With the majority of 2014 over and done with we look at the top 10 openside flankers this year and rank them in descending order…

10.Sean O’Brien

There’s no doubt that O’Brien would have been considerably further up this list had he not been struggling with injuries over the last 12 months. There’s no doubt his return will be a huge boost for Ireland.

9.Chris Robshaw

Robshaw has come in for a great deal of criticism over the last few years, however he has been one of the most consistent back row players in the world and is regularly amongst his sides top tacklers.


8.Sam Cane

If Cane played for anyone other than the All Blacks then he would probably be a first choice openside, however his form has been so good Hansen has been looking at ways to include him more and more.

7.Schalk Burger

The return of Burger to the Springboks side has been a huge boost for South African rugby as he continues to impress, using his experience to compensate for his declining speed.

6.Thierry Dusautoir

The France captain may not be the most celebrated openside in the world, however he is one of the most effective back rowers in rugby, quietly going about his business doing the dirty work.

5.Steffon Armitage

Armitage was voted the European player of the year after another outstanding season for Toulon, it’s just such a shame that it looks like he won’t be able to show off his talents at the Rugby World Cup.


4.Francois Louw

Louw’s injury came as a huge blow to the Springboks this year as he has firmly established himself as one of their most important players having also been a key man for Bath over the last 12 months.

3.Sam Warburton

Despite a tough prior 12 months, Warburton seems to have regained much of the form that saw him confirmed as Lions captain and is once again playing a key role for Wales.

2.Michael Hooper

It’s unbelievable to think that Hooper has only just turned 23 given he seems to have been around the Wallabies forever. His breakdown work is impeccable whilst he’s also pretty handy ball in hand.

1.Richie McCaw

Still the undisputed king of the breakdown, Richie McCaw is quite simply one of the finest rugby players to have ever graced the game and is still hugely influential for the All Blacks.


Who do you think has been the best openside flanker in the world during 2014?