By Paul Morgan, editor of Rugby World Magazine
The new edition of Rugby World goes on sale today with our Player and Team of the Decade announced.
But what do you think? Would you have selected a different player or different members of the team.
Does a side with 4 Kiwis, 3 Englishmen, 2 Welshmen and 2 South Africans reflect the Noughties?
HE STARTED the decade with a hat-trick in his first Six Nations Championship and finished it as one of the key reasons why Ireland went the whole of 2009 without suffering a defeat. So in the eyes of Rugby World there’s only one man who should be named Player of the Decade: Brian O’Driscoll.
The man from Blackrock College will earn his 100th Ireland cap in the coming Six Nations and more than any other has written his name large and bold across the decade that will be known as the Noughties.
Whether as captain of Ireland, Leinster or the Lions, O’Driscoll has shown exemplary form over a sustained period – form that wins him our accolade above and beyond a host of players who have left an indelible mark on our great game.
O’Driscoll may be our Player of the Decade, but he doesn’t captain our Team of the Decade. That honour falls to the captain without peer, England’s Martin Johnson.
The decade produced two World Cup winners, in England and South Africa, so naturally those teams had a number of players on our shortlist. But it isn’t all about World Cups as New Zealand managed to earn four representatives in our starting XV without even making a final.
Similarly, the rise of Argentina in this decade and Wales’ two Grand Slams had the judges scratching their heads
and working out how we could keep our team down to 15 players. A number of big names missed out, such as Lawrence Dallaglio and Neil Back, as we looked for balance in our side and the recognition of players like Sergio Parisse, who may never win a Six Nations or World Cup but should nevertheless always figure when we’re looking for legends of our game.
Mils Muliaina – New Zealand
Jason Robinson – England
Brian O’Driscoll – Ireland
Matt Giteau – Australia
Shane Williams – Wales
Dan Carter – New Zealand
Agustin Pichot – Argentina
Gethin Jenkins – Wales
John Smit – South Africa
Carl Hayman – New Zealand
Martin Johnson (c) – England
Victor Matfield – South Africa
Richard Hill – England
Richie McCaw – New Zealand
Sergio Parisse – Italy
Subs: Rodrigo Roncero, Mario Ledesma, Sylvian Marconnet, Juan-Martín Fernández Lobbe, Fourie Du Preez, Jonny Wilkinson, Yannick Jauzion, Juan Martín Hernández.
By what do you think? Name your Team and Player of the Decade and tell us why you have made your choices.
Also if you’d like to get 32% off a subscription to Rugby World Magazine go to our websites at www.rugbyworld.com, where we have a new offer available!