The best of the best: My world XV

The Neutral View From Sweden Roar Guru

By The Neutral View From Sweden, The Neutral View From Sweden is a Roar Guru

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158 Have your say

    Alrighty, it is time for Coach Neutral to show his hand.

    My selection criteria are pretty simple, I have picked what I consider to be the best XV in the world right now, on recent form, not reputation over the years. Well, almost. Every coach is allowed to have personal favourite or two.

    While most players are selected on individual brilliance solely (to be fair, I think all of them are brilliant), some are picked a little bit more to balance the team and give them an edge in every single aspect of the game.

    1 Joe Moody
    I want my side to completely destroy the other team’s front row at scrum time, so picking Moody is a no-brainer. But I want more than scrum dominance, I want soft hands, heads-up play in the loose and deep knowledge in dark arts also. Moody brings it all.

    2 Malcolm Marx
    It easy to get carried away and lose perspective after one standout game, but have we ever seen a game like that from a hooker before? And Marx is not a one hit wonder, he has been outstanding in a Lions team that has gone from the bottom to the top (almost) in two years time and since his introduction in the Springboks, the calls for bringing back Bismarck has gone missing.

    3 Owen Franks
    Almost ten years of excellence in All Blacks duty and still improving. What is not to like about that? His nous to find his opponent’s scrum weakness and make them wish they were somewhere else is off the scale.

    Can the man read minds? And just like Moody, outside the scrum, he can be trusted to execute everything from brutal and life-changing tackles to flair moves that would make most backs green of envy.

    4 Brodie Retallick
    The most complete rugby player in the world and he performs at the same consistently high level that is reserved for the legends of the game. If Colin Meads and Richie McCaw had a love child, the result would be Brodie. Is there anything he can’t do? And I am not only speaking about his abilities on the rugby field, I am speaking off the field also.

    5 Maro Itoje
    The rise and rise of Itoje has been remarkable to witness. The kid delivers and proves doubters wrong on a weekly basis. A physical wonderchild with athletic abilities – that no-one matches in the rugby world – in sweet harmony with leadership and energy that lifts even tried and tested veterans. On top of that, he is seriously smart – on and off the field – and reads referees and offside lines like an open book.

    6 Sam Warburton (c)
    In a team that would bring more fire and fury than Donald Trump even can dream of, there is a need for a calm head with horse whispering skills to handle the refs, and Warburton is the best around. That he is an absolute beast at the breakdown with no regards what so ever for his personal safety with very underrated hands and skills help his cause also.

    7 Sam Cane
    In a team filled with stars, there is a need someone who does some heavy lifting and looks forward to ‘leg-days’ in the gym. I also like the idea of a seven that master the clean-out tackle with the same precision Conor McGregor lands his left hand (and with the same devastating effect).

    8 Kieran Read
    With Warburton and Cane heavy involved in the nitty-gritty stuff, Read would be able to roam in the wider channels where he is simply the best. And with Read around, any possible weakness Marx have as a lineout thrower is negated.

    9 Aaron Smith
    One of the first players on my team sheet. Plays on a different level than any other scrum-half in the world. His passes are so crisp that they could cut through diamonds and the speed of thought, legs and hands are frightening. And to come back to this level after all the commotion he had to deal with – and still dealing with – off the pitch tells a story of incredible mental strength.

    10 Owen Farrell
    Even my team will have an off day at times and for those days I want a kicker I can rely on to slot home pressure kicks. But I am not selecting Farrell solely for his kicking skills. He is a dedicated and well-rounded flyhalf with a mind committed to improving himself and the team. Also handy to have a direct line to Daddy Farrell is we should need some tactical advice.

    11 Rieko Ioane
    The latest flash flyer from the wing production line down in New Zealand. With ball in hand, he might be the fastest man in rugby these days. Reads the game very well and is totally fearless in contact situations. If a defender wants to take Ioane down, he better bring a couple of friends and a sledgehammer.

    12 Ryan Crotty
    The aim for my team is not only to score ten tries on average, but we would proud ourself to keep clean sheets also. Crotty is Mr Reliable that cleans up after everyone else and firmly closes any minor gaps that might occur on a bad day.

