World XV – Summer Tours 2012

There seems no better time than the present to roll out a TRB favourite and produce our writers’ respective World XVs. Before getting started, these selections are based on form over the last month. If we were talking about the great mythical battle to save earth through a rugby match, then they might look slightly different.

With that in mind, have a look through Ben and Charlie’s sides and post your own in the comments. We’re sure you’ll completely agree with our selections…!


Ben’s World XV:

15. Rob Kearney, 14. Leigh Halfpenny, 13. Conrad Smith, 12. Sonny Bill Williams, 11. Bryan Habana, 10. Dan Carter, 9. Will Genia; 1. Tony Woodcock, 2. Bismarck du Plessis, 3. Dan Cole, 4. Bradley Davies, 5. Sam Whitelock, 6. Dan Lydiate, 7. David Pocock, 8. Kieran Read


16. Rory Best, 17. Jannie du Plessis, 18. Nathan Sharpe, 19. Chris Robshaw, 20. Aaron Smith, 21. Berrick Barnes, 22. George North

A 10-5 split up front to the Southern Hemisphere is a fair reflection of the SANZAR nations record over their opponents in this month’s respective series, which including Scotland’s success makes it 8/10 victories for the Springboks, All Blacks and Wallabies combined against the Six Nations sides.

Starting upfront – Bismarck was one of the first names down due to that performance in the 2nd Test. Rumbustious and hideously physical, he took England apart. Tony Woodcock on the loosehead was consistently class but Dan Cole’s pick at tighthead shows just how well he performed in South Africa. Bradley Davies was a physical pain in all three test defeats, whilst Sam Whitelock plays beyond his years. In the back row, Dan Lydiate made his trademark outstanding number of tackles, whilst Pocock terrorised the breakdown and Kieran Read’s 1st Test performance showed his class.

Looking behind – Will Genia & Dan Carter pick themselves but what a pleasure it was to see Carter rejuvenated and recovered from his World Cup injury nightmare and playing so well. The timing, accuracy and agility of SBW and Snake in midfield means they are certainties. Bryan Habana may lack the pace of yesteryear but he is in a rich vein of form, edging out Digby Ioane, whilst Leigh Halfpenny has to be accommodated for his boot. As for Rob Kearney – a series to forget in terms of results, but the ERC European of the Year still showed those majestic touches.

In many ways, lots of players who were in our previous World XV after the Rugby World Cup disappointed in the Summer series – with the likes of Israel Dagg, Digby Ioane, Rhys Priestland, Sam Warburton and many more all dropping off the radar. It just goes to show that by the end of the November internationals, we could have a completely different side on our hands once more.

Charlie’s World XV:

15. Leigh Halfpenny, 14. JP Pietersen, 13. Conrad Smith, 12. Frans Steyn, 11. Chris Ashton, 10. Dan Carter, 9. Will Genia; 1. Cian Healy, 2. Bismarck du Plessis, 3. Dan Cole, 4. Richie Gray, 5. Sam Whitelock, 6. Scott Higginbotham, 7. David Pocock, 8. Jamie Heaslip


16. Rory Best, 17. Tendai Mtawarira, 18. Donnacha Ryan, 19. Dan Lydiate, 20. Aaron Smith, 21. Berrick Barnes, 22. Sonny Bill Williams

A nine-six starting line-up split in favour of the Southern Hemisphere victors reflects the pluck and progress of their opponents (the anomalous third Test capitulation of Ireland aside).

Cian Healy’s steady improvement at scrum-time and extra-curricular carries are enough to get him a place, while Richie Gray also makes the tight five on the basis of a 238-minute shift over Scotland’s clean-sweep. Having made 17 tackles as his side beat the Wallabies in Newcastle; he might have sealed a spot before the Pacific Islands. Elsewhere in the pack, Bismarck the behemoth, two effervescent Australians, an exceptional All Black and the battling Dan Cole get the nod. Jamie Heaslip – no doubt a very contentious name – anchors my forwards, having almost hauled Declan Kidney’s charges to a historic win in Christchurch amid a heady, emotionally-charged atmosphere.

