ESPNscrum's RWC 2011 Team of the Tournament
October 24, 2011
Thierry Dusautoir was in inspirational form during the tournament but was he good enough to make our World Cup team? © Getty Images
Vincent Clerc Israel Dagg Thierry Dusautoir Taulupe Faletau Kahn Fotuali'i Jerome Kaino Nicolas Mas Lionel Nallet Ma'a Nonu George North Rhys Priestland Jamie Roberts William Servat Brad Thorn Tony Woodcock
With the World Cup over, ESPNscrum has a go at naming the team of the tournament. We have put the question to you on our Facebook page and although some have suggested a side consisting solely of All Blacks, here is our XV based on performances during the World Cup...
15. Israel Dagg
The fullback edged veteran Mils Muliaina in the All Blacks team during the tournament and crossed the whitewash five times in the process. Despite lacking an effective kicking game, his free-running and heads up style of rugby was a breath of fresh air.
Unlucky to miss out: Leigh Halfpenny, Kurtley Beale
14. Vincent Clerc
Finishing the tournament as joint top try-scorer is no mean feat and he saved France single-handily against Canada with a late flurry of tries. His score got Les Bleus on the right foot against England and he was a constant threat on the right wing throughout.
Unlucky to miss out: Cory Jane, Vereniki Goneva, Denis Simplikevich
13. Ma'a Nonu
We're cheating here as Nonu played predominantly at inside centre throughout the tournament but we simply had to get both our centres in this side. Although Conrad Smith should rightfully be lining up at outside centre, Nonu was the more impressive of the two during the tournament and it was his try against Australia which set the ball rolling as they went on to reach the final.
Unlucky to miss out: Paul Emerick, Manu Tuilagi, Conrad Smith, Aurelien Rougerie
12. Jamie Roberts
The Welsh inside centre re-found his barnstorming 2009 British & Irish Lions form at just the right time. Breaking the gainline with ease and using deft hands, Roberts was the calming presence in the Welsh backline.
Unlucky to miss out: Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu, Francois Steyn
11. George North
The 19-year-old was in imperious form for the Welsh using his bulk and pace to great effect. He made 451 metres up to the bronze final and finished the tournament with three tries. The scary thing? He's feasibly got three more World Cups in him.
Unlucky to miss out: Vasily Artemyev, Keith Earls, Richard Kahui, Digby Ioane
10. Rhys Priestland
Although the missed drop-goal against South Africa would have haunted the youngster, his ability to play flat off Mike Phillips caused opposition defences no end of worry. Perhaps the best indication of his influence was James Hook's inability to replicate Priestland's form against France in the semi-final. The fly-half turned in performances far beyond his tender years.
Unlucky to miss out: Felipe Contepomi, Dan Carter, James Arlidge, Morne Steyn
The Ospreys bound scrum-half was a constant nuisance around the breakdown and performed superbly to unleash Samoa's dangerous backs. Although they failed to make it past the 'group of death' Fotuali'i was superb in their epic clashes with Wales and South Africa.
Unlucky to miss out: Mike Phillips, Atsushi Hawasa, Taniela Moa, Francois Hougaard
8. Toby Faletau
75 tackles and none missed is an immense statistic for any back-rower and having made his debut for Wales in June, he seamlessly slotted into their engine room. He also contributed well in the points scoring department crossing the line against South Africa and Namibia
Unlucky to miss out: Aaron Carpenter, Mamkuka Gorgodze, Imanol Harinordoquy, Sergio Parisse
It was the tournament of the opensides with anyone of eight players worthy of a place in the side. Despite lifting the trophy, McCaw is just pipped by the irreplaceable Dusautoir. Having just scooped the IRB Player of the Year and the final's man-of-the-match award, he makes it very hard not to be included.
Unlucky to miss out: Richie McCaw, Maurie Fa'asavalu, Sam Warburton, David Pocock, Julien Bonnaire, Jacques Burger
6. Jerome Kaino
The unsung hero of the All Blacks' campaign played every single minute of the tournament bar the last couple against Australia. A physical presence at the breakdown and a calming influence when McCaw was sidelined, Kaino was superb in every facet of the game.
Unlucky to miss out: Dan Lydiate, Sean O'Brien, Jebb Sinclair, Schalk Burger
The former French skipper played vice-captain to Dausautoir superbly. Superb at the line-out and around the field, Nallet was the stand-out lock of the tournament.
Unlucky to miss out: Alun Wyn-Jones, Victor Matfield, James Horwill
4. Brad Thorn
The veteran was quite superb throughout and did his best to restore some normality to a faltering All Blacks lineout in the final. He crossed the line against Argentina and was an integral part of the Kiwi machine.
Unlucky to miss out: Luke Charteris, Paul O'Connell, Danie Rossouw
3. Nicolas Mas
Although the France scrum was missing one third of their three muskateers in Thomas Domingo - Mas made up for it with a series of solid performances. While the other three below are unlucky to miss out, Mas anchored the scrum superbly.
Unlucky to miss out: Adam Jones, Owen Franks, Martin Castrogiovanni
The French lineout was one facet of their game which performed consistently well throughout the tournament. The Toulouse hooker faces stern competition for a place in the side, but without Servat they would have struggled to reach the final.
Unlucky to miss out: Stephen Moore, Bismarck du Plessis, Marius Tincu, Mario Ledesma
Scoring a winning try in a World Cup final is a pheneomenal feat - even more so when you are a prop. And the man can scrummage as shown through his dismantling of the Australian pack in the semi-final. A solid presence throughout, Woodcock aged just 31 looks primed to break into the centurion club if he stays fit.
Unlucky to miss out: Gethin Jenkins, Jean Baptiste-Poux, David Khinchagishvili
Coach: Graham Henry
It is very hard to look past the man who delivered the World Cup back to New Zealand soil for the first time in 24 years. Despite falling short four years ago, Henry's man management was superb and he even overcame the unthinkable obstacle of a tournament ending injury for Dan Carter. A knighthood surely awaits.
Unlucky to miss out: Marc Lievremont, Warren Gatland
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Tom Hamilton is the Assistant Editor of ESPNscrum.
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