    13 Jonathan Davies
    Moulded in the same fabric as Crotty, he gives you 80 mistake-free minutes. Just like Crotty, he keeps things nice and tidy, and the pressure these two would put on the opponents would make it hard for them to even get out of their own 22 with the ball in hand.

    14 Israel Folau
    With so much talent around him – and coach who believes in him, plays him in the right position, and design tactics to get the pill out wide a lot – he would be able to showcase his strengths non-stop.

    15 Ben Smith
    Every coach has a few favourite players that they will put their trust in even at the darkest night. To me, Ben Smith is that player. On average he makes about three four mistakes a season. There are no flaws or weaknesses in his game and if there was a Nobel Prize in Rugby Smarts, Ben Smith would have won it every single year.

    Impact players
    16 Tendai Mtawarira

    Has found a new spring in his step this year and carries the ball into contact like a … beast. He has seen it all, and found a scrum solution.

    17 Dane Coles
    Would have been a shoe-in this team a year ago, but concussions and Marx have forced him out of the starting XV; in the last stanza, he is a handful to contain, and won’t miss his jumpers, to close out a game.

    18 Tadgh Furlong
    When your lungs are burning after 60 minutes of hurt from Franks, the low-slung Furlong is a menacing nightmare for any opponent in open play or in the set piece.

    19 Eben Etzebeth
    Almost a coin toss between him and Itoje and Retallick; choosing between them is probably a ‘horses for courses’ decision on the day. Breaks the first tackle more often than not, and is a constant threat at the front of opponents’ lineout.

    20 CJ Stander
    Covers all three positions in the back row and that is very handy. A hard man to put down in the tackle, especially in the red zone.

    21 Will Genia
    Sports the same haircut and playing style as Aaron Smith, so there will be no confusion when Aaron gets a rest around the 60-minute mark. Still has the gas to snipe into the gap, and hates to lose.

    22 Beauden Barrett
    Not the best player in the world in my book, but he is the best impact player in the world, capable of turning the match around in one surprising play.

    23 Kurtley Beale
    Like Stander, he covers a lot of positions and only knows one speed: full.

    Have Your Say



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    The Crowd Says (158)

    • October 13th 2017 @ 2:37am
      John said | October 13th 2017 @ 2:37am | ! Report

      What a great side. Maybe Itoje at 6?

      • Roar Guru

        October 13th 2017 @ 3:37am
        The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 13th 2017 @ 3:37am | ! Report

        Thanks, John.

        I thought long and hard about Itoje at six actually, so if you wanna pitch your case, I might buy.

        • Roar Guru

          October 13th 2017 @ 8:39am
          Wal said | October 13th 2017 @ 8:39am | ! Report

          Itoje to 6 and Whitelock to the bench

          • Roar Guru

            October 13th 2017 @ 11:26am
            The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 13th 2017 @ 11:26am | ! Report

            For a while, that is exactly how I had it Wal, but after one last rethink Whitelock just missed out.

            • Roar Guru

              October 13th 2017 @ 1:38pm
              Wal said | October 13th 2017 @ 1:38pm | ! Report

              Yeah quite different players to, all depends on the game you are going to play and who they have around them.

              A Whitelock Etezabeth. pairing would probably work better than a Etezabeth Retaliick. But you always pick Retallick ahead of Whitelock.
              Likewise, a Whitelock Itoje pairing probably wouldn’t work either.

              • Roar Guru

                October 13th 2017 @ 1:47pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 13th 2017 @ 1:47pm | ! Report

                Very fair calls Wal.

              • Roar Guru

                October 13th 2017 @ 2:01pm
                Wal said | October 13th 2017 @ 2:01pm | ! Report

                At the end of the day its all subject but jeez its fun to see how seriously some take these fun lists.

              • Roar Guru

                October 13th 2017 @ 2:28pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 13th 2017 @ 2:28pm | ! Report

                It gives us a little indicator what being a real selector must be like 😉

      • October 17th 2017 @ 4:32am
        MIB2 said | October 17th 2017 @ 4:32am | ! Report

        Warburton is the only glaring anomaly in my book.
        Itoje to 6 whitelock to lock.
        Job done.

