Tuesday 23 October 2007

All credit to…

I’m going to sign off the 2007 Rugby World Cup with my best and worst team of the tournament. Also, for me South African flanker Juan Smith was the player of the tournament. He was awesome throughout, always first to the breakdown, available in the loose and strong in the tackle. Notable mentions also, for Victor Matfield (SA), Felipe Contepomi (Arg) and Jason Robinson (Eng).

My best IX

Backs: 15.Montgomery, 14.Clerc, 13.Rabeni, 12.Contepomi, 11.Habana, 10.Hernandez, 9.du Preez
Forwards: 8.Bonnaire, 7.Smith, 6.Collins, 5.Matfield, 4.Shaw, 3.van der Linde, 2.Smit, 1.Sheridan
Subs: 16.Ledesma, 17.du Randt, 18.AW Jones, 19.Longo, 20.Ellisade, 21.James, 22.Robinson
Coach: White

No one will agree with all of my selections but I think it’s quite balanced. Nine South Africans in the 22 is reasonable given they were the only team to play well start to finish. Four Argentineans, three each for England and France and one each for Fiji, New Zealand and Wales, complete the squad.
I think Fiji earned a player in the top team and Rabeni capitalized on an average World Cup by many of the best outside centres on display. While Collins and Alun Wyn Jones were picked as the stand-out players on their otherwise misfiring teams.

And now the other end of the spectrum!!
My worst IX
Backs: 15.Bortolussi, 14.Rokocoko, 13.Muliana, 12.D’arcy, 11.Hickie, 10.O’Gara, 9.Stringer
Forwards: 8.Leamy, 7.Bergamasco, 6.Chabal, 5.O’Connell, 4.Jack, 3.Horsman, 2.Ibanez, 1.Castrogiovanni
Subs: 16.Rees, 17.Horan, 18.O’Callaghan, 19.Popham, 20.Troncon, 21.Skrela, 22.Shanklin
Coach: Henry, but O’Sullivan and Jenkins are equally good calls.

Eight Irish, four Welsh, four Italians, three Abs and three French. Chabal will be a disputed inclusion I’m sure, but I maintain he’s a one dimensional flanker, a terrible lock and he spent most of the tournament on the bench for those reasons. Not because Laporte doesn’t like him.
Other than that I could possibly have included more Irish players, but six in the IX plus two on the bench is probably enough.
And with that, au revoir from France 2007 (and Wales and Scotland…)!

No comments: