Who makes the cut in our ‘dream XV’ after the final round of pool matches?


Women’s Rugby World Cup Team of Week Three

The Rugby World Cup 2022 pool stages are complete and the details for the knockout stages confirmed.

But which players stood out in the final round of group games? Here is our composite XV from the six matches – read our reasoning below and let us know who you would pick in a ‘dream team’ by emailing rugbyworldletters@futurenet.com

Women’s Rugby World Cup Team of Week Three

Women’s Rugby World Cup Team of Week Three

15. Renee Holmes (New Zealand)

Two tries, 22 points, 100-plus metres – the Black Ferns full-back was an integral part of their comfortable win over Scotland.

Whether fielding kicks or launching counter-attacks, she is growing with confidence at this level – and her goalkicking could well give her the edge in back-three selection for the quarter-final against Wales.

14. Renee Wickliffe (New Zealand)

She may be a veteran of this Black Ferns team but the 35-year-old wing proved she can still mix it with the young guns by scoring two tries in the win over Scotland.

Her first try was particularly noteworthy as she stepped and weaved her way around a handful of defenders to score. She beat six defenders – the most – over the course of the match and made the most metres and line breaks.

13. Alysha Corrigan (Canada)

One of the toughest selections this week, with Michela Sillari’s kicking crucial to Italy’s win, Maelle Filopon a standout for France and Wallaroo Georgina Friedrichs also impressive. But we’ve opted for the Saracen, who cut the USA open with ease as Canada secured top spot in Pool B and second seeding for the quarter-finals.

She was the best player on the park in the opening 40 minutes, making yards and breaking tackles to give Canada a foothold in US territory. The game became more of a tight tussle in the second half but she made a big difference in this victory.

12. Tatyana Heard (England)

When two of your team-mates have scored hat-tricks and you’re awarded Player of the Match, you know you’ve had a good game.

Heard gave the Red Roses go-forward from the off in their big win, showing what she brings as a ball-carrier, and she also felled numerous South African runners (she was the top-tackling back), proving that she can cut it defensively too.

11. Marine Menager (France)

A quick look through the statistics shows how involved the winger was in the win over Fiji. She was in the top three for ball carries (ten), metres carried (97), defenders beaten (four) and offloads (two).

Plus, she scored a try – and helped les Bleues to keep their line intact against a dangerous Fijiana side.

10. Hazel Tubic (New Zealand)

She has been playing second fiddle to Black Ferns captain Ruahei Demant this year but Tubic showed her talents in Whangarei on Saturday.

She has great variety in her kicking game and her passing brought the best out of those around her as the hosts blew Scotland away with their attack in the first half.

9. Pauline Bourdon (France)

Laure Sansus’s departure from this tournament with injury was a blow for rugby as a whole and France in particular, but in Bourdon they have a scrum-half who would also be in the mix for a world XV spot.

Not only did she bring sharp distribution but she also wrongfooted a handful of Fijian defenders with a standout break in the second half.

1. Hannah Botterman (England)

She made the most of her opportunity in the No 1 shirt, particularly in the set-piece.

She may have been one of the few forwards not to get on the scoresheet against South Africa but she no doubt contributed to a lot of those tries with her involvement in the maul. Plus, her scrummaging was hugely effective as England won half-a-dozen penalties in that area and she made a couple of dominant tackles too.

2. Emily Tuttosi (Canada)

With another try against the USA, the hooker is now the top try-scorer at the tournament with six. She was also Canada’s top tackler and second-highest ball-carrier, which illustrates her importance both in attack and defence.

That’s before we get to the set-piece, where Canada were as effective as ever with their driving lineout and had a 100% success rate at the scrum.

3. Sara Seye (Italy)

The entire Italy front row played 80 minutes on Sunday, which is notable in itself in modern rugby. And Seye was as effective in the first minute as the last.

Okay, she was pinged a few times by the referee, but she was the only Italian tight-five forward to reach double figures for tackles made and topped the tally for ruck arrivals too as she helped her country to a hard-fought win over Japan.

4. Rosie Galligan (England)

The Harlequins second-row may have been calling the lineout for the first time in a Test but she seemed to thrive on that responsibility.

She was at the heart of the Red Roses’ clinical driving maul, from which seven of their 13 tries originated. And she scored three of those tries herself – two from the lineout and another when rewarded for good support play out wide. She has surely put herself in the mix for a bench spot against Australia.

5. Grace Kemp (Australia)

The Wallaroos were expected to struggle up front against Scotland but they more than held their own.

Kemp, who can also play in the back row, was a physical presence in the loose – she made the second most carries for Australia behind Grace Hamilton and was the joint top tackler – and brought plenty of power to the set-piece, too, as her team had 100% success rate at the scrum and 94% at the lineout.

6. Kyoko Hosokawa (Japan)

Japan saved their best for last at this tournament to thwart Italy for much of their final pool game and their blindside excelled on both sides of their ball.

Japan Women's Rugby World Cup Squad

Kyoko Hosokawa scores Japan’s first try against Italy (Getty Images)

She scored the first-half try that levelled the scores when hitting a powerful running line, was amongst the top tacklers with 14 and helped her team frustrate Italy at the breakdown, with Japan able to win eight turnovers.

7. Rachel Johnson (USA)

A regular thorn in Canada’s side. In attack, she beat the third most defenders for her team and made the second most metres amongst the forwards.

Then her uncompromising tackles (she was the top tackler with 18) and competitiveness at the contact area ensured they remained in the contest.

8. Elisa Giordano (Italy)

The Azzurre captain is far from the biggest No 8 at this tournament but she made the hard yards when it mattered against Japan. There were a couple of telling breaks from the back of scrums and one burst led to the first try as they became the first Italy team – male or female – to reach the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals.

Honourable mentions, too, for Grace Hamilton, who was outstanding for the Wallaroos, and, of course, Canada’s Sophie de Goede, who maintains incredible standards.

Head to our Rugby World Cup hub page for all the latest from New Zealand. 

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