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Pundit Arena’s international rugby team of 2022


We’ve selected a team made up of the best players on the planet, after an exciting and often unpredictable year of international rugby.

Competition has never been more fierce on the international stage, as it appears any of the world’s top teams can beat any of the others, although certain players stood out among the rest.

It wasn’t easy choosing such a team, as some big names have missed out, although it should be noted that some of the world’s leading players missed much of the year through injury or otherwise.

Without further adieu, check out Pundit Arena’s international rugby team of 2022.

Front row

Cyril Baille (France), Malcolm Marx (South Africa) and Tadhg Furlong (Ireland)

The lynchpin of the French scrum, Cyril Baille’s impact may go under the radar compared to some of his flashier team mates, although he was crucial to his country’s Six Nations Grand Slam triumph.

Malcolm Marx often doesn’t start for the Springboks, but no matter what his role is his presence is always felt, as he is one of the most talented turnover artists in the world and gets through plenty of other hard work.

Another superb year of international rugby for Tadhg Furlong, the Wexford man started in all 11 of Ireland’s test matches and was steady in the scrum while often sensational for a man of his size in open play.

Second row

Tadhg Beirne (Ireland) and Eben Etzebeth (South Africa)

Having had to leave Irish shores just over six years ago to play professional rugby, Tadgh Beirne is now of the utmost importance to Ireland, and was vital in the series victory against the All Blacks in the summer.

Eben Etzebeth has been a mainstay in the Springboks’ starting team for the best part of 10 years now, but he looked better than ever in 2022 as his combination of athleticism and sheer size is hard to beat.

Back row

Gregory Alldritt (France), Josh van der Flier (Ireland) and Ardie Savea (New Zealand)

Although he played primarily as a number eight this year, Gregory Alldritt was too good to leave out as he constantly created space for France through powerful carries and deft offloads.

Josh van der Flier picked up World Rugby’s player of the year award, and it’s hard to argue with that decision as the Wicklow man was exceptional every time he pulled on the green jersey of Ireland.

It has been a poor year by the All Blacks’ lofty standards, although it could have been considerably worse if Ardie Savea wasn’t frequently dragging his team to success with some outstanding individual performances.

Half backs

Antoine Dupont (France) and Johnny Sexton (Ireland)

He may not have been quite as good as he was last year, although so much of France’s good play comes from Antoine Dupont, as the diminutive scrum-half is capable of doing things many other players couldn’t even imagine.

By far the oldest player on the team, Johnny Sexton’s game intelligence is still as sharp as ever, while his often overlooked defensive work is still among the best of any out-half in international rugby.


Damian de Allende (South Africa) and Garry Ringrose (Ireland)

He may not be the flashiest player, but Damian de Allende is extremely reliable, as he almost always provides the Springboks with front foot ball and is rarely bested when he is called upon to defend.

Garry Ringrose is also very dependable, but has plenty of flair in attack too, and has established himself as Ireland’s best centre despite the fierce competition for the 12 and 13 jerseys in the Irish squad.

Back three

Darcy Graham (Scotland), Damian Penaud (France) and Freddie Steward (England)

The pocket-sized Scottish wivelire was at his best in 2022, as Darcy Graham was a constant threat to opposition defences in an up and down year for his national team.

Damian Penaud always seems to come up with a try when France really need it, with his match-winning score against Australia last month just one of many crucial moments he enjoyed for Les Bleus.

England’s year was disappointing enough to result in Eddie Jones getting sacked, but Freddie Steward was outstanding as he was imperious in the air and offered plenty in attack, as the deceptively quick full back found plenty of gaps in unstructured defences to exploit.

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