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A World XV Based On The Autumn Internationals

Guinness Series, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 26/11/2016 Ireland vs Australia Ireland's Tadhg Furlong Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

The 2016 autumn internationals shook the world order. Ireland announced themselves as rugby royalty, England secured an unbeaten year and South Africa went into free fall. How do these developments shake up the world XV?

To provide context, I have also named the players who would have made my XV before the autumn international season.

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1. Mako Vunipola

The loosehead continued his excellent Saracens form and is now the premier man in his position.

Previous incumbent: Mako Vunipola

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2. Rory Best

Dane Coles and Agustin Creevy are ahead of the Ireland captain across the whole of 2016, but Best’s set piece and willingness to carry meant that he is showing some of his finest form in the twilight of his career.

Previous incumbent: Dane Coles

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3. Tadhg Furlong

A rock at the scrum, and a menace in the loose. There wasn’t a tighthead who got near him in the autumn.

Previous incumbent: Sekope Kepu

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4. Jonny Gray

Relentless in the middle of Vern Cotter’s pack, the Glasgow lock is making a fine case for Lions inclusion in one of Warren Gatland’s strongest positions.

Previous Incumbent: Maro Itoje

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5. Brodie Retallick

Missing from Chicago, what a difference he made in Dublin. There are plenty of challengers, but for now he remains the standout lock in world rugby.

Previous Incumbent: Brodie Retallick

DUBLIN, IRELAND - NOVEMBER 19: Brodie Retallick of New Zealand throws a one handed pass during the International match between Ireland and New Zealand All Blacks at Aviva Stadium on November 19, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

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6. Chris Robshaw

At long last, Chris Robshaw makes a world XV. The England workhouse was exceptional in the autumn, ensuring England didn’t miss James Haskell as much as was feared.

Previous Incumbent: Jerome Kaino

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7. David Pocock

Not a shoo-in ahead of Josh van der Flier and CJ Stander, but Japan-bound Pocock was crucial to Wallaby wins against Wales and France.

Previous Incumbent: Michael Hooper

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8. Billy Vunipola

Big Billy simply had a much bigger impact on matches than any other No. 8 this autumn.

Previous Incumbent: Billy Vunipola

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 26: Billy Vunipola of England runs with the ball during the Old Mutual Wealth Series match between England and Argentina at Twickenham Stadium on November 26, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

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9. Ben Youngs                

Youngs edges out the excellent Conor Murray and TJ Perenara. His box kicking has improved dramatically, and his speed of thought is the best of any scrum-half in the world.

Three killer dummies made fools of Pieter-Steph Du Toit (twice) and Nick Phipps.

Previous Incumbent: Will Genia

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10. Beauden Barrett

Who else?

Previous Incumbent: Beauden Barrett

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11. Jonny May

Two tries in three matches after three-quarters of a year on the sidelines. Not only was May’s finishing strong, but the way he covered the back field against Argentina after Eliot Daly’s red card was superb.

Previous Incumbent: Julian Savea

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12. Garry Ringrose

Ringrose was asked to fill in at inside centre when Robbie Henshaw was injured against the All Blacks, and despite being in many people’s eyes an out-and-out No. 13, he was a great asset for Ireland against New Zealand and Australia.

Previous Incumbent: Owen Farrell

Guinness Series, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 26/11/2016 Ireland vs Australia Ireland's Garry Ringrose scores his sides second try Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

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13. Tevita Kuridrani

Four tries in five matches for the outside centre mean he edges Jonathan Joseph to the jersey.

Previous Incumbent: Anton Lienert-Brown

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14. Israel Dagg

After a couple of seasons in the doldrums, Israel Dagg is back. With Ben Smith not hitting his usual high notes, and Australia still not making the most of Israel Folau’s copious gifts, he is currently the best back three player in the world.

Previous Incumbent: Israel Dagg

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15. Stuart Hogg

What would we think of him if he were wearing all black? A devastating attacker and the heartbeat of the Scottish team.

Previous Incumbent: Ben Smith

Daniel Rey, Pundit Arena

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team. If you would like to join the team, drop us an email at write@punditarena.com.