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    Stephen Jones picks his World Team!

    Kiwis and Irish dominate our World XV
    Stephen Jones

    On current form, England, France and South Africa do not warrant a single player in a composite international team


    YOU COULD say that the old order in rugby has changed, but only in the sense that there is no order. New Zealand stand so far and away at the top of the game that the rest lie in a position which can only be described as joint nowhere.
    Our World Cup XV, traditionally revealed after the autumn international series every year, and based squarely on form during those Tests, probably does not reflect the Kiwi superiority in that only six New Zealanders make the line-up. Yet the hidden point is that almost every All Black contended for a position, and such is the collective will of that team that there is a case for simply choosing the whole lot.



    Yet that would be unfair to the many individuals who have played to world class in other jerseys this month. We will never know if Ireland could have done any damage to the All Blacks this autumn but, following their performances against South Africa and Australia, they qualified for a putative silver medal. They also have five players in our World XV — an Irish record.

    Another record lies in the identity of the countries not represented. It is remarkable that none of England, France or South Africa have a single player, but what is more remarkable still is how very few players from these great rugby nations were live contenders.

    There was intense competition for places and our XV reflects the strength of the Pumas. They may be ignored by the international rugby community at large, but not by this newspaper. Even allowing for the glut of fine hookers around the world — Keven Mealamu, Raphaël Ibanez and Dimitri Szarzewski spring to mind — the runaway winner was the marvellous veteran, Mario Ledesma of Argentina. His brilliant performance at Twickenham will live long in the memory and there could even have been a fourth Argentinian in the team, with Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe on the verge. The glorious talent of Juan Martin Hernandez edged out Wallaby full-back Chris Latham, whose sublime performance in Wales almost defied belief.

    The omission of Daniel Carter obviously takes some explaining but does not mean he isn’t the world’s best fly-half. It is just that he took an armchair ride this autumn, in a magnificent team. In our view, by a small margin, the more praiseworthy achievement was that of Ronan O’Gara, the living denial of the theory that an old dog cannot learn new tricks. O’Gara’s steady advancement toward rugby’s defensive traffic has transformed Ireland’s options and made the centre partnership of Brian O’Driscoll and Gordon D’Arcy look even more deadly as a result.

    Similarly, our selection at scrum-half does not represent the most talented player in the position of the era. Dwayne Peel and Matt Giteau, for starters, might have more of a range of talent than Byron Kelleher. But Kelleher is such a significant influence with his power and danger at close quarters that he often appears to be the engine of the whole New Zealand team.

    European youth gets a look-in in the back row. Ryan Jones was one of the few 2005 British Lions to play to world class on that tour and his return to full fitness has transformed the Wales pack. The hard yards gained by Jones this autumn were a testimony to power and class. In a different style, the mobile Gonzalo Longo of Argentina was also effective.

    The fastest bolter is Ireland’s Neil Best. Best, in many respects, is a thoroughly modern player, but at a time when too many coaches cannot make up their minds about flanking roles, Best makes up Ireland’s mind on his own. Here we have an archetypal, ferocious, hard-hitting blindside flanker. You station him on the blindside, and suddenly the problems of balancing your back row simply fade away.

    Further forward, there is not a front row in the game

    #2


    I can't believe that Jones has picked ROG after everything he has written. I'm speechless and flabbergasted!!!!!! [img]smileys/shock.gif[/img][img]smileys/shock.gif[/img]

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    "I don't believe in fairytales," O'Connell once told me, "even though it feels like I've been lucky enough to live through a few. However it ends, I'll feel lucky."
    Donald McRae, Guardian Rugby, October 2015

    Comment


      #3





      Good alternativesthere,Haka - I'm delighted to see Ledesma getting in - he is a lion-hearted player and an inspirational leader. For me, Latham has to the full back though - and I'd still rate Corletto above Hernandez as the Pumas full back.








      New infraction avoidance policy: a post may be described as imbecilic, but its author should never be described as an imbecile.

      Comment


        #4
        Got to admit he's over estimated Kelleher. If you stuck Peel in our side or NZs you'd see an amazing player.
        \"A million monkeys with a million crayons would be hard-pressed in a million years to create anything as cretinous as Battlefield Earth.\"

        Comment


          #5
          We have two players who make every world XI with out much argument(BOD, POC) and everthing after that isto be disputed. ROG hasplayed well, carter is better. Best has done well, Collins is better. Darcy has played well.Darcy seems the right shout at the moment.

          Comment


            #6
            Kelleher is the best scrumhalf in the world at the moment, no question about it!! Peel is good but kelleher is like having another forward in defence but has all the skills that make a good scrumhalf. He has a good kick, good awareness, good pass and is hard as nails. Kelleher for me every time.

            Comment


              #7


              Originally posted by Red Hand Hero
              Kelleher is the best scrumhalf in the world at the moment, no question about it!! Peel is good but kelleher is like having another forward in defence but has all the skills that make a good scrumhalf. He has a good kick, good awareness, good pass and is hard as nails. Kelleher for me every time.

              Sod Boss. We'll take Kelleher instead, its too late you say? Bah.

              Comment


                #8


                Some interesting selections there alright. For me the best XV at the moment is the all blacks plus POC, BOD and maybe ledesma. Mauger still offers a bit more than d'arcy for me... Couple of hard calls as there is no one outstanding player at hooker and number 8 - though not a chance that Ryan Jones is ahead of leamy. So'oialo still best justthere just about.Kelleher over Peel for me every time.

                Comment


                  #9


                  Stephen Jones is still a tosser.

                  Comment


                    #10

                    Jerry Collins cannot be omitted.

                    Also I was very impressed with Hook's match against the AB.


                    Comment


                      #11

                      Originally posted by toomey

                      Stephen Jones is still a tosser.
                      No arguement with that

                      Comment


                        #12


                        Originally posted by Ozoyo
                        Jerry Collins cannot be omitted.

                        Also I was very impressed with Hook's match against the AB.


                        Gottit now[img]smileys/redface.gif[/img]

                        Comment


                          #13
                          ryan jones at 8[img]smileys/lol.gif[/img]
                          If the lessons of history teach us anything it is that nobody learns the lessons that history teaches us.

                          Comment


                            #14

                            Originally posted by Ozoyo
                            Also I was very impressed with Hook's match against the AB
                            To be honest, Oz, I think Hook has been impressive in every Wales match he's played in so far. He's only 21 (or thereabouts) and looking likely to displace Jones in the not-so-distant future.
                            Time And Relative Dimensions In Space

                            Comment


                              #15


                              I was also flabbergasted to see him pick RoG (after all he has written).


                              As for blind-side flanker, Best has done well but he needs a good 6N under his belt to copperfasten it. Collins has never impressed me - when he meets a ref (as he does on the rare occassion) he's a major liability. If Burger was fit he'd bestill a shoe-in.

                              Comment

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