We take a look at the star performers from the 2015 Rugby World Cup and select out ultimate XV from the tournament…
What more can be said about the Japanese full back that hasn’t already been said? Quite simply outstanding throughout the group stages, proving to be a rock at the back and kept the scoreboard ticking over with his boot, a true star of the World Cup.
14.DTH van der Merwe
The Canadian winger will feature in just about every highlights reel going for years to come after scoring a number of sublime tries. He did much more than score tries however, and somehow managed to stand out despite his side struggling throughout the pool stages.
Yes he is more a 12 than 13, but he was just too good to leave out of this team. His try in the final epitomised his class, however he was so much more than this throughout the World Cup, and will be a big loss for the All Blacks as he prepares for life in Toulon.
Giteau rewarded Cheika’s gamble in recalling him with a series of assured performances that gave that Wallabies an extra edge throughout the World Cup. Acting as a second receiver, he helped open up the Wallabies backline whilst remaining a defensive stalwart.
The All Blacks winger had a mixed start to the World Cup, however he quickly rediscovered his best form once the knockout stages kicked into gear. His hat-trick against France was a particular highlight, but he remained a constant threat throughout the semis and final.
Another All Black who struggled slightly during the pool stages. however Carter continued to improve the longer the tournament went on. His performances in the semis and final where nothing short of sublime and helped ensure the All Blacks retained their crown.
Going into the World Cup, Laidlaw came in for plenty of criticism from various fans, however throughout the tournament he proved his value to the team. Making the correct decisions under pressure and knocking over penalties at will, he was probably Scotland’s best player.
Quite possibly the best player in the world right now, Pocock was absolutely incredible throughout the World Cup. The face the Wallabies seemed to struggle so much in his absence against Scotland just goes to show how vital he was to Michael Cheika’s side.
The All Blacks captain was his usual consistent self, going about his business without fuss, yet making important plays at vital moments. There’s no doubting that his leadership was also a key asset out on the field for Steve Hansen’s side as they made the right decisions at the right times.
The Georgian captain is quite possibly one of the best loose forwards in the world, and would no doubt have received much more recognition had he played for a tier 1 nation. The fact he was awarded man of the match against the All Blacks tells you everything you need to know.
The Fijian lock was one of the star performers of the pool stages putting in more offloads and winning more turnovers than any other player during the opening exchanges. Despite Fiji battling to just one victory, the performances of Nakarawa deserved much more.
Another lock who was a stand out for their side, despite struggling to make much of an impact in the pool stages. Manoa still remains one of the USA’s truly world class players, and continued to prove this in a side that disappointed many fans during the World Cup.
One of the key features of the Wallabies run to the final was the huge improvement seen in their scrum. This was in large part down to tighthead Kepu who helped ensure they had parity if not dominance in virtually every game when it cam to the set piece.
The Argentine captain epitomised everything that was great about Los Pumas during the World Cup. Tough and abrasive whilst not being afraid to play a more exciting brand of rugby. Creevy is quite possible Argentinas most important player these days.
Quite possibly the best scrummaging prop in the world right now, Ayerza was an absolute rock in the Pumas scrum. Ayerza proved to be much more than just a beast in the set piece however, making his presence felt around the pitch, most notably so at the breakdown.
Subs; 16.Dane Coles, 17.Scott Sio, 18.WP Nel, 19.Lood de Jager, 20.Louis Picamoles, 21.Aaron Smith, 22.Dan Biggar, 23.Juan Imhoff