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World Class Players - Top three in the world in each position (end of year debate)

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Post by king_carlos Sun Dec 08, 2013 1:06 am

Naturally there is a lot of debate on the IRB World Player of the Year and Team of the Year thread over the players announced. Especially in positions of strength where good players will always miss out. As such I thought I'd resurrect the unoriginal but always entertaining debate of who the top 3 players in the world in each position are at the end of 2013. Here's my best shot:

Loosehead - Ayerza, Healy, Mtawarira - Corbs would be very close if he can keep fit, similar for Domingo

Hooker - Du Plessis, A Strauss, Hibbard - Moore very close to the third spot

Tight Head - Jones, Figallo, Cole - Jannie Du Plessis unlucky with injury for the AI's

Second Row - Etzebeth, Horwill, Whitelock, Retallick, O'Connell, Wyn-Jones

Blindside - Lobbe, Alberts, O'Brien - Special mention to Gorgodze who is immense at Montpellier and Messam/Luatua who have really impressed for NZ. Also apologies about crow barring O'Brien at 6 but I had to get him in somewhere as I've been really impressed with him all season - criminally underused by the Lions I thought!

Openside - McCaw, Hooper, Louw

Number 8 - Read, Parisse, Vermuelen - Mowen unlucky to just miss out

Scrum half - Du Preez, Genia, Murray - Not a position of strength world wide right now!

Fly half - Cruden, Cooper, Carter - Sexton is very close though

Left wing - Savea, Habana, North - Pretty straight forward there

Inside centre - Fofana, De Villiers, Nonu

Outside centre - C Smith, Davies, O'Driscoll - Probably one of the biggest positions of debate

Right wing - B Smith, Bowe, Pietersen

Full back - Folua, Dagg, Halfpenny - Position of impressive strength world wide with Le Roux especially unlucky to miss out.

Some positions naturally easier than others as always with these lists. Particularly tough positions included Number 8 and second row with lots of excellent options in both. For the opposing reason scrum half and outside centre proved tough due to many sides chopping and changing with few throwing their hands up at 13 especially.

Amongst the unluckiest to miss out I'd have to go for:

Le Roux at FB
Mowen (and Faletau at a push) at No 8
Gorgodze at Blindside
Robshaw and Leguizamon at Openside
Launchberry and Albacete at lock
Jannie Du Plessis and Mas at TH
Moore at hooker

One interesting point in note is the South Pacific Islanders players conspicuous by their absence with many excelling at club level as always. However due to contractual obligations etc don't get the chance to shine in full strength international sides against the best. Someone like James Johnston especially could shine in most International sides around the world. Looking at the European sides Gorgodze is definitely in that bracket as well - truly immense in the T14 and Heineken Cup.


Last edited by king_carlos on Sun Dec 08, 2013 8:26 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Sun Dec 08, 2013 6:42 am

"Someone like James Johnston especially could shine in most International sides around the world."

He can't even get in the Saracens XV never mind most International sides.

Not a bad list Carlos, not really that much debate can come from those imo.

Only ones I'd argue with are:

JdP in for Cole - Cole has been pretty average and JdP part of an immense SA scrum
FvdM in for POC/Horwill/AWJ
Hooper out, don't rate him at all
Corbs in for Healy....although I like Healy he's not a good scrummager so could never be classed top 3 for me


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Post by aucklandlaurie Sun Dec 08, 2013 7:13 am

Fullback: Leigh halfpenny, Izzy Folau, Izzy Dagg,

Wing (14): Ben Smith, Mike Brown, Willie Le Roux.

Centre: Conrad Smith, Wesley Fofana, Jonathan Davies.

2nd five eighth; Jean de villiers, Maa Nonu, Daylight.

Wing (11): George North, Julian Savea, George Piutau.

1st Five eighth: Aaron Cruden, Quade Cooper, Jonathan Sexton.

Half back: Aaron Smith, Will Genia, Conor Murray.

Number eight; Kieren Read, Duanne van Meulen, Louis Picamoles.

Openside; Richie McCaw, Chris Robshaw, Willem Alberts. (Sam Cane now dropped)

Blindside: Francois Lowe. Liam Messam, Fernandez Lobbe.

Lock (5); Sam Whitelock,  Courtney Lawes.

Lock (4): Eben Etzbeth, Brodie Retallick, Alun Wyn jones?

