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20th Nov 2022

Two baffling omissions as four Ireland stars make World Rugby ‘Dream Team’ of the Year

Patrick McCarry

dream team

No offence to Sam Whitelock and Pablo Matera, but they are in someone else’s spots.

The selection of a World Rugby Dream Team of the Year was done by a group of rugby legends, but that still will not satisfy everyone. On behalf of two snubbed players, it has left us extremely dissatisfied.

World Rugby honoured its Test and Sevens stars at a glitzy awards ceremony in Monaco, on Sunday, with a good clatter of Irish players getting recognised for achievements over the past 12 months.

Josh van der Flier was named Senior Men’s Player of the Year, while New Zealand star Ruahei Demant was Senior Women’s Player of the Year. Ireland had eight nominations across a range of categories, and a good representation in the room.

Indeed, Tadhg Beirne, Johnny Sexton and Josh van der Flier were all on hand to collect their commemorative jerseys after being voted onto the ‘Dream Team of the Year’ from a panel of legends that included Richie McCaw, Thierry Dusatoir, Ugo Monye, Fiona Coghlan and Drew Mitchell.

dream team


15. Freddie Steward (England)
14. Will Jordan (New Zealand)
13. Lukhanyo Am (South Africa)
12. Damian de Allende (South Africa)
11. Marika Koroibete (Australia)
10. Johnny Sexton (Ireland)
9. Antoine Dupont (France)

1. Ellis Genge (England)
2. Malcolm Marx (South Africa)
3. Tadhg Furlong (Ireland)
4. Tadhg Beirne (Ireland)
5. Sam Whitelock (New Zealand)
6. Pablo Matera (Argentina)
7. Josh van der Flier (Ireland)
8. Grégory Alldritt (France)

The most baffling omissions from that Dream Team were Ardie Savea of New Zealand and Eben Etzebeth of South Africa. Emiliano Boffelli of Argentina could have been selected anywhere across the back three but was, instead, left out.

There had been calls, by many fans, pundits and players, for Savea and Etzebeth to be included on the World Rugby Player of the Year shortlist, so the pair both missing out on a ‘Best XV’ is all the more perplexing.

We had called for Gregory Alldritt to make that shortlist, along with Savea, but the Frenchman at least made the XV, it seems, at the expense of Savea. To us, a back row of Alldritt, van der Flier and Savea – in whatever order you want – would have been fitting.

There was another Irish winner on the night, as Terry Kennedy won Men’s Sevens Player of the Year.


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