    • October 13th 2017 @ 2:47am
      Jeffrey said | October 13th 2017 @ 2:47am | ! Report

      Can’t say I agree with Cane and Franks being selected. O’Brien is the standout openside imo and would have Furlong in place of Franks even though Franks is the better scrummager. Otherwise, it’s a pretty decent team.

      • Roar Guru

        October 13th 2017 @ 3:41am
        The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 13th 2017 @ 3:41am | ! Report

        Cane or O’Brien at seven was probably the hardest call of them all. But as great as SOB was for the Lions, Cane was just as good. Remarkable that both of them were so good in the series, yet none of them dominated the other. A rare thing to see to top-notch sevens in bloom square off three weeks in a row.

        • October 15th 2017 @ 4:06pm
          Cuw said | October 15th 2017 @ 4:06pm | ! Report

          1 Joe Moody
          2 Malcolm Marx
          3 Tadgh Furlong
          4 Brodie Retallick

          5 Eben Etzebeth – Sir Clive Woodward thinks he will walk into the England team. Need I say more??

          6 Pablo Matera
          Ok, Argies play right and left flankers , but Matera can do everything an openside or blindside can do. Its just that he plays in a rubbish team.

          7 Francois Louw
          The best 7 in the world atm. Watch Bath , watch Bokke , his work rate is just great this year be it 6, 7 or 8!!

          8 Kieran Read (C)
          9 Aaron Smith

          10 Johnny Sexton
          Dude: Sexton was played despite being injured. That says it all. He is a better 10 than most give him credit for.

          11 Rieko Ioane
          12 Ryan Crotty
          13 Jonathan Davies

          14 Juan Imoff
          Pity he is not being selected by Argies , becoz he is one of the best in the world , be it 7S or XVs rugger.

          15 Ben Smith

          Impact players
          16 Tendai Mtawarira
          17 Dane Coles
          18 Uni Antoni
          He is big and strong and gets around fine. 🙂

          19 Leone Nakarawa
          Not noticed by many becoz he plays little test rugger, but his skills are stuff for legends. Just watch Racing 92 match this weekend vz Leicester. RonanO’Gara has said the R92 team is suffering becoz everyone wants to play like Nakarawa and try to offload causing mistakes.

          20 Sean O’Brian
          Onlything he does not have that A Savea has is speed.

          21 Will Genia
          22 Beauden Barrett
          23 Liam Williams
          He has created more trouble for all blacks than anyone else in the last 3 years. In the form of his life atm.

          • Roar Guru

            October 15th 2017 @ 5:16pm
            The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 15th 2017 @ 5:16pm | ! Report

            19 Leone Nakarawa
            Not noticed by many becoz he plays little test rugger, but his skills are stuff for legends. Just watch Racing 92 match this weekend vz Leicester. RonanO’Gara has said the R92 team is suffering becoz everyone wants to play like Nakarawa and try to offload causing mistakes.

            I watched the game and he was the king of the park. Just wow!

    • October 13th 2017 @ 3:15am
      NOTASaffaSpy said | October 13th 2017 @ 3:15am | ! Report

      Owen Farrell at 10??????

      I dislike NZ and I’m the most one eyed critic when it comes to them but Barrett 10, Barrett 15 and the best rugby player in the world Ben from accounting at 14.
      Also a personal wish of mine is to one day see Hooper, Coetzee and Read as my loose forwards.
      Also don’t agree with 9 and 12, it’s Murray and Hemshaw for me. The rest I don’t disagree with too much apart from Etzebeth at 5 instead of Itoje.

      • Roar Guru

        October 13th 2017 @ 3:46am
        The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 13th 2017 @ 3:46am | ! Report

        I doubt anyone will agree with all 15 picks, but that is why it is so fun to write a text like this one.
        We all have our ideas and thoughts and sharing and discussing them is what make the Roar so much fun.

      • October 13th 2017 @ 10:21am
        wardad1 said | October 13th 2017 @ 10:21am | ! Report

        Barrett actually had better kicking percentage than Farrell in the lions tour.