The backline is directed by two hall-of-fame halfbacks at the peak of their powers – Will Genia was near-perfect in Brisbane and Dan Carter’s return reeked of unparalleled class. Francois Steyn shades the showier Sonny Bill Williams in the 12 shirt after two fantastic all-round displays against England, while Conrad Smith, the master of New Zealand’s counter-attack, slithers into midfield alongside him. Two series rivals take to the wings, Chris Ashton rewarded for his selfless industry, JP Pietersen for some elegant running and deadly finishing, almost certainly sponsored by invisible juice. Leigh Halfpenny, a totem of reliability, is my last line. With composure in spades and a heart the size of a lion, I trust him with my life.

But how makes your XV? Let us know right now in the comments.

44 thoughts on “World XV – Summer Tours 2012

  1. 15. Leigh Halfpenny, 14. Julian Savea, 13. Jean de Villiers, 12. Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Bryan Habana, 10. Dan Carter, 9. Will Genia; 1.Tendai Mtawarira, 2. Bismarck du Plessis, 3. Dan Cole, 4. Richie Gray, 5. Sam Whitelock, 6. Chris Robshaw, 7. David Pocock, 8. Kieran Read

    Replacements: 16. Dylan Hartley, 17. Janie du Plessis, 18. Nathan Sharpe, 19. Sam Cane, 20. Aaron Smith, 21. Berrick Barnes, 22. JP Pietersen

    Hard to ignore Savea after that first test performance. Robshaw deserves a place just on the sheer weight of work he puts into every game. He’s symbolic of England’s change in attitude and commitment.

    1. Robshaw doesn’t deserve a place just for effort, especially not above Lydiate. Test rugby doesn’t reward triers, it’s about winners. Lydiate and O’Brien are so far ahead of Robshaw that it is criminal to suggest he goes in at six simply because he works hard. That’s without me considering the SH 6s who are better than him. Being symbolic of England’s change in attitude is great if you are an England fan but doesn’t come into it when you’re picking a world XV.

      Scotland suffer because their games were poorly covered on TV or I suspect Visser might have got a look in, and Barclay.

      1. Seems odd to talk about winners when you consider how many games Wales and Ireland won on their tours of NZ and Aus.

        1. Wales and Ireland sucking doesn’t negate the point that picking Robshaw at six out of all the seven teams available is a farce.

          1. Sigh……

            Wins in SH – England 0, Wales 0, Ireland 0. All these teams on a level field then when talking about winners. You could also use a bit of imagination when talking about individual players and realise that not all of them play in winning teams.

            Robshaw is not as good as the Wales/Ireland 6s and doesn’t deserve to be in there above them just because he works hard and is thought to exemplify some new England spirit that their fans perceive them to have. It’s bad enough that Ashton is in there “for his selfless industry” when there were many, many better wings in the summer matches than him.

  2. For either of you to not include McCaw shows great indifference to the game. His leadership alone deserves inclusion.

  3. Jim, yes McCaw is a great leader but there were better backrow players over the last month. It has been a fantastic evolution across his career. I’d now agree that for NZ he should be moved to 6 as he is starting to lack a little pace compared to tester year for 7. Pocock is the new master of the breakdown and I cannot wait for the SH Championship to see them go head to head again.

  4. Would suggest that wings may be a weak spot given the suggestions above. Can’t see that Ashton or Habana did enough to get into a world 15. Pietersen was the stand out performer from the Eng SA series. Didn’t see the other games, so can’t comment but can’t believe that the likes of North or pick one from NZ didn’t play better if we are picking on form not reputation.

      1. Ashton was included for his immense work-rate – unfortunately for England that was reserved mainly for off-the-ball stuff as they struggled for cohesion and fluency. Still think he was Lancaster’s best back across the three Tests.

        I was reluctant to include any of the Kiwis on the wings as there wasn’t a stand-out across three games. Savea ran in three tries on debut and seemed subdued in Christchurch, Ben Smith was quietly good in a bit-part role and Hosea Gear had one storming set of 80 minutes.

        Have to admit the final call was marginal – Alex Cuthbert was extremely close…

  5. “Cian Healy’s steady improvement at scrum-time and extra-curricular carries are enough to get him a place..” – I don’t recall seeing anything more than his usual “good in the loose” performance. Owned in the 3rd NZ test, Owned in the 1st, didn’t get found out in the 2nd. There is also the small matter of the humbling at Twickenham. Healy is an expensive liability – an extra player in midfield but pretty useless in the scrum. It saddens me to see him so feted in general as it indicates a further deterioration in the appreciation of the scrum. A prop can now gain yards, make tackles, dance around like an airy-fairy back and get plaudits for playing like a fat midfielder and not lose a single ounce of respect despite being consistently brutalised in the scrums. Makes me weep.

