Following the conclusion of the Tri-Nations I have attempted to name what I think is the best possible XV made up of players from Australia and New Zealand.
To make it more interesting, and to stop it from being 90 per cent All Blacks, let’s say there has to be close to an equal amount of All Blacks and Wallabies in the side, and only the players eligible for the Tri Nations are eligible for selection, not including injuries.
1. Joe Moody This was the obvious choice here. James Slipper has been playing some good footy recently, but Moody never seems to have a bad game.
2. Codie Taylor For me Dane Coles is a weapon off the bench. He can attack the fringes of defences and cause havoc late in games. Both Kiwis are miles ahead of their Australian hooker counterparts.
3. Taniela Tupou Has real X-Factor at the tighthead position, if he can stop giving away so many penalties, he would be my first choice in a world XV.
4. Scott Barrett If Brodie Retallick was eligible then this spot would go to him. Scott Barrett seems to have too many brain fades leading to him giving away stupid penalties. Patrick Tuipulotu has real potential but as of right now, Barrett is the better player.
5. Sam Whitelock Dependable and quality. The easiest selection.
6. Harry Wilson The makeup of the backrow is where it starts to get tricky. I think Wilson still looks a little uncomfortable at the back of the scrum with the ball at his feet, which is why he’s named at 6 here, but his form throughout the year should be rewarded.
7. Sam Cane I think Sam Cane has been phenomenal this year. He’s third in the Tri-Nations for tackles won, second in offloads, sixth in carries and has six turnovers over his last four games.
8. Ardie Savea Dominant force in attack and defence. Despite him only being 6’1 ish he is still solid in the lineout and dangerous at the back off the scrum.
9. Aaron Smith I still think Smith is the best halfback is the world (Antoine Dupont isn’t far off though). His service from the breakdown and leadership on the field in unparalleled.
10. Beauden Barrett Richie is a real talent and has plenty to offer but Barrett is still one of the most dangerous backs in the world with ball in hand.
11. Marika Koroibete He plays like a well-trained Doberman, and I mean that as a compliment. Give him clear instructions on what his role is in the team and he’ll be a devastating weapon.
12. Matt To’omua Jack Goodue is a 13 not a 12 and Laumape is still quite limited, although his skills are improving. Matt To’omua gives solid defence, a second ball player in attack and another strong leader on the field.
13. Jordan Petaia Naturally gifted, if he can stay healthy has the potential to be one of the best. Needs to put the grubbers on the shelf for a while though.
14. Filipo Daugunu Neither team have a real set 14. Jordie is a fullback and being wasted there for the All Blacks. Tom Wright has been solid but Daugunu offers some real X-Factor as well as a strong over-the-ball presence in those wide channels. Give him another crack.
15. Jordie Barrett Could be the form 15 in the world, he’s currently criminally under-utilised at 14.
16. James Slipper 17. Alan Alaalatoa 18. Dane Coles 19. Luhkan Salakaia-Loto 20. Michael Hooper 21. Hoskins Sotutu (If 6-2 bench) 22. Nic White 23. Richie Mo’unga 24. Reece Hodge (if 5-3 bench)
Let me know where I went wrong in the comments.