Welcome to what we consider as the best possible backline in World Rugby. Do you agree with our selection? Tell us below.
09) Aaron Smith (New Zealand)
]The Conor Murray/ Ruan Pienaar/ Aaron Smith argument has lived on for quite a while now, but the Highlander has really come of age this year. Smith has shown pace, intelligence and demand in the Super Rugby and was key to the ‘Laders successesful campaign. The All Blacks back up 9 was equally as impressive in the last 6 months as he finished the season as the top try scorer in Super Rugby and has therefore slipped in as the world’s number two for us:
Understudy: TJ Perenara
10) Johnny Sexton (IRELAND)
Johnny Sexton is undoubtedly a world class goal kicker, playmaker and leader but the outhalf position was still a tricky one to decide on. George Ford and Handre Pollard came into consideration but perhaps it’s a bit early for them, Dan Carter has looked back to his old ways at last in recent games but his fellow competitors for the All Black shirt Beaude Barrett and Aaron Cruden slipped down the pecking order due to bad form and injury respectively. Sexton has also had a torrid time in Paris and on the injury front in 2015 but is still decided as worthy of the title because when he’s fully fit and firing for Ireland, there’s simply nobody better.
Understudy: Dan Carter
12) Ma’a Nonu (New zealand)
The New Zealand legend has not had a better season in well over five years. The 105 kg Hurricane had been in devastating form in Super Rugby and bulldozerred over for a try against Argentina in the Rugby Championship this weekend. Definitely going to cause havoc in the World Cup.
Understudy: Sonny Bill Williams
13) Jonathan Joseph (England)
Perhaps we’re sticking our necks out with this one but the Bath flyer has been the ultimate danger man for and club and country this year. His outstanding Six Nations performances outlined his pace, agility and his ability to spot a gap. on a frequent basis. These qualities were carried over from the England scene to The Rec for Bath where he continued to grow to stardom each week. Picking him ahead of the likes of Conrad Smith and Tevita Kuridrani might seem ludicrous right now but we’re confident of Joseph justifying his selection come cup time.
Understudy: Tevita Kuridrani
11) jULIAN sAVEA (nEW zEALAND)
Probably the best player in the world, ‘The Bus’ has once again continued his favourite past time of bouncing off defenders each week for the Hurricanes in Super Rugby. His record of 30 tries for the All Blacks in just 31 starts is a rather frightening statistic and he is sure to add to that tally for New Zealand in the next three months. Lomu 2.0
Understudy: Adam-Ashley Cooper
14) ben sMITH (neW ZEALAND)
Primarily a fullback but is generally played out wide for New Zealand. In an era where physicality dominates the game, Smith has enough skill, intelligence and gas to score tries and create chances in off his wing. Many have backed him to be the tournaments top try scorer off the back of his consistently inspirational Highlanders performances and he is therefore beyond Bryan Habana, Tommy Bowe and George North in our opinion.
Understudy: Bryan Habana
15) Israel Folau (AUSTRALIA)
Rugby is truly flooded with fantastic fullbacks at the moment but in a recent video in which we decided who’s best, we went with the Waratah. Folau has been a sensation following his conversion from Rugby League and usually breaks opposing defensive lines with ease, dominates in the air and covers the backfield with his exceptional tackling and kicking techniques. RTE analyst Conor O’Shea described the fullback as a “freak” and that sounds just about right to us.
Understudy: Leigh Halfpenny
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