        • Roar Guru

          October 13th 2017 @ 11:31am
          The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 13th 2017 @ 11:31am | ! Report

          Well, that just goes to show what Wayne Smith has said about stats is right: “They are just for the public entertainment”. I think we all know that the AB’s would have won the series if Farrell would have played for them.

          • October 13th 2017 @ 11:53am
            taylorman said | October 13th 2017 @ 11:53am | ! Report

            Only because he wouldn’t be playing for the Lions.

            He’s not as good as Barrett because both at their best Barrett is the worlds best player. Farrell isn’t. Never will be. He’s solid, reliable, has a good boot, but is nowhere near Barrett’s ability as a creator.

            • Roar Guru

              October 13th 2017 @ 1:06pm
              The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 13th 2017 @ 1:06pm | ! Report

              Not saying you are wrong T-man, but is Barrett really such a great creator? He is good no doubt, but great (best in the world)?
              Does he not rely on his speed and surroundings a bit too much?

              • October 13th 2017 @ 1:20pm
                taylorman said | October 13th 2017 @ 1:20pm | ! Report

                Whether he relies on his speed, boot, pass is neither here nor there. he makes things happen, Farrell doesn’t, he likes to play percentages and when you picking a worlds best team you want someone at 10 who will attack, not kick the corners. Barrett also has huge X factor where Farrell has none.

                Sapoaga, Carter on club form, Sexton also add more value as a playmaker than Farrell.

              • Roar Guru

                October 13th 2017 @ 1:50pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 13th 2017 @ 1:50pm | ! Report

                Farrell has a “league” feel about him.
                If Barrett is more similar to a Brazilian football player, Farrell is more like a German one.

              • Roar Guru

                October 13th 2017 @ 2:30pm
                taylorman said | October 13th 2017 @ 2:30pm | ! Report

                Yes I just think if youre given the opportunity to pick and play a worlds best side you would want to pick the best players that will combine to score tries, and not waste that opportunity on someone like Farrell.

                After all, its the best side, try scoring is a must.

                Maybe thats a NZ thing because if he were an AB his skilset will have to change significantly.

              • Roar Rookie

                October 13th 2017 @ 2:37pm
                piru said | October 13th 2017 @ 2:37pm | ! Report

                Is this restricted to current international players only?

                Cos I’d still have DC at 10

              • Roar Guru

                October 13th 2017 @ 3:15pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 13th 2017 @ 3:15pm | ! Report

                @T-man

                I actually believe that Farrell’s more settled and controlled approach would work fine in the AB’s. With Barrett, there is only the full speed option and that is high risk (high rewards).

                @ piru

                Carter would do just fine in this side also and there are no restrictions whatsoever, except my world is final in my selection 😉

              • October 13th 2017 @ 3:28pm
                Taylorman said | October 13th 2017 @ 3:28pm | ! Report

                Understandable, youre not a kiwi.

              • October 15th 2017 @ 4:09pm
                Cuw said | October 15th 2017 @ 4:09pm | ! Report

                simple fact is – Eddie Jones trusts Ford to be his 10 .

                that shud tell u something 🙂

    • Roar Guru

      October 13th 2017 @ 3:29am
      Harry Jones said | October 13th 2017 @ 3:29am | ! Report

      Viking.

      I assume the challenge of naming a team to defeat your team.

      My pack will not be beaten at the set pieces by yours:

      Jack McGrath, Bismarck du Plessis, Juan Figallo is my front row, with Red Kitshoff, Gus Creevy, and Dan Cole in reserve.

      My second rowers are Sam Whitelock and Richie Gray, with PSDT as super sub.

      We will win the breakdown.

      My loose trio is Jerome Kaino, David Pocock, and Duane ‘Thor’ Vermeulen. Sean O’Brien on when somebody tired.

      My halves are Conor Murray and Jonathan Sexton, with understudies Ben Youngs and Dan Carter.

      Good luck out-thinking them.

      My wings are Nemani Nadolo and Waisake Naholo. Nadolo and Naholo run around Folau and roll over Ioane all day long.

      My midfield has more tricks than yours: Wes Fofana and ALB.

      At the back, the best rugby player on the planet: Israel Dagg.

      Liam Williams as my super-sub.

      I’ll give you 5 free points and still beat you by 6.

