Here’s Green and Gold Rugby’s Rugby World Cup 2007 select 15.
It’s based solely on performance at the cup (that I saw anyway) and I’ve chosen each man purely in his position and not in any combos. You’ll notice for example that it’s missing an out and out goal kicker (nothing new there for the Wallabies…).
1. Andrew Sheridan (Eng) – the easiest selection of the lot, showed that a prop can win man of the match through scrummaging alone. Also started to step up in the loose. All this when as this photo shows, he is clearly learning disabled.
2. John Smidt (RSA, captain) – a great leader and forgotten cog in the South African line-out machine. Part of a front row that equalled the Poms in the final
4. Simon Shaw (Eng) – Bulldozed through many a French and Australian ruck, ran and scrummed well. Finally the lime-light he has always deserved
6. Shalk Berger (RSA) – A hard-hitting, bustling pain in the arse who can also jump; a perfect 6
8. Gonzalo Longa (Argentina) – This is turning into one gnarly pack, but all the better. Longo was everywhere for the argies and carried right through the heart of everyone they played.Hon. Mention: Finau Maka (Tonga); for his ability, not just the ‘fro
9. Fourie DuPreez (RSA) – This was a tight one, but Du Preez is the most gifted rugby player at 9 that I’ve seen. Has he full bag of tricks including pace and a great read of the game. Had an off game in the final which almost let in Pichot (Hon. Mention Argentina)
10. Juan Martin Hernandez (Argentina) – This was a tough one as to be honest none of the five-eighth’s in this cup really shone, probably due to the dour style that was played. However, except for one notable semi-final, Hernandez showed he was king of the kickers, keeping the ball on a string. It may sound one-eyed but the best piece of running flair I saw from a 10 was from the rookie Berrick Barnes.
11. Bryan Habana (South Africa) – Simply the deadliest and fastest finisher in the game
12. Luke MaCallister (NZ) – It may be because I couldn’t be bothered watching the kiwi’s thump Portugal and Italy’s B teams, but no other AB caught my attention in the Cup. MaCallister though seems to have the same richness of precocious talent that was last seen with King Carlos. Francois Steyn ain’t far behind.
13. Stirling Mortlock (Aus) – Beavis must be the most dangerous line breaker in the game right now. Just don’t let him kick.
15. Chris Latham (Aus) – Even though Australia went out in the QF, Latho showed he’s got that x-factor. Would walk into any team.