If a team were to be formed with only one player from each tier one or tier two country being allowed to represent it, who would make up the strongest team?
I believe the following is the best way of utilising the players available from some of the world’s top rugby nations.
1. Tendai Mtawarira (South Africa)
The aptly nicknamed “beast” has been a consistently major force in South African rugby since his international debut against Wales in 2008. A massively mobile prop in the loose, his sheer physicality is enough to warrant his place in this side.
2. Agustín Creevy (Argentina)
One of the standout players in an improving team. Ridiculously consistent over his 56 international caps and certainly in contention for the title of “best hooker in world rugby”.
3. Logovi’i Mulipola (Samoa)
Mulipola is Leicester Tiger’s bowling ball, and his position in this team is based largely on his form for club rather than country.
4. Maro Itoje (England)
Need I say anything about Itoje? Nominee for World Player of the Year and the standout player in England’s excellent year.
How has he achieved so much at only 22 years old? A certain starter for the British and Irish Lions next year.
5. Leone Nakarawa (Fiji)
Nakarawa won the hearts and minds of the Glasgow faithful during his stint with the warriors with his phenomenal skill set.
The beauty of the way he plays the game earned him a place in the illustrious Fiji Sevens side that won Gold at Rio 2016.
6. Mamuka Gorgodze (Georgia)
Georgia have been known for the size and power of their pack in history, and none represent this more than Gorgodze.
The 6ft 5in versatile backrower takes the 6 shirt in this team, and walks into the side as the talisman for a rapidly improving Georgia side.
7. Michael Hooper (Australia)
Hooper is preferred to Pocock in this team due to consistent form over the year. Possibly Australia’s most valuable player, the 25-year-old has already amassed 62 caps for the Wallabies, and earns his place in this team due to his immense work rate and commitment.
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8. Sergio Parisse (Italy)
Has there been a better, more durable No. 8 in the last decade? Parisse is at the heart of all that is good for Italian rugby, and deserves his place in this team.
9. Rhys Webb (Wales)
Unlucky to miss the World Cup with injury, Webb has struggled to recover the scintillating form we saw in 2015. Nevertheless, a return to that form would easily equate to being on the plane to New Zealand next year.
Irresistible at times, and fully deserves his place in this XV.
10. Beauden Barrett (New Zealand)
A poor performance against Ireland aside, Barrett is the best player in the world on his day. Another Player of the Year nominee, and New Zealand’s representative in this side, Barrett has made the playmaker role his own this year and walks into this XV.
11. Chris Wyles (USA)
The American has been outstanding for Saracens this season, and with rugby in the US hopefully on the rise, Wyles is sure to be at the forefront of that movement.
The American representative in this team has had a fantastic 2016 and will look to continue this brilliant form throughout the remainder of the season.
12. Wesley Fofana (France)
France have struggled in recent times, and a fifth place finish in the Six Nations was a poor result for the 2011 RWC finalists. Fofana earns his place in this team again for his club form, and is probably France’s most valuable player in the attempt to rekindle the French flame.
Amazing ability to find the try line and brilliant overall gameplay earn Fofana a place in this team ahead of his struggling colleagues.
13. Robbie Henshaw (Ireland)
Henshaw has had a fantastic year. He was simply brilliant as Ireland beat New Zealand in Chicago and he is a great sign of the future of Irish rugby.
A probable starter for the Lions in current form and a brilliant tactician, Henshaw brings balance to this XV.
14. D.T. H. van der Merwe (Canada)
Canada are not an especially strong side, with a mix of amateurs and professionals lining up for them. Van der Merwe was amazing in the Rugby World Cup with four tries in four games.
Canada’s star man now plays for the Scarlets, and has a fantastic ability to find the whitewash with his great gas and awesome feet.
15. Stuart Hogg (Scotland)
Scotland’s best player. Picked in this team to provide go forward from the back. Huge boot and great gas, and one of the few Scottish players on the plane to New Zealand next year.
The beauty of teams like this is that there is no correct way of doing it.
Please feel free to comment on our Facebook page with changes and teams of your own.
Oscar Reilly, Pundit Arena
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