1 all black it doesn’t really make sense especially when ireland can’t beat the all blacks i also think odriscoll is overrated and the same can be said of morne steyn he is just a kicker and thats it he doesn’t do anything else but kick the ball he barely takes on the line and he barely does anything of any significance during the game all he does is play behind a south african forward pack that dominates opposition anyways here is my team
    1 beast
    2bismark du plessis
    3carl hayman
    6thierry dusatoir
    9du preez
    12jamie roberts
    13conrad smith

    18issac ross
    20jimmy cowan
    22cory jane

  10. Kelly C, you are obviously biased in your opinion, the all blacks had a poor year by their own standard while Ireland won the grandslam, leinster won the heineken cup and Munster won the ,magners league. We didn’t play the all blacks in 2009 which is a pity because on their form they probably would have beaten a sub-par all blacks

    1 Tendai Mtawrira
    2 William Servat
    3 Adam Jones
    4 Bakkies Botha
    5 Victor Matfield
    6 Thierry Dusatoir
    7 Heinrich Brussow
    8 Jamie Heaslip
    9 Fourie Du Preez
    10 Matt Giteau
    11 Bryan Habana
    12 Jamie Roberts
    13 Brian O’Driscoll
    14 Tommy Bowe
    15 Mils Muliana

    I know its very similar to the one the team picked in the blog, Front Row forward play is not an area i am very well versed in so having been impressed with the players chosen i stuck with those already chosen though i was also very impressed with gethin jenkins. Second row i think an excellent lions series would not be enough to choose Simon Shaw so i went instead for Botha as i think he is an excellent player in his own right add to that he is also a superb partner for the obvious choice that is victor matfield. Paul O’Connell was good for Ireland and Munster but I feel his relatively poor performances for the Lions cost him his place. The back row picks itself in my opinion despite his superb ability I think McCaw cant be chosen because he didn’t play enough matchs. Half backs i think that when steyn loses his kicking form he’ll be shown up as his other attributes aren’t as strong. Giteau gets the nod because he is a brilliant player and very exciting to watch. The centres this year are obvious, both O’Driscoll and Roberts were outstanding for club, country and lions. I think overall BOD was the obvious choice for world player of the year 2009. on the wings i think habana has ahd an unreal year as has Tommy Bowe who since his move to the Ospreys has been brilliant. Muliana is the only all-black who in my opinion deserves to be in the world XV 2009. He has despite a poor year for NZ enhanced his reputation as a class act at Full back. In the back three i think heymans is always dangerous and an argument could be made for his inclusion. Also Rob kearney of Ireland had an excellent lions tour but was not consistent enough for the rest of the year to demand a place in the team.

  11. john farrell it is not a biased opinion especially coming from an irish team that couldn’t even buy a win against a sub-standard scottish team. odriscoll is over-rated and whenever he plays the all blacks he can’t seem to buy a win against them either i also think the lions is a joke team and you can’t count club performances towards your final vote on a world xv as it’s a totally different level all together

  12. The best world 15 has to be :

    1: gethin jenkins
    2: bismark du plessie
    3: phil vickery
    4: paul o,connal
    5: bakkies botha
    6: Thierry Dusatoir
    7: richie mccaw
    8: pier spies
    9: Fourie Du Preez
    10:quaid cooper
    12:conrad smith
    13:Brian O’Driscoll
    14:shane williams
    15:james oconner

    16:john smit
    19:jaun deysel
    20:will genia
    21:Matt Giteau
    22:Mils Muliaina

  13. 1. G.Jenkins
    2. Schalk Britz
    3. A. Jones
    4 P.O’Connel
    5. V.Mattfield
    6. T. Dusatoir
    7. H.Brussow
    9. B. Kelleher
    10. D.Carter
    11. T.Bowe
    12. J.Roberts
    13. R.Flutey
    14. B.Habana
    15. R.Kearney

  14. You are all mistaken as much as I hate to admit it but the boks are light years ahead of any other country. The Bulls won the Super 14, the Springboks won the Lions series and hammered AUS/NZ in the Tri-Nations. They have to have the bulk of the players.

    15: F Steyn
    14: T Bowe
    13: J Fourie (O’gara saw to his selection)
    12: J Roberts
    11: B Habana
    10: D Carter (Still better then anyone)
    09: F Du Preez (Best rugby brain in the world)
    08: A Harinordeqie
    07: R Mcaw
    06: H Brussow
    05: V Matfield
    04: B Botha (Love him or hate him you want him on your team)
    03: A Jones (Close, good in the scrum not convincing around the park)
    02: B Du Plessis
    01: T Mtawarira

  15. 1.T.Mtawawira (Zimbabwean or not)
    4.S.Shaw (He can work in comms with Matfield)
    7.H.Brussow( Lovely player)
    9.J.Veermark( Never played for S.A but he is a great player
    10.M.Giteau ( He’s had a great season this year)
    12.J.De Villiers
    13.B.O’Driscoll (He can play at inside or outside and swap with De Villiers)
    15.M.Steyn (That’s where he played at The Bulls when Houghaard was there)








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