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The All Blacks are too good, here's our Kiwi free Team of the Rugby World Cup

Complete with images of 14 of them being dominated by New Zealanders.

‘TIS THE SEASON for everyone to pick the best damn fifteen players you were lucky enough to see play at this Rugby World Cup. But because the cream has risen so perfectly to the top, The42 found itself doing a bit of self-trolling every time we came close to omitting an All Black.

The solution? Just love the game’s first back-to-back world champions for their excellence, look forward to a time when Richie and DC step back to give someone else a shot and round up the best of the rest.

Here’s our (Kiwi free) Team of the Rugby World Cup.

15. Joaquin Tuculet (Argentina)

Argentina were good, weren’t they? And one of the big reasons they were so brilliant (for neutrals) to watch was because they have added real firepower out wide.

Britain Rugby WCup New Zealand Argentina Source: Kirsty Wigglesworth

The Pumas have always had some big boshers and terrific technicians up front, but with Tuculet’s brilliant distribution and superb athleticism – on the ground and in the air – Argentina became the full package.

14. Santiago Cordero (Argentina)

Britain Rugby WCup New Zealand Argentina Source: Kirsty Wigglesworth

Y’know, we probably would have picked this 21-year-old ahead of Nehe Milner-Skudder and Julian Savea anyway. His electric pace on the right wing was the bane of Ireland’s quarter-final and throughout the competition that outside gas made every defence shuffle uncomfortably out in attempt to cover him.

13. Jesse Kriel (South Africa)

Another 21-year-old, but the Springbok tyro made for a seamless transition after captain Jean de Villiers’ tournament was ended prematurely.

Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2015 - Semi Final - South Africa v New Zealand - Twickenham Stadium Source: Mike Egerton

The Blue Bull is a powerful ball carrier, but consistently shows the sensible knack of getting crisp, sympathetic passes away.

12. Juan Martin Hernandez (Argentina)

ArgentinaÕs Juan Martin Hernandez

Ma’a Nonu is clearly the best 12 in the business, but we love a playmaking centre. Hernandez not only brilliantly dove-tailed with Nicolas Sanchez to make hay behind an excellent Argentinian breakdown effort, but was never found wanting when a bit of steel was needed in midfield either.

11. DTH van der Merwe (Canada)

Scoring a try-a-game for Canada is an incredibly difficult task.  Van der Merwe  arrived at the World Cup  as one of Canada’s star men, but his form made him impossible to shut down. A real breath of fresh air throughout the pool stage.

Britain Rugby WCup Italy Canada Source: Alastair Grant

10. Bernard Foley (Australia)

Wasn’t able to put his stamp on the final, but certainly left his mark on the World Cup after getting a solid vote of confidence from his head coach.

Britain Rugby WCup New Zealand Australia Source: Tim Ireland

Managed the same amount of points in the tournament as the great Dan Carter, but also used his pace to finish off some excellent strike moves in the Wallabies’ pivotal Pool of Death clash.

9. Fourie du Preez (South Africa)

A calm experienced head was needed after South Africa’s opening day horror show against Japan and the scrum-half delivered that in spades.

Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2015 - Semi Final - South Africa v New Zealand - Twickenham Stadium Source: David Davies

He didn’t have to do anything spectacular until his late dive for the corner to secure a late quarter-final win over Wales, but every single time he touched the ball he seemed to make the right choice.

1. Scott Sio (Australia)

Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2015 - Final - New Zealand v Australia - Twickenham Source: PA Wire/PA Images

The loosehead made the Wallabies a scrummaging force again.

Do we need to say more than that?

 

2. Bismarck du Plessis (South Africa)

Britain Rugby WCup New Zealand South Africa Source: Alastair Grant

Along with Du Preez (and Schalk Burger, who misses out on this team) the hooker was a key driver of the Springbok recovery. Immense in the scrum, powerful in the loose and solid at line-out time until Sam Whitelock made it a personal mission to ruin him.

3. Ramiro Herrera (Argentina)

To be honest, we’ve struggled to type this name without screaming “HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN SENT OFF!” But we’re over all that now, honest.

Britain Rugby WCup Argentina New Zealand Source: Christophe Ena

Herrera’s worst game was probably that quarter-final win over Ireland, he has been the cornerstone of a powerful Pumas scrum that was as mean as they come.

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4. Eben Etzebeth (South Africa)

The best lock at the World Cup (apart from you know which two). Lood de Jager drew many plaudits because of his rapid rate of improvement, but Etzebeth again proved his thirst for battle as he led South Africa’s big push to the semi-final.

Britain Rugby WCup New Zealand South Africa Source: Christophe Ena

5. Kane Douglas (Australia)

There were some high profile doubter when Douglas made his (short) move to Leinster, but through this tournament he has surpassed his own previous best form.

Kane Douglas and Sam Whitelock Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

A tireless work-rate that took him to 60 tackles in his six and a bit games. Was perhaps missed even more than Giteau after picking up an early injury in the final.

6. Scott Fardy (Australia)

The unsung hero of the Wallabies back row, Fardy was ferocious in every game and consistenly added the bulk that allowed Michael Hooper and David Pocock tip the scales in the breakdown. Not nearly enough beardy lads at this World Cup.

Julian Savea is tackled by Scott Fardy Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

7. Francois Louw (South Africa)

Don’t let the number on the jersey fool you. Louw is a natural openside and was exceptional in a tournament not short on excellent sevens.

Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2015 - Semi Final - South Africa v New Zealand - Twickenham Stadium Source: PA Wire/PA Images

The Springbok made the first quarter of the semi-final hell for the All Blacks, and ends as the World Cup’s top tackler (77) with a haul of 13 turnovers that is second only to the man who completes our starting line-up.

8. David Pocock (Australia)

From minute one, right up until just before the moment Beauden Barrett burned past him to settled the final, Pocock was nothing short of awesome.

Relentless in contact with and without the ball. Just force of nature at the breakdown,   claiming 17 turnovers for his team.

Britain Rugby WCup New Zealand Australia Source: AP/Press Association Images

Replacements:

16. Augustin Creevy (Argentina)
17. Marcos Ayerza (Argentina)
18. Manasa Saulo (Fiji)
19. Lood de Jager (South Africa)
20. Michael Leitch (Japan)
21. Greig Laidlaw (Scotland)
22. Matt Giteau (Australia)
23. Ayumu Goromaru (Japan)

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About the author:

Sean Farrell

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