Despite being a pretty awful year for celebrities, 2016 has seen some wonderful rugby.
We’ve compiled three different XVs made up of the best (and in some cases worst) performers of the calendar year.
The Winners XV
This side is made up of the players with the most wins in 2016, so it is essentially a Anglo-Kiwi XV – with both teams winning the most games out of all the major nations this year.
1) Joe Moody (12 wins) / Mako Vunipola (12 wins)
2) Dylan Hartley (12 wins)
3) Dan Cole (13 wins)
4) Brodie Retallick (13 wins)
5) Courtney Lawes (11 wins) / Sam Whitelock (11 wins)
6) Chris Robshaw (12 wins)
7) Ardie Savea (11 wins)
8) Kieran Read (12 wins)
9) Ben Youngs (13 wins)
10) George Ford (13 wins)
11) Julian Savea (11 wins)
12) Owen Farrell (12 wins)
13) Jonathan Joseph (13 wins)
14) Anthony Watson (9 wins)
15) Mike Brown (12 wins)/ Israel Dagg (12 wins)
Red Mist XV
This is probably one team most players would not want to feature in: a side made up of the individuals with the most red and yellow cards in 2016. Ten red cards were dished out in 2016, whilst 141 players received yellow on at least one occasion.
The USA’s Ben Landry picked up both a yellow and a red card against Uruguay back in March in the Americas Rugby Championship, with his team going on to lose that game 29-25. Spain’s Pierre Barthere also saw red against the same opposition in November, but this time the hosts won 33-16.
Fiji’s Peceli Yato received both a yellow and a red as his side ovecame Japan 38-25 back in November.
Replacement prop Azamet Bitiev saw red as Russia went down 30-0 to Romania in February.
Romania’s Victor Gresev picked up three yellow cards against Spain, Germany and Hong Kong.
1) Azamet Bitiev (Russia): 1 red card
2) Jaba Bregvadze (Georgia), Eugen Capatana (Romania) and Codie Taylor (New Zealand) all received one yellow card each.
3) Enrique Pieretto Heiland (Argentina): 1 red card) / Dan Cole (England): 2 yellow cards
4) Yoshia Hosoda (Japan): 1 red card / Adam Coleman (Australia): 2 yellow cards
5) Ben Landry (USA): 1 yellow card, 1 red card
6) Victor Gresev (Romania): 3 yellow cards
7) CJ Stander (Ireland): 1 red card / Peceli Yato (Fiji): 1 yellow card, 1 red card
8) Pierre Barthere (Spain): 1 red card
9) Danny Care (England): 1 yellow card / Aaron Smith (New Zealand): 1 yellow card / Sean Armstrong (Germany): 1 yellow card / Vali Calafeteanu (Romania): 1 yellow card / Faf de Klerk (South Africa): 1 yellow card / Guglielmo Palazzani (Italy): 1 yellow card
10) Carlo Canna (Italy): 2 yellow cards
11) Elliot Daly (England): 1 red card
12) Nicolas Fretas Allegas (Uruguay): 2 yellow cards
13) Mathieu Belle (Spain), Francisco de la Fuenta Rivas (Chile), Alex Dunbar (Scotland), Malakai Fekitoa (New Zealand), Igor Galinovvskiy (Russia), Alvar Gimeno Soria (Spain), Ciaran Hearn (Canada), Robbie Henshaw (Ireland), Davit Kacharava (Georgia), Anzor Sitchinava (Georgia) and Florin Vlaicu (Romania) all received one yellow card each
14) Julen Goia Iriberri (Spain) 2 yellow cards
15) Israel Folau (Australia), Willie le Roux (South Africa), Liam Williams (Wales), Rikya Matsuda (Japan), Manuel Blengio Penalva (Uruguay), Chrysander Botha (Uruguay), David Tevita Halaifonua Tonga (Tonga) and Ollie Paine all received one yellow card each
Try Scorers XV
Quite simply, this team is made up with the best try scorers in each position. This writer is pleased to see so many tier 2 and 3 nation players included for this year!
1) James Kang’ethe (Kenya): 2 tries
2) Dane Coles (New Zealand): 4 tries
3) Anton Peikrishvili (Georgia): 4 tries
4) Pieter-Steph du Toit (South Africa): 3 tries
5) Giorgi Nemsadze (Georgia): 3 tries / Michael Poppmeier (Germany): 3 tries
6) Victor Gresev (Romania): 7 tries
7) Jaco Otto (Germany): 9 tries
8) Anton Rudoy (Russia): 5 tries
9) TJ Perenara (New Zealand): 6 tries
10) Beauden Barrett (New Zealand): 9 tries
11) Julian Savea (New Zealand), Kentaro Kodama (Japan) and Denis Simplikevich (Russia) all scored seven tries
12) Tevita Kuridrani (Australia): 5 tries
13) Jonathan Joseph (England): 8 tries
14) Israel Dagg (New Zealand): 10 tries
15) Ben Smith (New Zealand): 8 tries
Stay tuned for part 2, where we put together three different XVs made up of the all the best statistics from 2016.
Paul Wassell, Pundit Arena
Read More About: All Blacks, Australia, beauden barrett, England, Fiji, France, Georgia, Germany, international rugby, Ireland, new zealand, Rugby, russia, Scotland, south africa, springboks, stats, Wales, xv