Prop (3): Charlie Faumuina, Nicolas Mas, Juan Figallo.

Hooker: Bismark Duplessis, Adrian Strauss, Stephen Moore.

Prop (1): Tony Woodcock, Marcus Ayerza, Alex Corbisiero.



And yes I know Im a Kiwi.

Must admit that for their performance, if I rewrote that team I would have more South Africans.


Last edited by aucklandlaurie on Sun Dec 08, 2013 7:20 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Biltong Sun Dec 08, 2013 7:16 am

Like your list Laurie, but I would add Habana and Alberts.
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Post by aucklandlaurie Sun Dec 08, 2013 7:23 am


Up to last year I would have had Habana in the mix.

Ive dropped Cane and his place has now been taken by Alberts, Im a big fan of Robshaw as a worker.

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Post by bedfordwelsh Sun Dec 08, 2013 7:53 am

Will admit to bias here but faletau cant be far off thet No8 list, all else pretty much spot on for me.

Shows ehere the overall strength lies again I think.
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Post by Sgt_Pooly Sun Dec 08, 2013 8:26 am

aucklandlaurie wrote:
Up to last year I would have had Habana in the mix.

Ive dropped Cane and his place has now been taken by Alberts, Im a big fan of Robshaw as a worker.
Alberts plays BS and Cane OS

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Post by king_carlos Sun Dec 08, 2013 8:37 am

Sgt_Pooly wrote:"Someone like James Johnston especially could shine in most International sides around the world."

He can't even get in the Saracens XV never mind most International sides.
Christian Wade hasn't been in the England side, it doesn't make him a worse player than Ashton though. Or to give a more relevant comparison to the Johnston vs Stevens situation - Euan Murray and Davey Wilson couldn't get on the Lions tour in favour of Stevens but that doesn't necessarily make them poorer players.

A bit facetious I know but point is it's personal opinion and looking at how his scrummaging improved at Quins combined with his strong work around the park for such a huge bloke I'd say he'd excel in the right squad.

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Post by kiakahaaotearoa Sun Dec 08, 2013 8:40 am

Nice list king carlos. There's always a few here and there. Genia for example was dropped twice this season, so that alone takes him out of consideration for me. He came back into form in the AI when Aaron Smith dropped in form, but in the RC Genia was outplayed by Aaron Smith both games and he looked good against SA. But overall that's a fair reflection though no doubt Mike Brown, Launchbury, Moore and a couple of others would consider themselves unlucky.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Sun Dec 08, 2013 8:51 am

Those aren't really relevant points Carlos.

JJ has struggled massively with the new laws hence him struggling to nail a starting berth for a club team, not an Int team.

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Post by butterfingers Sun Dec 08, 2013 9:31 am

Great list but there have to be a few I disagree with, mostly because 2 players in the same position in the same team couldn't possible play enough each to prove themselves best in the world...

Du Plessis is the worlds stand out, Straus has been good in his absence but to still be top 3? Moore and Hibbard have been absolutely superb each, and I'd have to select both over Strauss.

I don't think Oconnell has been that good, I'd probably have selected Launchbury over him.

Similarly Parisse hasn't been quite up to his crazy high standards, that kid from Tolouse has been crazy good Galan? Picamoles was France stand out in the 6N, but Galan has outplayed him and kept him out of the Toulouse team, and rightfully so.

9 is a strange position, Genias form has been patchy, Murray was overlooked for Phillips on tour with the Lions, and numerous quality players have struggled. Du Preez was standout, but I think I would behind that pack! Genia on a bad day is always one of the best, 3rd choice... I'd love to say Youngs, or Care but I'm going to go with the 9 with the best form of the season, Rodri Williams (best 9 t the junior world cup, and changed Wales when he came on) I know I'll get slated for that pick!

Carter AND Cruden can't both be selected, they havn't both shown enough form, and Cooper has had 1 good game for Aus, even his club form has been consistenly just ok. I'd probably go with Carter maybe because I've seen more of Barret than Cruden this year, and Sextons form to deliver one of the worlds biggest contracts can't be overlooked. My third pick is going to make me look bad, but in a year where everyone is building to 2015, but a lions tour focused on winning and nothing more I think Wilkinson proved had he been available to travel he would've as 1st/2nd choice, his form for Toulon is just ridiculous, and despite the world class around him performances dip without him still!!!