    1. Disagree, Brighty. Healy absolutely wasn’t “owned” in either first or third Test and had Ben Franks creaking at the end of the second. Huge improvement on Twickenham and, added to his usual “good in the loose,” made him a stand-out.

  6. No Willem Alberts??? He should have been first on the team sheets.

    Struggling to see how Ashton, Gray, Lydiate and especially Heaslip, Woodcock and Davies made it into these teams.

    1. Healy
    2. du Plessis
    3. Cole


    6. Alberts
    7. Pocock
    8. Read

    are nailed on surely?

  7. I’m in two minds about the relative strength of the SH vs NH teams on these tours. It’s been a while since the NH touring teams got so close to the SH teams but it was such a huge missed opportunity (Scotland aside). This is a pretty pessimistic outlook but i’ve got a feeling the SH teams will come over in November and re-assert their dominance and the cycle will continue.

    For me it’s the basics – the Saffers are stronger, the Kiwis more skillful and the Aussies have a bit more of both (than the NH teams).

    Anyway…for this article:

    1. Tony Woodcock
    2. Bismarck du Plessis
    3. Dan Cole
    4. Nathan Sharpe
    5. Juandre Kruger
    6. Willem Alberts
    7. David Pocock
    8. Kieran Reid
    9. Will Genia
    10. Dan Carter
    11. George North
    12.Sonny Bill Williams
    13.Conrad Smith
    14. JP Pietersen
    15. Leigh Halfpenny

    1. I’m with Alberts. He was immense

      For the autumn games, I think Aus might struggle. After their perfomances away, Wales really should beat them at home and England will be confident having beat them both home and away the last times they played.

      I’d imagine England will also feel that they can beat the Saffers

      The kiwis will walk over everyone though and I’ll be interested to see how the Argies get on

      1. I agree about NZ – in the context of this blog I’m struggling to think of a single NH player would get into the world XV? Perhaps Dan Cole or Adam Jones? I do rate Halfpenny highly but it’s hard to put him in ahead of the SH options.

        So contrary to popular belief my amusement at seeing people like Ashton and Robshaw suggested isn’t anti-English, and the suggestion of them being anywhere near this team is certainly pro-English. I’m anti-NH more or less when assessing the fifteen best players in the world right now…

  8. Agreed – Johnson deserves a mention. Very brave to suggest an Englishman, mind. Never a popular suggestion it seems…

  9. If any England winger, surely Foden? Better offensively, and his boot edges defensive accomplishments. De Villiers was frequently dominated by Tuilagi, cant see how he makes any cut. Totally agree about Pocock V McCaw, he is far superior under the breakdown laws officiated. Also have to give credit where its due, only one Jock mentioned? The only successful Northern Hemisphere team?

  10. Interesting and valid comments across the board. There’s always going to be dissention in regards to who’s the best in any given position especially considering that some of the players mentioned really didn’t have the opportunity to play to their potential, but then a lot of that can be put down to the fact that they weren’t allowed to due to the strength of the opposition.

    What I do find interesting is the ommission of some very good quality players (obviously not considered due to injury or lack of game time – ie: Kurtley Beale, Paul O Connell etc).

    What I’d find intriguing is a match up between NH and SH teams – we have the four home unions that make up the Lions, wouldn’t it be interesting to see a selection of the SANZAR teams do the same.

  11. Interesting points and even more interesting selections. Charlie and Ben, I am a Irish rugby supporter and even I would not have Rory Best near a world XV. Obviously Bismark is the best in the world but it shows the lack of good hookers in wol;d rugby that Rory Best is second best! (forgive the pun)

  12. ritchie mcaw can play anywhere from 6-8 and still outclass pocock who can only play one position 7…big mistake leaving out greatest all black player according to stats..those teams of yours won’t win to many games down south i’m afraid..try again and this time use your brains and logic instead of your heart and passion..

