Rather than selecting a World XV I thought it might be interesting to select a XV based on the best attacking players in world rugby right now. This isn’t a team based on the best players in each position, more one focussed on players capable of regularly scoring or setting up tries;
15. Willie le Roux
There are a number of contenders for the 15 shirt, however in this case for me le Roux is the stand out contender. His mazy running lines combined with his distribution and chips over the top make him the best attacking full back in the world right now.
14. Christian Wade
Wade is nowhere near the best winger in the world right now as he is regularly exposed in defence, however there is no denying that ball in hand he is one of the best players in the world at finding his way over the try line. His pace and low centre of gravity see him regularly running rings around defenders.
13. Sonny Bill Williams
Although Williams is more regularly found in the 12 shirt, his off-loading ability would make him an ideal candidate for the 13 shirt in this side. There isn’t a single player in the world right now who has the same off-loading ability which allows the dangerous wingers outside him to exploit the space he creates.
12. Wesley Fofana
Described by David Flatman as having “naughty feet” Fofana is currently one of the most exciting attacking talents in world rugby. Fofana’s ability to get over the gain line before off-loading is something to behold and would make him ideal for playing in a side like this.
11. Tim Visser
This selection may raise some eyebrows but you only have to look at the stats to see just how effective Visser is at getting over the try line. When not injured he has consitently been the top try scorer in the Pro 12 despite playing in a poor Edinburgh side, just best not to mention his defence!
10. Quade Cooper
The fly-half selection was a difficult one but eventually I went with Quade Cooper as I’m still yet to witness another player with the same ability to side-step the opposition. This talent combined with his distribution make Cooper the ideal man to orchestrate an already potent looking backline.
9. Aaron Smith
The All Black scrum-half faced stiff competition for his spot here but his constant sniping around the base of rucks makes him the ideal candidate. He regularly makes key breaks in the All Blacks jersey and helps put his side into key attacking positions.
1. Logovi’i Mulipola
The Leicester Tigers man may be a huge unit, but that doesn’t seem to stop him making some impressive runs. With a surprising turn of pace and a rare ability to make hard yards with the ball in line means he slots into this side easily.
2. Schalk Brits
The epitome of the attacking hooker, Brits spends most of his time in the loose playing more like a centre than a front rower. He’s more than happy to run the ball from deep where he has pace and guile which allows him to regularly get over the gainline before looking for the off-load.
3. Ben Tameifuna
The Chiefs tighthead may look like a prop in stature but when you witness his running and ball handling in open play you may be left scratching your head. A real fan favourite, Tameifuna’s highlight reels contain as many powerful runs as they do big hits.
4. Leone Nakarawa
For those of you yet to witness the lock sensation that is Glasgow Warriors Leone Nakarawa I implore you to check out one of his highlights videos. Topping the Pro 12’s off-loading charts, for such a big man, Nakarawa has unbelievable hands which keeps his team on the front foot.
5. Brad Thorn
Thorn may now be 39 but that shouldn’t take away from what a magnificent footballer he is. Despite playing the second row and being more than capable of smashing it up the middle, Thorn also has some of the softest hands in rugby and isn’t afraid of a spectacular off-load.
6. Kieran Read
Read may be more accustomed to wearing the 8 on his back but in order to fit in other players I’ve put him at blindside where his skills would be equally effective. Read is quite simply one of the best attacking players in world rugby right now with his off-loading game particularly impressive.
7. Michael Hooper
The Wallabies young captain may not be experiencing the kind of success on the international stage he may have hoped for but there’s no doubting his attacking talents. His experience of playing in the centres during his youth days is clear for all to see in his attacking play.
8. Sergio Parisse
The Italian captain must be considered one of the most complete footballers in world rugby. His ball handling skills are second to none whilst he’s also more than capable of putting in some decent kicks ensuring he can get his side on the front foot.
Who would make your Attacking XV?