Inside centre has 2 stand outs, JDV and the one and only Fofana, third choice really is best of a bad bunch though, Roberts has been injured, Nonu has been barely better than rubbish for his club, Lelo isn't a 12... Nonu's international form is probably enough though.


Back 3 - I've lumped these players in together because there is so much quality and so many players I need in there I don't care if one or 2 are shifter to wing/FB...

left - North, Savea, Habana nuff said!!!

Right - Isles, B. Smith, Kenki Fukuoka.

FB - Le Roux, Folau, Halfpenny

I'm going to be slated for Isles, but has anyone heard such a big splash from a 7's player the last few years? He has become a global superstar on his recent performances, and has been superb.

Fukuoka, maybe I'm a sucker for a fairytale, maybe I knew about this kid last November when a mate who works in Japan started raving about him, maybe his 7 tries in 6 starts, 5 of which were own made, and 4 were from inside his own half. This kid has gas, and has made a huge impact on the international scene on debut season.

If anyones still reading heres my full line up, based on this seasons form!!!

Healy, Beast, Ayerza
JDPlessis, Hibbard, Moore
Jones, Cole, Figallo
Etzebeth, AWJ, Retallik
Whitelock, Launchbury, Horwill
Alberts, Lobbe, Gorgodze
SOB, Louw, Hooper
Read, Vermuelan, Galan
DuPreez, Genia, R Williams
Carter, Sexton, Wilkinson
North, Habana, Savea
Fofana, JDV, Nonu
Davies, C Smith, Fourie
B Smith, Isles, Fukuoka
Folau, Halfpenny, Le Roux

11 SA
9 Kiwis
7 Welshmen
5 Aussies
3 Englishmen
3 Irish
3 French
3 Argies
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Post by TJ Sun Dec 08, 2013 10:18 am

So I was trying to think of any Scots worth a mention. Hard task. Laidlaw and Cusitor? Jonny Grey has it yet to prove as does Hogg. Ritchie Gray? Needs to recover his form

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Post by profitius Sun Dec 08, 2013 10:43 am

Can't argue too much with the OPs list there.

I'd have Stephen Moore, Willie Le Roux, Carter and Yoann Huget in there.

Moore has been the best hooker lately. Le Roux's had a great season and is top class. Carter is still number 1 in my book. Huget is a super player who should be there ahead of Dagg IMO.
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Post by LeinsterFan4life Sun Dec 08, 2013 12:05 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:"Someone like James Johnston especially could shine in most International sides around the world."

He can't even get in the Saracens XV never mind most International sides.

Not a bad list Carlos, not really that much debate can come from those imo.

Only ones I'd argue with are:

JdP in for Cole - Cole has been pretty average and JdP part of an immense SA scrum
FvdM in for POC/Horwill/AWJ
Hooper out, don't rate him at all
Corbs in for Healy....although I like Healy he's not a good scrummager so could never be classed top 3 for me

Have you got any examples to prove that Healy is not a good scrummager?

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Post by Notch Sun Dec 08, 2013 12:12 pm

1- Ayerza, Healy, 'Beast' Mtawarira
2- Moore, Du Plessis, Strauss
3- Figallo, Franks, Jones
4- Etzebeth, Retallick, Horwill
5- Whitelock, O'Connell, Wyn-Jones
6- Messam, Leguizamon, Alberts
7- McCaw, Hooper, Louw
8- Read, Fernandez Lobbe, Parisse
9- A. Smith, Genia, Du Preez
10- Carter, Cruden, Cooper
11- Savea, Habana, Imhoff
12- De Villiers, Nonu, Toomua
13- C. Smith, Fofana, Ashley-Cooper
14- B. Smith, North, Pietersen
15- Folau, Le Roux, Halfpenny

5 Argentina
11 South Africans
13 All Blacks
8 Australians
1 Italian
4 Welsh
2 Irish
1 French

Whats so interesting to me is that Argentina have so many top-class players yet are still a really poorly coached side. They really rely on individual brilliance most of the time and its reflected in their results.
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Post by Sgt_Pooly Sun Dec 08, 2013 1:44 pm

Leinster, just by watching him over the years. I can't recall him ever dominating a top class TH. A top LH should be a dominant scrummager first up imo.

