Rugby World Cup Team of the Pool Stages
01) Campese Ma’afu (Fij)
Ma’afu was the leader in a hugely impressive Fijian scrum throughout the pool stages in which he proved too hot to handle for the likes of Dan Cole, Samson Lee and Sekope Kepu. The former Nottingham prop was powerful in the drive and a menace at the ruck.
02) Agustin Creevy (Arg)
Perhaps proved himself as the best hooker on the planet in the past month. Creevy has been a leader for the Pumas throughout their campaign, he has lead their famous scrum and his handling abilities for a front rower are just sublime.
03) Nahuel Tetaz-Chapparro (Arg)
Another member of that Argentine frontrow that has walked all over opposing packs. Chappaaro has probably been the most effective tighthead of all in the tournament.
04) Iain Henderson (Ire)
Ireland’s best player by a stretch. The Ulster bulldozer has devastated defences with his brute power and his physicality around the ruck. One of the world’s greatest young players.
05) Leone Nakarawa (Fij)
The Fijian giant is a majestic offloader of the ball and has carried his Glasgow from straight onto the world stage with four magnificent performances. What a player.
06) Peter O’Mahony (Ire)
Ireland’s hard as nails flanker was instrumental to their success in Pool D as a leader, rucker and carrier in each game as he never failed to upset opposition packs or make the hard yards. Two incredible showings against Italy and France in particular.
07) Michael Hooper (Aus)
Despite his suspension for round four, Australia’s Michael Hooper was by far the greatest openside in action over the past month. The Waratah all-rounder showcased his rucking, running, catching and handling abilities throughout September which saw the Wallabies cruise past Fiji, Uruguay and England.
08) David Pocock (Aus)
Speaking of dominant Australian backrowers, by God has David Pocock been a rucking menace. The Brumbies man might have just been the player of the tournament so far, let alone the best number eight.
09) Gareth Davies (Wal)
Excellent operator for injury-ridden Wales. Davies has filled the void left by Rhys Webb in the best possible manner thanks to a series of fast, classy displays.
10) Bernard Foley (Aus)
Stood up when he was most needed and was masterful against the English. When the Aussie is on form he is an absolute maestro.
11) Nehe Milner-Skudder
The Hurricane magician lived up to all the hype surrounding him by showing off all of his class by stepping and offloading past the tier 2 nations in Pool C, much to their devastation. Hopefully we will see more of the youngster as the All Blacks’ campaign continues.
12) Juan Martin Hernandez (Arg)
Hernandez oozed class on the pool opener against New Zealand with some special offloading skills and continued to retain a high level of performance from then on to inspire his side to a World Cup quarter final appearance.
13) Sonny Bill Williams (NZ)
We have more than one star capable of an offload or two but Sonny Bill is the offloading king. Although the Chiefs centre hasn’t started every his game, his contributions have been key to the All Blacks success to date as his running and tackling also mean that the naturally talented athlete has lived up to his name at RWC 2015.
14) Bryan Habana (SA)
The record breaking Springbok flyer capitalized on any sniff of a defensive lapse during the duration of Pool B by dashing in for multiple trys. Habana’s performances are sure to bring him back the memories and confidence of his famous 2007 campaign.
15) Ayumu Goromaru (Jap)
Japan’s goal kicker and key man of their campaign. Perhaps the Brave Blossom could have never achieved what they did without him.
Ronan Calvert of Munster Haka