      • Roar Guru

        October 13th 2017 @ 3:34am
        The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 13th 2017 @ 3:34am | ! Report

        Dolph Lundgren delivers my answer

        (longer answer tomorrow mate, gotta sleep now)

      • Roar Guru

        October 13th 2017 @ 11:33am
        The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 13th 2017 @ 11:33am | ! Report

        it is a great selection of players Harry and with the right coach, wet weather, French refs, the rub of the green, and the stars aligned, your selection would be in with a shot every 100 years 🙂

        • Roar Guru

          October 13th 2017 @ 8:40pm
          Harry Jones said | October 13th 2017 @ 8:40pm | ! Report

          Hahahaha
          Fair enough
          Good article

          • Roar Guru

            October 13th 2017 @ 9:49pm
            The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 13th 2017 @ 9:49pm | ! Report

            Thanks, big man!

            • Roar Guru

              October 14th 2017 @ 2:01am
              Harry Jones said | October 14th 2017 @ 2:01am | ! Report

              But you must admit my loose trio is SCARY

              Kaino
              Thor
              Pocock
              (O’Brien)

              • Roar Guru

                October 14th 2017 @ 2:39am
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 14th 2017 @ 2:39am | ! Report

                I like it HJ, but have they not all reached their peak and are now sliding downwards?

                Two-three years ago that was arguably as good as one could get without including McCaw.

              • Roar Guru

                October 14th 2017 @ 2:49am
                Harry Jones said | October 14th 2017 @ 2:49am | ! Report

                Yes, but you got to pick 23 players first!

                I think Poey would defeat Warburton on the deck, the infuriated Kaino would toss Cane around like a bag of hay, and Thor would do what he always does to Read and Read would do what he always does to Thor (stalemate of superheroes). Then, Sean O’Brien and CJ Stander would also just cancel each other out.

              • Roar Guru

                October 14th 2017 @ 3:27am
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 14th 2017 @ 3:27am | ! Report

                On their day, your boys would still be able to create some thunder, no doubt.

                But it is unfair that I had the first 23 picks.

                Maybe we should produce a “card game” like the ones we had as kids with cars and airplanes with four five key values, (remember them?) but with rugby players? Could be a fun thing to do play while drinking.

    • October 13th 2017 @ 5:59am
      Fionn said | October 13th 2017 @ 5:59am | ! Report

      Quite different to my time, but an interesting read nonetheless. Cheers ?

      • Roar Guru

        October 13th 2017 @ 11:34am
        The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 13th 2017 @ 11:34am | ! Report

        Thanks, Fionn. Would Launchbury make your 23?

      • October 13th 2017 @ 11:44am
        Fionn said | October 13th 2017 @ 11:44am | ! Report

        I’ve been thinking and my 23 are probably as follows:

        1. J. Moody
        2. M. Marx
        3. O. Franks
        4. B. Retallick
        5. E. Etzebeth
        6. M. Itoje*
        7. J. Kriel
        8. D. Vermuelen**
        9. W. Genia***
        10. A. Cruden****
        11. L. Williams
        12. R. Crotty
        13. A. Lienert-Brown****
        14. I. Folau
        15. B. Smith

        16. S. Kitshoff
        17. J. George
        18. T. Furlong
        19. J. Launchbury ( 😉 )
        20. K. Read
        21. A. Smith
        22. B. Barrett (can cover 10 and 15)
        23. K. Beale (can cover 12, 11, 14 and 15 – Crotty can shift to 13) or Elliot Daly

        * Not certain about Itoje at 6, but I don’t think Warburton is very good, the other people I would consider are O’Mahony and Read, but I don’t think Read’s form has been fantastic, Itoje is the best player of the three I think

        ** Have’t been overly impressed by Read so even though Vermuelen has been injured, it was between injured Thor and injured Vunipola. I think Thor is better.

        *** I think Genia has been better during the RC than Aaron Smith, and I don’t actually rate Murray that highly. He is excellent in defence and at kicking, but his passing is slow and laboured, lacks spark.

        **** Not sure what sort of form Carter is in, but come on, it is Dan Carter, if he is anywhere near what he was then it should be him at 10

        ***** I think ALB has a few more strings in his bow than Davies, and adds a bit more variety, I guess if Davies continued his Lions form it should definitely be him, however.