Notch, Fofana is defenitley a 12. AAC better than JD?

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Post by king_carlos Sun Dec 08, 2013 5:10 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:Those aren't really relevant points Carlos.

JJ has struggled massively with the new laws hence him struggling to nail a starting berth for a club team, not an Int team.
I'd say they're relevant given they demonstrate that one coach or side viewing a player as second choice doesn't immediately make them a worst player than the first choice. It comes down to who sees more in particular players.

Agreed Johnston struggled with the scrum laws (as many did) but he has improved rapidly. Should be remembered just how far his scrummaging came on whilst at Quins. Given the lack of depth most sides have at TH he'd be welcomed with open arms into many squads I think.

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Post by king_carlos Sun Dec 08, 2013 5:25 pm

TJ wrote:So I was trying to think of any Scots worth a mention.  Hard task.  Laidlaw and Cusitor?  Jonny Grey has it yet to prove as does Hogg.  Ritchie Gray?  Needs to recover his form
In a similar position as an Englishman TJ!

Corbs - Can be excellent but too often injured
Launchbury - Very competitive position
Robshaw - Truly excellent for England but just misses out due to McCaw, Hooper and Louws performances
Tuilagi - Also injured but can be one of the most destructive on his day
Brown - In the most competitive position to get a look in at FB

For Scotland I considered the below:

Grant - Excellent for club and country. Unlucky to miss out for the Lions and in a competitive position with Healy, Ayerza, the Beast, Corbs, Woodcock, etc there.
Gray - An excellent player but struggled for form recently and in a very competitive position
Brown - A real work horse for Scotland similar to Robshaw but just lacked the power of Alberts, explosiveness of SOB or consistent influence of Lobbe
Scott - Deserved to be on the Lions tour IMO and excellent last season. Recent injury and presence of Fofana, Nonu and JDV mean he misses out though
Hogg - Injured recently and in a hugely competitive position (Dagg, Folau, Halfpenny, Le Roux, Brown, Hogg, Kearney, Hernandez and even Paul Williams are all top players!)

Looking a year ahead with my optimist glasses on I hope to see a few of Hartley, Youngs, Lawes, Attwood, Croft, Morgan, Billy V, Youngs, Care, Twelvetrees, Tuilagi, Yarde, Wade and even Tait competing along with the above named. The presence of multiple players in a few positions shows it's hard to predict what XV we may see from England though!


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Post by BamBam Sun Dec 08, 2013 5:37 pm

Strictly on international performance, I would be tempted to put Wood in as the 3rd blindside.

Probably slight bias, but for me he is right up there

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Sun Dec 08, 2013 5:40 pm

"I'd say they're relevant given they demonstrate that one coach or side viewing a player as second choice doesn't immediately make them a worst player than the first choice. It comes down to who sees more in particular players."

He's also 2nd choice for his national side.....

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Post by nathan Sun Dec 08, 2013 5:47 pm

Has genia really had that good a year?

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Post by Poorfour Sun Dec 08, 2013 6:12 pm

BamBam wrote:Strictly on international performance, I would be tempted to put Wood in as the 3rd blindside.

Probably slight bias, but for me he is right up there
Wood and Robshaw, and for that matter SOB and POM, kept the NZ flankers very quiet this autumn, and the difference between Hooper's performance against Englandand his performance against the all-Lions Wales back row was pretty marked. I think the gap is closing.
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Post by Jhamer25 Sun Dec 08, 2013 6:22 pm

15. Halfpenny/ Folau/ Will le Roux
14. North / Sitiveni / Bowe
13. Conrad Smith? John Davies/ Aurelien Rougerie
12. Wesley Fofan/ Ma Nonu/ Jean De Villiers
11. Julien Savea/ Bryan Habana/ Cory Jane
10. Aaron Cruden/ Johnny Sexton/ Johnny Wilkinson
9. Aaron smith/ Fourie Du Preez/ Kahn Fo'tuali

8. Vermulen/ Read/ Falateu
7. Hooper/ Robshaw/ Tipuric
6. Willem Alberts/ Sean O'Brien/ Lobbe
5. O'Connell/ Flip Van Dew Mewe/ Retalick
4. Alyn Wyn/ Whitelock/ Etzabeth
3. Adam Jones/ Juan Figallo/ Nicholas Mas
2. Du Plesis/ Hibbard/ Moore
1. Ayerza/ Healey/ Domingo

