Rugby World Cup: ...And Six Best Wishes

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The Independent Online
Six British-based club coaches pick the three World Cup players they would most like to have in their squad - presuming that Jonah Lomu is already spoken for.

IAN RANKIN

Coach of Edinburgh Reivers

Tim Horan (Australian centre) because he is the most creative player in rugby. He had a worrying spell with a knee injury but is still one man who can unlock the tightest of defences.

Robin Brooke (New Zealand lock) because he just does absolutely everything that a coach could want a second row to do. It is easier to build your set-piece around someone like him.

Andre Venter (South African flanker) is that bit more creative at the breakdown than Rassie Erasmus. Venter's decisions at the breakdown are invariably the right ones.

JON CALLARD

Assistant coach at Bath

Alfred Uluinayau (Fiji full-back) would be a great addition to the Bath squad because of his outright pace and his eccentricity. He plays off the cuff, which would suit us perfectly.

Tim Horan is not a bad player to have around. His ability to step and therefore to open up gaps out of nothing is not something you can coach, it is natural ability. Therefore grab it while you can.

Olivier Magne (France flanker) would be a tremendous asset to any squad. He is so quick, and he plays the ball well out of the tackle. You can build around a player like him.

JOHN GALLAGHER

Harlequins director of rugby

Andrew Mehrtens (New Zealand fly-half) until half-time against Scotland, after which he was carrying a knee injury, was the undisputed best in the world. He has tactical awareness, while his kicking out of hand, sleight of hand and spatial awareness is peerless.

Joost van der Westhuizen (South Africa scrum-half) is another player with a brilliant tactical mind. He has great skill and is an aggressive player of the game.

Tim Horan still runs the best lines, his stepping is excellent and he has a great pair of hands.

JOHN PLUMTREE

Coach of Swansea

Lawrence Dallaglio (England No 8) just does all the basics really well. He seems to get over the gain line every time he gets the ball. He is also a good option at the back of the line-out. He does all the good things right and I thought he had a good World Cup.

Jeff Wilson (New Zealand wing/full-back) is probably the best back of the tournament. Having someone like him at full-back presents the back three with so many options. He is a great attacking player whose defence is very sound.

Tim Horan can really turn it on and he has done so in this tournament. He gets going forward every time he has the ball and defensively he is so sound.

DICK BEST

London Irish director of rugby

Kees Meeuws (New Zealand prop) has to be one of the best forwards I have ever seen. He can scrummage, he can run, he looks like the modern, new age front-row forward.

Andrew Mehrtens has to be the best fly-half in the world. His tactical approach to playing the game is peerless and he kicks goals for good measure.

Christian Cullen (New Zealand outside-centre) has the lot. What more can be said of this player? I would have him in my squad for all the obvious reasons, he has pace, vision and he is a try scorer.

JOHN STEELE

Northampton director of rugby

Tim Horan has to be there. With defences having advanced more quickly than attacks any player who can unlock them is invaluable, and he does it extremely well. He can also play under pressure.

Lawrence Dallaglio is as good as any back-row in the tournament. He is an all-round athlete with ability to do everything well and pick the right option at the right time.

Abdel Benazzi (France lock) is a lot like John Eales, popping up all over the pitch. His work-rate is good, he stays on his feet in the tackle and he handles well. He unloads the ball well in contact. In short he is a quality lock.

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