  13. 15: Pat Lambie
    14: Leigh Halfpenny
    13: Jean De Villiers
    12: Sonny Bill Williams
    11: Francois Hougaard
    10: Dan Carter
    9: Will Genia
    8: Pierre Spies
    7: David Pocock
    6: Richie McCaw
    5: Andries Bekker
    4: Eben Etzebeth
    3: Beast Mtawawira
    2: Coenie Oosthuizen
    1: Werner Kruger

    Jp Pietersen
    Morne Steyn
    Frans Steyn
    Ma’a Nonu
    Chris Ashton


    1. Tony Woodcock (New Zealand)
    2. Bismarck du Plessis (South Africa)
    3. Dan Cole (England) OR Tendai Mtawarira (South Africa)
    4. Richie Gray (Scotland)
    5. Sam Whitelock (New Zealand)
    6. Richie McCaw (Richie McCaw)
    7. David Pocock (Australia)
    8. Kieran Read (New Zealand)


    9. Will Genia (Australia)
    10. Daniel Carter (New Zealand)
    11. Bryan Habana (South Africa) OR JP Pietersen (South Africa)
    12. Jamie Roberts (Wales)
    13. Conrad Smith (New Zealand)
    14. Cory Jane (New Zealand)
    15. Israel Dagg (New Zealand)

  15. Israel dagg,cory jane,conrad smith,sonny bill williams,bryan habana,dan carter,will genea,kieran read,richie mc caw,marcell coetzee,sam whitelock,eben etzebeth,irish number 3?,bismark du plessis,tony woodcock or beast

  16. What is it with these world 15’s why is Dan Carter in them, there are at least 3 other fly halfs who should be before him; Sexton, Barnes and Steyn.

    World XV should be;

    15; Leigh Halfpenny
    14; Cory Jane
    13; Jean De Villiers
    12; Francois Steyn
    11; George North
    10; Jonny Sexton
    1; Alex Corbisero
    2; Bismark Du Plesis
    3; Dan Cole
    4; Richie Gray
    5; Eben Etzebeth
    6; Dan Lydiate (c)
    7; David Pocock
    8; Shaun O’Brian
    9; Will Genia

    16; Dylan Hartley
    17; Tony Woodcock
    18; Sam Whitelock
    19; Richie McCaw
    20; Mike Phillips
    21; Israel Dagg
    22; James O’Connor

  17. Dan is the best flyhalf ever,i’m not a new zealander but sexton & steyn dont even have some attributes carter has,place kicking & goal kicking dont make u a great flyhalf,get to know rugby!

  18. backs
    15 .israel dagg
    14 . brayan habana
    13. sonny bill williams
    12 . morne steyn
    11. cory jane
    10. daniel carter
    9 . will genia
    8. Kieran Read
    7 . ritchie mcaw
    6 . david pocock
    5 . liam messam
    4 .Nathan Sharpe
    3 .Dan Cole
    2 .Bismarck du Plessis
    1 .tony woodcock

    20 . aaron smith
    21 . Francois Steyn
    22 . James O’Connor

  19. 15. Israel Dagg
    14. Bryan Habana
    13. Conrad Smith
    12. Sonny Bill Williams
    11. Digby Ioane
    10. Dan Carter
    9. Will Genia
    8. Kieran Read
    7. David Pocock
    6. Thierry Dussatoir
    5. Sam Whitelock
    4. Eben Etzebeth
    3. Dan Cole
    2. Bismark Du Plessis
    1. Tony Woodcock

    16. Roncero
    17. Hartley
    18. Franks
    19. Romano
    20. Fernandez-Lobbe
    21. A. Smith
    22. N. Evans
    23. Halfpenny

  20. 15. Beale (on top of his game)
    14. Ioane
    13. Manu
    12. SBW
    11. North
    10. Carter
    9. Genia
    8. Read
    7. Pocock
    6. Lydiate
    5. Gray
    4. Etzebeth
    3. Alexander
    2. Du Plessis
    1. Healy

    16. Hartley
    17. Mtawarira
    18. S. Whitelock
    19. Mccaw
    20. Youngs (on top of his game)
    21. Cooper (on top of his game)
    22. Dagg

  21. 1. Woodcock
    2. du Plessis
    3. Alexander
    4. Etzebeth
    5. Sharpe
    6. Lydiate
    7. McCaw
    8. Read
    9. Genea
    10. Carter
    11. Gear
    12. Nonu
    13. Smith
    14. Habana
    15. Dagg

