Alternative World Rugby Dream Team selected, with two extra Ireland stars
One imagines French rugby pundits, and supporters, have their own version, too.
The World Rugby Dream Team of the Year was announced at a snazzy awards ceremony in Monaco, on Sunday, and four Ireland stars made the cut.
Decided upon by rugby luminaries such as Richie McCaw, Thierry Dusatoir, Ugo Monye, Fiona Coghlan, Drew Mitchell, and more, the 'Best XV' selection had four Irish players included, three from South Africa, two apiece from New Zealand, England and Grand Slam winners France, with the 15 rounded out by a Wallaby and a Puma.
That team was collated, and debated, by some serious rugby heavyweights but the beauty of sports [one of them, anyway] is folks having their own, strong opinions on matters. Such selections are very much subjective, even if they are a collaborative effort, leading to plenty of room to argue.
On the latest House of Rugby [LISTEN from 29:15 below], Jamie Heaslip, Greg O'Shea, Lindsay Peat and Jason Hennessy all gave their take on the World Rugby awards, and offered some 'Dream Team' alternatives.
Four players make Dream Team again
Before we get stuck into the Dream Team debates, and alternative choices, let us have a look at this year's selection.
Introduced to the World Rugby awards for the first time in 2021, the Best XVs for the past two years have only four players to feature in both - Malcolm Marx, Tadhg Furlong, Antoine Dupont and Will Jordan. Here is the 2022 selection:
WORLD RUGBY DREAM TEAM OF THE YEAR
Freddie Steward (England): Will Jordan (New Zealand), Lukhanyo Am (South Africa), Damian de Allende (South Africa), Marika Koroibete (Australia); Johnny Sexton (Ireland), Antoine Dupont (France)
Ellis Genge (England), Malcolm Marx (South Africa), Tadhg Furlong (Ireland); Tadhg Beirne (Ireland), Sam Whitelock (New Zealand); Pablo Matera (Argentina), Josh van der Flier (Ireland), Grégory Alldritt (France)
Selecting an Alternative Dream Team
During the latest House of Rugby, six changes to the World Rugby Dream Team selection were suggested. "Straight away, for me," said Greg O'Shea, "I would have had Ardie Savea in there."
Jason Hennessy agreed with O'Shea and suggested the back row should have been Josh van der Flier at openside with either of the versatile Gregory Alldritt and Arsie Savea in the 6 and 8 jerseys. On the front and second rows, Hennessy commented:
"There is definitely case, in the front row, for Cyril Baille to be in ahead of Ellis Genge. I know Genge has been phenomenal, but I think Baille had been in the Six Nations Team of the Week, every week, and France won the Grand Slam. I think Eben Etzebeth should have been in there, over Sam Whitelock. He has been absolutely incredible."
"Marika Koroibete might be a bit fortunate to get in there," he added. "Lukhanyo Am is another incredible player, but only featured in five Tests, this year."
Asked who would start 13 in his XV, then, Hennessy name-checked Rieko Ioane and Jordie Barrett as centre options before settling on Garry Ringrose.
Further boosting the Irish presence, O'Shea said, "Freddie Steward has been named at 15. Personally, I would have had Hugo Keenan in there as he has been class."
HOUSE OF RUGBY 'DREAM TEAM'
15. Hugo Keenan (Ireland)
14. Will Jordan (New Zealand)
13. Garry Ringrose (Ireland)
12. Damian de Allende (South Africa)
11. Damian Penaud (France)
10. Johnny Sexton (Ireland)
9. Antoine Dupont (France)
1. Cyril Baille (France)
2. Malcolm Marx (South Africa)
3. Tadhg Furlong (Ireland)
4. Tadhg Beirne (Ireland)
5. Eben Etzebeth (South Africa)
6. Ardie Savea (New Zealand)
7. Josh van der Flier (Ireland)
8. Grégory Alldritt (France)
So, six Irish players in the Dream Team now, four from France, South Africa still with three and Rugby Championship winners New Zealand with two.
WATCH HOUSE OF RUGBY HERE:
- Full Ireland player ratings as Ross Byrne's late penalty beats stubborn Aussies
- "It's testament to the guy himself" - Peter O'Mahony pays tribute to Michael Hooper after mental health break
- "It was a joy to watch" - Jamie Heaslip on his stand-out Ireland vs. Australia moments