        • October 13th 2017 @ 12:00pm
          Fionn said | October 13th 2017 @ 12:00pm | ! Report

          Actually, this should have 17. B. du Plessis.

        • Roar Guru

          October 13th 2017 @ 1:01pm
          Fox said | October 13th 2017 @ 1:01pm | ! Report

          In fairness to Smith Fionn, he played one less game than Genia and that was Argentina and Smiths bullet pass both sides of the ruck and speed at the clean out is unmatched in the game. No halfback in the world can give his inside backs more time and space on the ball and for me he is easily the best halfback in the wotld right now for that reason.

          Smith is a much better box kicker than Genia as well and Genia – and it happened again in the RC – has a poor kicking technique that they discussed on Fox Sports that allows his box kick to be charged down more easily But just my opinion. Don’t get me wrong Genia had a good RC – his Super season was nothing special though – The game in Brisbane should be a cracker next week as well.

          I totally agree with you on Murray and for exactly the reasons you rightly pointed out – great box kick but his passing game and clean out can be too slow at times. Good player still no question.

          • October 13th 2017 @ 1:24pm
            Fionn said | October 13th 2017 @ 1:24pm | ! Report

            Genia didn’t play in SR, he was in France.

            Smith has a better pass than Genia, that’s true, and a much better box kick, but Genia’s defence and physicality are far, far better than Smith, and while perhaps he doesn’t have quite the fleetness of feet that Smith does, Genia’s running game constitutes so much of a bigger threat than Smith’s.

            Too often I’ve seen Smith go missing in the RC, and over the years I’ve noticed a tendency for him not to get physically involved when he really needs to.

            All that being said we have Smith with a better (a) pass, (b) step and (c) kick vs Genia with a better (a) running game, (b) defence and (c) physicality.

            I think that there are clear arguments for both and I couldn’t fault you for choosing Smith, but I think that Genia has been in better form in this years RC.

            • Roar Guru

              October 13th 2017 @ 2:38pm
              taylorman said | October 13th 2017 @ 2:38pm | ! Report

              Geez, have you counted the number of times Genias gone to sleep. Sydney this year Im sure Genia actually was asleep at one point.

              • October 13th 2017 @ 2:46pm
                Fionn said | October 13th 2017 @ 2:46pm | ! Report

                Yeah, never denied that he started poorly. However, that was primarily at the start of the international season (June and Bled 1). He has been class ever since.

              • October 13th 2017 @ 3:02pm
                Fionn said | October 13th 2017 @ 3:02pm | ! Report

                I’m perfectly willing to accept that it should perhaps be Smith starting and Genia on the bench, however. Rather like Liam Williams vs Ioane at 11 I think either are perfectly acceptable and much of a personal preference thing.

            • Roar Guru

              October 13th 2017 @ 3:42pm
              Fox said | October 13th 2017 @ 3:42pm | ! Report

              Yes I do agree Fionn that on current from Genia or Smith would be good in any side

          • Roar Guru

            October 13th 2017 @ 3:40pm
            Fox said | October 13th 2017 @ 3:40pm | ! Report

            Sorry Fionn I meant to say his season in France was nothing special – always good though – a slip by me – though he was good in France – well he is a good player – but I do not think he was as good Smith was for the Highlanders

          • October 16th 2017 @ 1:14pm
            Terry said | October 16th 2017 @ 1:14pm | ! Report

            Maybe cos Genia didn’t Pway super Wugby in 2017 Ya thunk ?? Dum didee dum dIdde dum dum dum dum…..

            Derrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr …

        • Roar Guru

          October 13th 2017 @ 1:01pm
          Fox said | October 13th 2017 @ 1:01pm | ! Report

        • Roar Guru

          October 13th 2017 @ 1:58pm
          The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 13th 2017 @ 1:58pm | ! Report

          Thanks for this Fionn. A very tasty selection.

          Itoje has played at six this season for Sarries. And he has been awesome actually. He was not at his best at six in the 6N, but he did alright.

          Thor is not easy to judge right now hence I have seen too little of him the last year. But when he is at his best, he is spectacular.

