World Rugby have announced the player, team and try of the decade for the men’s and women’s game at an overnight awards ceremony, with a slew of All Blacks earning top honours.
The best XVs were decided by a panel of experts, with David Pocock the only Australian to get the nod in either the men’s or women’s side. The flanker, who played his final Test for the Wallabies at last year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan, was named out of position at blindside flanker, with former rival and New Zealand captain Richie McCaw taking the number seven jersey.
McCaw, who was also crowned men’s 15s player of the decade, was one of seven All Blacks to make the team, alongside Ben Smith, Ma’a Nonu, Dan Carter, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick and Owen Franks.
One Kiwi who surprisingly didn’t make the cut was scrumhalf Aaron Smith, who was overlooked in favour of Irishman Conor Murray for the halfback spot.
Welsh winger George North was named opposite Bryan Habana out wide, while Murray’s countryman Brian O’Driscoll was given the nod at outside centre despite retiring in 2014.
In the forward pack, Italian number eight Sergio Parisse joined Pocock and McCaw at the back of the scrum, while Springboks Tendai Mtawarira and Bismarck du Plessis were named in the front row.
In a demonstration of the wealth of rugby talent to choose from, five of the nominees for player of the decade missed out on a spot in the best XV: Thierry Dusautoir, Kieran Read, Beauden Barrett, Johnny Sexton and Pieter-Steph du Toit. However, while the teams of the decade were named by a World Rugby panel, the player awards were decided by a fan vote.
Jessy Tremouliere was named the women’s 15s player of the decade but couldn’t find her way into the XV, with fellow Frenchwoman Safi N’Diaye the only representative from outside England and New Zealand to make the XV.
Australians Emilee Cherry and Charlotte Caslick missed out on the women’s sevens player of the year award to New Zealand’s Portia Woodman, while Fijian Jerry Tuwai took home the men’s gong.
The real outrage of the awards, however, was Radike Samo not winning try of the decade for his barnstorming effort against the All Blacks in 2011. Ireland’s Jamie Heaslip was given the nod instead for what was admittedly a fairly outstanding team effort.
But seriously. It doesn’t get any better than big Radike’s effort:
Men’s 15s team of the decade
1. Tendai Mtawarira (RSA)
2. Bismarck du Plessis (RSA)
3. Owen Franks (NZL)
4. Brodie Retallick (NZL)
5. Sam Whitelock (NZL)
6. David Pocock (AUS)
7. Richie McCaw (NZL)
8. Sergio Parisse (ITA)
9. Conor Murray (IRE)
10. Dan Carter (NZL)
11. Bryan Habana (RSA)
12. Ma’a Nonu (NZL)
13. Brian O’Driscoll (IRE)
14. George North (WAL)
15. Ben Smith (NZL)
Women’s 15s team of the decade
1. Rochelle Clark (ENG)
2. Fiao’o Faamausili (NZL)
3. Sophie Hemming (ENG)
4. Eloise Blackwell (NZL)
5. Tamara Taylor (ENG)
6. Linda Itunu (NZL)
7. Maggie Alphonsi (ENG)
8. Safi N’Diaye (FRA)
9. Kendra Cocksedge (NZL)
10. Katy Daley-Mclean (ENG)
11. Portia Woodman (NZL)
12. Kelly Brazier (NZL)
13. Emily Scarratt (ENG)
14. Lydia Thompson (ENG)
15. Danielle Waterman (ENG)
Men’s 15s Player of the Decade: Richie McCaw (New Zealand)
Women’s 15s Player of the Decade: Jessy Trémoulière (France)
Men’s Sevens Player of the Decade: Jerry Tuwai (Fiji)
Women’s Sevens Player of the Decade: Portia Woodman (New Zealand)
Men’s 15s Try of the Decade: Jamie Heaslip (Ireland)
Women’s 15s Try of the Decade: Portia Woodman (New Zealand)