As we’re all twiddling our thumbs rugby-wise, I thought it might be interesting to twiddle them in a more structured and debatable way.
Let’s see how highly we rate some of the great players. Who’s your all-world rugby 24?
Some picks are more obvious than others and need no explanation. Others might raise some eyebrows, but make for some worthwhile reputation reassessments and some interesting re-watches.
I’ll be especially interested in what people who’ve actually played the position say about why they’ve picked a given player, as there are subtleties the non-experienced like myself don’t pick up.
But anyway, for what it’s worth, here’s mine to get the ball rolling.
1. Steven Kitshoff: Hard to move. He looks like he knocks the stuffing out of everyone. I don’t get how the scrummaging works well enough though to pick him with any confidence.
2. Malcolm Marx: Tackles so well. He really seems to know what to do with the ball.
3. Tadhg Furlong: I haven’t noticed his form so much lately, but he is a great ball-runner and a brute in close. But ditto my last comment on Kitshoff.
4. Brodie Retallick: No explanation needed.
5. Lood de Jager. Not the obvious, glamour pick, but he does a heck of a lot of hard, smart work around the park.
6. Ardie Savea: No explanation needed.
7. Pieter-Steph du Toit: Outworks everyone. He seems to be able to mess up whole opposing forward packs’ rhythm and continuity.
8. Duane Vermeulen: No explanation needed.
9. Antoine Dupont: Runs and tackles like a bull. He looks like a lot more to handle physically than most scrumhalves.
10. Romain Ntamack: I’m very convinced by his play already. He is creative, has great precision in his field kicking, plus he has agility and vision.
11. Semi Radrada: No explanation needed.
12. Anton Lienert-Brown: Just impresses me every time I he see him. He has a lot of subtlety for a 12. But I hesitate not to go with Samu Kerevi and Damian de Allende. And no, not Owen Farrell – his form’s been pretty average for a while now, and he needs to be at ten. He seems to get cold hands at 12.
13. Jack Goodhue: Underrated. He is a heck of player.
14. Cheslin Kolbe: No explanation needed.
15. Beauden Barrett: No explanation needed.
16. James Slipper: Maybe he’s not this good, but his form has been good. Feel free to tell me who’s better, and why.
17. Dane Coles: Begrudgingly.
18. Taniela Tupou: I know Allan Alaalatoa is better overall. But for 20 minutes of impact, Tupou can be pretty awesome. I’m looking forward to seeing what Dave Rennie does with him.
19. Maro Itoje: No explanation needed.
20. Rory Arnold: No explanation needed.
21. Tom Curry: No explanation needed.
22. Aaron Smith: No explanation needed.
23. Handre Pollard: No explanation needed.
24. Damian McKenzie: Not very current, I realise, but I haven’t seen another back who’s impressed me as much as he did until his injury a year or so back.