          I obviously rate Smith higher than Genia, but we can agree that without them, both the Wallabies and the AB’s lose a lot of strength.

          Carter is special, but we all get older and slower eventually.

          ALB is really good, but weirdly he has somehow played himself out of the AB’s starting XV.

          • October 13th 2017 @ 2:33pm
            Fionn said | October 13th 2017 @ 2:33pm | ! Report

            Yeah, it’s so weird that ALB hasn’t gotten much of a look in this year, and I think he’s played well.

            Chris Rattue thinks that SBWs time is done (I’ve thought that for a while now) and that Crotty-ALB should be the centre partnership.

            I feel like ALB and Goodhue will be duking it out for the 13 jersey from next year

            • Roar Guru

              October 13th 2017 @ 3:19pm
              The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 13th 2017 @ 3:19pm | ! Report

              Goodhue and Havili are most likely next in line to get chances to prove themselves in the AB’s setup. Havili’s first couple performances in the AB’s have looked very promising.

              But don’t count SBW out of the picture. The AB’s are obviously up to something and has a plan for SBW.

            • October 13th 2017 @ 6:45pm
              Taylorman said | October 13th 2017 @ 6:45pm | ! Report

              I think ALB and Crotty will be the main pair come world cup time, and that theyre the best midfield we have now.

              Once whatever hold SBW has over who wears off we can get on with stablising the midfield, and that needs to happen next year. SBW wont be around for the World cup.

              • October 13th 2017 @ 7:26pm
                Fionn said | October 13th 2017 @ 7:26pm | ! Report

                If Goodhue doesn’t pan out then I suspect you’re right.

                If Goodhue has a big year next year then I can see him and ALB being in a tussle for the 13 jersey.

              • October 13th 2017 @ 7:33pm
                Taylorman said | October 13th 2017 @ 7:33pm | ! Report

                Well hes gotta get the jersey first and he doesnt have a lot of time to do it. Inexperienced midfields are not recommended at a World cup.

                Comparing players of different levels isnt very reliable, ALB was the best player on the field in a couple of tests last year, Goodhues yet to prove himself.

              • Roar Guru

                October 13th 2017 @ 7:45pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 13th 2017 @ 7:45pm | ! Report

                If you would speculate T-man, what can be the reasons behind ALB getting a lot fewer minutes this year compared to last year? He was indeed really good 2016.

              • October 13th 2017 @ 7:47pm
                Fionn said | October 13th 2017 @ 7:47pm | ! Report

                It’s a fair point, TMan, but I thought that Goodhue was the standout 13 in Super Rugby this year, and especially in the finals where he seemed to lift his game.

              • October 13th 2017 @ 7:51pm
                Taylorman said | October 13th 2017 @ 7:51pm | ! Report

                Dont know, thats the confusing one for this year, SBWs presence may have something to do with it. Hes played strongly whenever hes been on so it might just be Hansens little keep everyone on their toes bizo.

          • Roar Guru

            October 14th 2017 @ 10:40am
            Fox said | October 14th 2017 @ 10:40am | ! Report

            Yeah I agree Fionn Goodhue had a stand out season and offers real pace as well and he defends his channel well -I can’t understand why he hasn’t been given a decent run in one of the games. Maybe the Tour to Europe he will get his chance. But he is a serious prospect that’s for sure.

          • Roar Guru

            October 14th 2017 @ 10:40am
            Fox said | October 14th 2017 @ 10:40am | ! Report

            Yeah I agree Fionn Goodhue had a stand out season and offers real pace as well and he defends his channel well -I can’t understand why he hasn’t been given a decent run in one of the games. Maybe the Tour to Europe he will get his chance. But he is a serious prospect that’s for sure.

        • Roar Rookie

          October 14th 2017 @ 12:12pm
          Kirky said | October 14th 2017 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

          Jeezuz Fionn where’d you dredge that lot from?
          Genia over Smith!!!!, Vermuelen over Read – If you have any inkling of getting to be an International Coach, get your sums right!!! – Cruden?????

