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One Ireland player made our Team of the RWC quarter-finals

Scotland are well represented after their heartbreaking exit.

SO THAT WAS the Rugby World Cup weekend. At different times it was unbearable, awe-inspiring, unreal and un-bloody-believable.

Here’s who we thought were the stand-out men as four more teams went crashing out.

15. Joaquin Tuculet

We knew Argentina were brimming with attacking verve, but [expletive deleted] me!

Britain Rugby WCup Ireland Argentina Source: AP/Press Association Images

The Pumas are no longer epitomised by stout cauliflower-eared props, but by supreme athletes with incredible skill like Tuculet.

The fullback was excellent in the air, brilliant with ball in hand and showed exceptional awareness to finish the try that finally killed off Irish hopes.

14. Santiago Cordero

Juan Imhoff is probably unfortunate not to get in to this XV, but while the left wing ran in the tries, Cordero’s electric pace and perfectly-timed passing tore Ireland to pieces.

13. Tevita Kuridrani

Apart from some dodgy refereeing calls, the centre is the reason Australia are not currently facing up to 20-odd hours on a jumbo jet.

Source: World Rugby/YouTube

He provided real muscle and go-forward ball for the Wallabies. Broke tackles to set up Adam Ashley Cooper and bull-dozed in for one of his own.

12. Peter Horne

It’s not often Matt Giteau is out-shone by his opposite number, but Horne was terrific in defence, his application at the breakdown was top notch and came up with a clever try to boot.

11. Julian Savea

He doesn’t want Jonah Lomu comparisons? Tough.

Source: Will Wells/YouTube

10. Dan Carter

Wow.

We doubted him, but wow. DC rolled back the clock in an incredibly smooth opening 40 minutes against France that made us daydream about about his exploits against the 2005 Lions.

Sitting Pape down with his right hand while flicking the ball to Savea with his left was jaw-dropping stuff.

Source: World Rugby/YouTube

9. Greig Laidlaw

An excellent World Cup all-round from the experience Scotland scrum-half. Shows a terrific nous for knock-out rugby as he dictates the play and his goal kicking would make Chris Paterson nervous.

1. Alasdair Dickinson

Tigerish defence and superb scrummaging. Michael Cheika was careful not to talk his scrum up too much during this tournament because he knew he would meet possessed men like Dickinson somewhere down the tracks.

2. Rory Best

Appeared to suffer an early knock to his groin in the opening minutes, but ploughed on regardless on an uphill battle. Ireland’s best player, unfortunately, by some distance.

Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2015 - Quarter Final - Ireland v Argentina - Millennium Stadium Source: Mike Egerton

3. WP Nel

His low base makes for a powerful carrying option, but it was in the scrum where he really acted as chief wrecking ball on Australia.

4. Brodie Retallick

Another towering performance. Popped up with the block down that put New Zealand into an early lead, carried superbly all night and was the biggest reason France players couldn’t muster up much interest in the second half.

Britain Rugby WCup New Zealand France 'Hey, Brodie. The gap between us and everybody else is about this big' Source: AP/Press Association Images

5. Richie Gray

Scotland needed something big to stand a chance to topple Australia and they got it from the biggest Scot around. Incredible work-rate getting around the field and making life hell for the Wallaby pack.

6. Dan Lydiate

Some criticise that all Lydiate does is tackle, but when you go out and make 21 of them against South Africa you have to applaud the tenacity of the man. The 21st hit was the sweetest of them all as he powered into the great Eben Etzebeth and put the ‘Bok lock flat on his back.

7. Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe

A giant of an openside and used his size and strength to devastating effect on Ireland’s rucks. More than that, he passed like the Pumas’ other Juan Martin whenever he popped up among the back-line.

8. Duane Vermeulen

In a game full of big collisions Vermeulen was the man who was still able produce a deft touch to decide a brutal encounter.

Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2015 - Quarter Final - South Africa v Wales - Twickenham Source: PA Wire/PA Images

The Irish provinces scored some stunning tries in the Pro12 this weekend

The IRFU have paid tribute to retiring kitman ‘Rala’ with this great video

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About the author:

Sean Farrell

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