Rugby Union: My dream of a fifteen

RUGBY WORLD CUP: COACH'S VIEW
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15: Matthew Burke

(Australia). A close call with the usually outstanding Jeff Wilson, but the consistency of Burke - his goal kicking, huge line punts and organisational skills give him the edge. Good footballer and defensively rock solid.

14: Christophe Dominici

(France). OK, it was only one game - but what a game. The guy who shimmied his way into the hearts of millions. Only 5ft 8in and 12st he gave hope to all kids who aren't monsters but yearn to play at the top level.

13: Daniel Herbert

(Australia). To be honest the best of a pretty average bunch. Cullen disappointed, Guscott retired and Fleck only flickered. Both the Fijian centres had their moments but Herbert just gets the nod - partly for his excellent understanding with Horan.

12: Tim Horan

(Australia). Awesome. Somehow still manages to be in his 20s but huge experience helped him to be the standout midfield player. Even made the likes of Andre Venter look ordinary.

11: Jonah Lomu

(New Zealand). What can you say? The one, the only makes the rest look like a bunch of under-nourished schoolboys. Not quite the whole ticket in defence, but who cares? Create some space, give him the ball, and enjoy. Frighteningly good.

10: Steve Bachop

(Samoa). With Larkham not at his absolute best and Merhtens out of sorts the tiny Samoan stood out. A fantastic passer of both hands and a good decision maker. If only his team had a decent scrummage they could really challenge the big boys.

9: Gary Armstrong

(Scotland). Tough as old boots. Just edges out Gregan. Gave Marshall a torrid time and a better all-round player than Van de Westhuizen. Goes out at the very top - Scotland will find him very difficult to replace.

1: Peter Rogers

(Wales). Getting better Test by Test. The competition at loose head is not earth shattering but this fellow has been the key figure in completely transforming the Welsh scrummage.

2: Keith Wood

(Ireland). Still the talisman, still battling in an ordinary team, now genuinely world class. Threw in well (previously a weakness) and possesses a physical presence that no other No 2 in the world can match.

3: Mauricio Reggiardo

(Argentina). In 1995 the Argentinians had Patricio Noriega - this time they had the hard-man from Castres. He played on both sides of the scrum and was at the heart of their excellent driving forward play.

4: Martin Johnson

(England). Consistently excellent in a team that ultimately disappointed. Always at the heart of things. Immensely strong and competitive. You would always rather play with him than against him.

5: Abdel Benazzi

(France). Back from a career threatening injury and bestriding the world scene once more. A fully fit John Eales might have bettered him but the Agen powerhouse is right back to his best.

6: Rassie Erasmus

(South Africa). Had to do most of the over-rated Skinstad's tackling. Hard as nails with a great heart, he epitomised the sheer willpower that kept an average South African side in the tournament for so long.

8: Toutai Kefu

(Australia). Despite the ban has established himself as the best No 8 in the world. Broke down even the most stubborn of defences - and demonstrated a mean right hook.

7: Olivier Magne

(France). Hard to leave out the ubiquitous Kronfeld but last Sunday leaves me with little choice, since Magne completely dominated. Devastatingly quick for such a big man with great hands and evasive skills the French back five look a completely different proposition with him back in the side.

Replacements: Jeff Wilson (NZ), Christophe Lamaison (Fr), George Gregan (Aus), Richard Harry (Aus), Phil Greening (Eng), John Eales (Aus), Lawrence Dallaglio (Eng).

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