    16. Moore
    17. Healy
    18. Whitelock
    19. Pocock
    20. Smith
    21. Cruden
    22. Jane

    1. D’accord, Nicolas L., sur cette e9tonnante impuissance des Blacks e0 chngaer de plan quand e7a va mal ou e0 hausser tout beatement la cadence face e0 des adversaires qui vont tre8s, tre8s vite. Phe9nome8ne constate9 en super 15 en particulier lors de la finale Reds du Queensland contre Blues de Canterbury, deux e9quipes qui ont quasiment la composition et le fond de jeu des Wallabies et des Blacks.Quant au ralentissement, pour ne pas dire le pourrissement, syste9matique sur les rucks, de8s que les Blacks se montrent incapables de re9tablir la situation par aba0les voies le9galesa0bb, c’est du grand art. c0 croire que Graham Henry est tout simplement e0 la teate d’un cours d’art dramatique… La bonte9 de l’arbitrage envers les Blacks semble infinie. Privile8ge de grande e9quipe. Les Australiens ont d’ailleurs anticipe9 cet e9cueil et tout spe9cialement travaille9 le secteur des rucks qui leur avait valu tant de de9boires au match pre9ce9dent. M.D.

  22. 1.woodcock
    2.du plessis

  23. 1.woodcock
    2.du plessis

  24. 1. Cian Healy
    2. Bismarck du Plessis
    3. Dan Cole
    4. Paul O’Connell
    5. Sam Whitelock
    6. David Pocock
    7. Richie McCaw
    8. Keiran Read
    9. Mike Phillips
    10. Dan Carter
    11. Brian Habana
    12. Owen Farrell
    13. Conrad Smith
    14. Sonny Bill Williams
    15. Rob Kearney

    16. Rory Best
    17. Tendai Mtawarira
    18. Richie Gray
    19. Sam Warburton
    20. Will Genia
    21. James O’Connor
    22. Israel Dagg

  25. 1. Cian Healy
    2. Bismarck du Plessis
    3. Dan Cole
    4. Paul O’Connell
    5. Sam Whitelock
    6. David Pocock
    7. Richie McCaw
    8. Keiran Read
    9. Mike Phillips
    10. Dan Carter
    11. Brian Habana
    12. Owen Farrell
    13. Conrad Smith
    14. Sonny Bill Williams
    15. Rob Kearney

    16. Rory Best
    17. Tendai Mtawarira
    18. Richie Gray
    19. Sam Warburton
    20. Will Genia
    21. James O’Connor
    22. Israel Dagg

  26. 1crockett
    2du plessis
    6sean obrien
    13conrad smith

  27. 15. Leigh Halfpenny
    14. Tommy Bowe
    13. Johnathan Davies
    12. Ma’a Nonu
    11. George North
    10. Dan Carter
    9. Kahn Fortoali’i
    8. Keiran Reid
    7. Richie McCaw
    6. Dan Lydiate
    5. Richie Grey
    4. Eben Etzbeth
    3. Owen Franks
    2. Bismark Du Plessis
    1. Cian Healy

  28. 15. Israel Dagg 14. Jesse Mogg 13. Manu Tuilagi 12. Jean de Villiers 11. Julian Savea 10. Dan Carter 9. Will Genia 8. Kieren Read 7. Michael Hooper 6. Siya Kolisi 5. Sam Whitelock 4. Eben Etzebeth 3. Owen Franks 2. Bismark Du Plessies 1. Beast Mtawarira 16. Flynn 17. Cole 18. Bekker 19. Robshaw 20. Hougaard 21. Cooper 22. Halfpenny

  29. 1.Beast. 2.Bismarc. 3.Coles. 4.Etzebeth. 5.Whitelock. 6.Dosautior 7.Mccaw. 8.Read. 9.Genia. 10.Carter 11.Habana. 12.Nonu. 13.Tuilagi. 14.Folau. 15.Dagg
    16.Moore. 17.Janie. 18.Grey. 19.O’Brien. 20.Lobbe. 21.Phillips. 22.Cooper. 23.Smith

  30. My 2014 Rugby World XV:

    15. Israel Dagg
    14. Israel Folau
    13. Jean De Villiers
    12. Jamie Roberts
    11. Julien Savea
    10. Daniel Carter
    9. Will Genia

    1. Alex Corbersiero
    2. Bismarck Du Plessis
    3. Owen Franks
    4. Alun Wyn Jones
    5. Eben Etzebeth
    6. Thierry Dusatoir
    7. Richie McCaw
    8. Kieran Read


    16. Richard Hibbard
    17. Cian Healy
    18. Samson Lee
    19. George Whitelock
    20. Sean O’ Brien
    21. Aaron Smith
    22. Quade Cooper
    23. Bryan Habana

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