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Coral Rugby World Cup Team of the Tournament

| 03.11.2015

Matt Haynes | November 2, 2015

With New Zealand crowned 2015 Rugby World Cup champions, Coral take a fond look back at the competition as we pick a Team of the Tournament, with the All Blacks already favourites with Coral at 5/4 to retain the tournament in 2019.

Full back: Ben Smith (New Zealand)

The last line of defence in a star-studded All Black side, Smith simply deserves to be in this. He made 13 clean breaks during the tournament, covering 526 metres with a tackle success rate of 88 per cent. That’s not just all he can do though. Smith also got two tries.

Wing: Julian Savea (New Zealand)

Quite simply an unbelievable player. Having drawn comparisons to compatriot Jonah Lomu, Savea also scored the most tries of the tournament, with eight which included two hat-tricks. His performance against France in the quarter-final will take some beating.

Wing: Nehe Milner-Skudder (New Zealand)

New Zealand vs. Australia --- Rugby --- Rugby Championship

Winning the inaugural Breakthrough Player of the Year award, the 24-year-old gave Savea a run for his money on the All Blacks’ other side also scoring six tries. He will be vital in New Zealand’s defence of the Web Ellis trophy in five years time.

Centre: Ma’a Nonu (New Zealand)

It’s hard to believe that Nonu is 33-years-old. Playing with the energy of someone half his age, the centre’s ‘never say die’ attitude underpinned his side’s victory. His early break in the final against Australia should have resulted in a try.

Centre: Matt Giteua (Australia)

Perhaps unlucky to be on the losing side, the Australian is a class act. Able to pass both ways, he is a defenders’ worst nightmare in a one-on-one situation and is a master at creating space for his teammates.

Fly half: Dan Carter (New Zealand)

Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2015 - Final - New Zealand v Australia - Twickenham

We could not leave him out. Recently named World Player of the Year, Carter assumed full responsibility in the final and duly delivered on the big stage. His drop-goal highlighted how much of a class above everyone else that he is and it knocked the stuffing out of the Wallabies, who were just starting to get back into the match.

Scrum half: Gareth Davies (Wales)

One of the stand out players for Wales and partly responsible for their progression from the group, scoring five tries along the way. Davies was brilliant in the defeat of England and easily the best number nine at the World Cup.

Openside flanker: Michael Hooper (Australia)

One of the best in the world. His performances at the tournament were outstanding and he ran the show up front for the Aussies. Regimented and classy at line-outs his combination play with our next pick made Australia tick.

Number 8: David Pocock (Australia)

Teamwork makes the dream work. At least that’s how it is for Pocock, who’s partnership with Hooper had the rugby ‘die hards’ swooning. At 27 he probably has one more tournament left in him and is likely to be an automatic selection in five years time.

Blindside flanker: Francois Louw (South Africa)

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One of the most consistent stars of the South African side, who challenged the All Blacks right until the end in their semi-final. He won 13 turnovers during the tournament, scoring three tries.

Lock: Sam Whitelock (New Zealand)

His experience proved to be vital against Australia with the 27-year-old crushing the Wallabies at line-out’s never giving them a moment. All-action in style, Whitelock’s energy proved to be a huge factor behind the All Black’s success.

Lock: Lodewyk de Jager (South Africa)

It’s hard to believe that the South African is only 22-years-old. Along with teammate Louw, he made the most amount of tackles at the tournament, with 77 in total, while also scoring a try as well.

Tighthead prop: Ramiro Herrera (Argentina)

One of the best Argentina players at the World Cup, Herrera did all of the grunt work, which created space for their backs to perform. He never stopped running and was a tackling machine.

Hooker: Dan Coles (New Zealand)

Exceptional throughout and his lineouts were consistently brilliant for the All Blacks. He was also a very willing runner and took pressure off the rest of teammates.

Loose-head prop: Tendai Mtawarira (South Africa)

On more than one occasion, South Africa’s “Beast” carried his nation into the semi-finals. There is a case for Scott Sio being selected here, though he was put under great pressure against Scotland while Mtawarira never wavered.


Re-live the tournament again and take a look at our comprehensive archive!



Matt Haynes

A long-suffering Leeds fan, Matt studied Sports Journalism at university, and has a plethora of multi-industry experience. Having worked on behalf of multiple hedge funds and top-tier investment banks in executive search, he has also had a stint with the BBC and the Press Association. Outside of work, he pursues entrepreneurial activities and likes to keep fit.
Although he has interviewed current England manager Roy Hodgson as well as Rafa Benitez and a number of other names, he is honoured to have spent time in the company of Gordon Banks. Matt enjoys cultivating long-lasting professional and personal relationships, is solution orientated, and supports Coral’s sports content provision.