        • October 15th 2017 @ 4:16pm
          Cuw said | October 15th 2017 @ 4:16pm | ! Report

          dude the best 6 in AVIVA for September was COURTNEY LAWES.

          the most penalized player in Aviva was Maro Itoje 🙂

    • October 13th 2017 @ 7:06am
      Riccardo said | October 13th 2017 @ 7:06am | ! Report

      Interesting Neutral.

      Such a subjective process isn’t it.

      I disagree with Harry regarding your centres; Crotty/Davies is a decent call. Just quietly I think the dreaded one retired a year or 2 too early and might also figure in my calculations. He and Crotty outside him would be formidable indeed.

      Folau wouldn’t make my team. Milner-Skudder and Dagg, one of them on the pine instead of Beale.

      Murray would be my reserve half-back, just squeezing out the resurgent Genia.

      The ginger-ninja, a little inconsistent up till now, would be my reserve ahead of Beast as he may have gone past him both at scrum time but especially with his work around the park.

      I’m an O’Brien fan too and like Stander, he is versatile. And like Harry I’m a Thor fan too.

      Retallick, Eztebeth, Whitelock would be my three locks.

      And I like Beauden from the pine, even early, if Farrell’s not making inroads. Barrett from the bench is a proven success.

      Like I said subjective and we’re all gonna have our penchants.

      Doesn’t change the fact that your’s is a great team…

      • October 13th 2017 @ 7:28am
        Fionn said | October 13th 2017 @ 7:28am | ! Report

        I love Milner-Skudder and can see the argument for him mover Folau (although I would probably disagree..).

        I am not sure what Dagg has done since 2013 to indicate he is above Folau, however.

        As you say, however, it is very subjective. And it is largely determined by how you want your team to play too.

        • October 13th 2017 @ 7:53am
          Riccardo said | October 13th 2017 @ 7:53am | ! Report

          When he’s fit Fionn it’s his all-round skill-set.

          Still a great carrier and link man.

          Much better defensively.

          Might be edged by Folau aerially but that’s the only place and it’s marginal.

          Excellent punt; an exit option.

          From the bench he can cover the back three too

          Runs on the board I guess mate…

          • October 13th 2017 @ 8:00am
            Fionn said | October 13th 2017 @ 8:00am | ! Report

            Eh, each to their own.

            I think Dagg’s positioning, defence and distribution is better, but as a winger I think Folau is better. Folau is a much more powerful ball runner, much better under the high ball in my opinion (Dagg hasn’t looked incredible in this regard to me). Is being a better link man really so important when playing on the wing?

            My back three would be 11. Liam Williams, 14. Israel Folau, 15. Ben Smith (with a full admission that perhaps Ioane should be ahead of Williams).

      • Roar Guru

        October 13th 2017 @ 11:42am
        The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 13th 2017 @ 11:42am | ! Report

        Good feedback Riccardo.

        It is a challenging exercise to pick a dream team, and it is probably the closest guys like us ever will come to experience what Steve Hansen deals with on a weekly basis.

        Leaving out Murray was not easy, his kicking game and try-scoring nous are real game-changers, but in pure skills to execute the basics as a scrumhalf I think he has a lot of room for improvement.

        You get my thinking behind Farrell and Barrett exactly.

      • October 13th 2017 @ 1:15pm
        Jerry said | October 13th 2017 @ 1:15pm | ! Report

        Barrett as a starter is a proven success too, unless you think a World Rugby Player of the Year award doesn’t mean that much.

        • Roar Guru

          October 13th 2017 @ 2:01pm
          The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 13th 2017 @ 2:01pm | ! Report

          I never said Barrett was not a proven starter and I never said WPOTY does not matter.
          It is possible to rate someone very high, but still, prefer other options, Jerry.

          • October 13th 2017 @ 2:13pm
            Jerry said | October 13th 2017 @ 2:13pm | ! Report

            I was actually just pointing out the flaw in Riccardo’s logic, not actually arguing your selection.

            • Roar Guru

              October 13th 2017 @ 2:32pm
              The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 13th 2017 @ 2:32pm | ! Report

              I stand corrected then Jerry.

            • October 17th 2017 @ 6:03am
              Riccardo said | October 17th 2017 @ 6:03am | ! Report

              No logic here Jerry.

              And your point is also well made as usual.

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