This is my best 3 of the year, but its not the best players who could be in their top 3 (if you get what I mean. I mean with a lot of star players player off form or injured, any other year they could make a top 3. Some of my favorite player like:
Gethin Jenkins - Arguably the best loodhead in the world on his day and after a run of games
Richies Mccaw and Pocock - arguably two of the best players in the world
Carter - Obviously hasn't played enough
Corbs -  Was the stand out loose hea din world rugby when he was playing for the lions but lack of game time has put other ahead of him for me
Picomloes -  hasn't been in the best form int he second half of the year.
players like Lydiate, Gorgodze, Picolomes, Ben Morgan, Rene Ranger, Liam Messum, John Afoa, Tom Youngs, Adam Ashley Cooper, Dagg the list goes on are all world class players but i've chose each three for hoe they have played though the year

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Post by Jhamer25 Sun Dec 08, 2013 6:27 pm

I forgot Grant, would put him ahead of Domingo this year actually

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Post by king_carlos Sun Dec 08, 2013 6:52 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:"I'd say they're relevant given they demonstrate that one coach or side viewing a player as second choice doesn't immediately make them a worst player than the first choice. It comes down to who sees more in particular players."

He's also 2nd choice for his national side.....
In Census he's got stiff competition though when Samoa are at full strength. Similar to the Stevens debate though I'd pick JJ over Mulipola (even as a Tigers fan) when CJ isn't available. As said comes down to personal opinion and I think he a good example of the sort of player who could excel in international rugby if given the right structure to perform. This is something the IRB and larger unions should be helping the pacific isles sides develop. Take the sort of side below that Samoa could field at full strength:

1.Tualafo or Mulipola
2.Ovei
3.Cencus or James Johnston
4.Paulo
5.Leo
6.Treviranus
7.Lam
8.Fa'osilivia

9.Fotuali'i
10.Pisi

11.Tuilagi
12.Leota or Mapasua
13.Pisi
14.Lemi or Tagikacibau
15.Williams

It is a side which should be challenging top sides and developing at a rate of knots with several players pushing those top 3 spots. However due to contractual arguments with clubs and a lack of funding in their union they rarely field close to a first choice side and have little preparation compared to the established international sides.

It's something that IMO urgently needs addressing if Rugby is going to keep developing around the world.

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Post by king_carlos Sun Dec 08, 2013 7:48 pm

[="nathan"]Has genia really had that good a year?[/quote]
Mainly a case of lacking other options I think nathan. Many international sides have been chopping and changing their 9 for most of the season with few really impressing consistently. As such I think Genia gets in due to his earlier form in the year and his class when at his best.

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Post by kiakahaaotearoa Mon Dec 09, 2013 6:34 am

You could have an off the radar list: Grant, Hartley, Murray, Albacete, Launchbury, Wood, Robshaw, Morgan, Murray, Barrett, Toomua, Bosch, Piutau, Medard and Brown.

That's a pretty handy team and could give the top team a run for its money. Ultimately it's how the combinations gel together and how the overall team that works. Having a singular team focus as opposed to 15 individuals showing how good they are. Too often with these lists we lose sight of the team aspect of rugby. It's harmless fun to reflect on who the best individual players were but too often we don't take into account the job that the players around that individual player are doing. Would Read be able to operate without the huge workload of McCaw?

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Post by Geordie Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:48 am

Theres certainly lots of competition in most spots at the moment...especially when a world class attacking FH like Owen Farrell doesnt get a mention... Wink 

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Post by Tattie Scones RRN Mon Dec 09, 2013 12:42 pm

No mention of Matawalu at 9?

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Post by ChequeredJersey Mon Dec 09, 2013 1:03 pm

Barrett as in Beauden?
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Post by kiakahaaotearoa Mon Dec 09, 2013 1:11 pm

If that is in response to me CJ then yes.

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Post by ChequeredJersey Mon Dec 09, 2013 1:12 pm

Classy act. Actually really like your under the radar team, Kia
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Post by kiakahaaotearoa Mon Dec 09, 2013 1:32 pm

Cheers. Just goes to show how you can play around with these short list teams and still come up with something useful. I could just as easily pick another under the radar team that could do some damage. Some positions are harder to fill than others admittedly but it seems this year the back row, fullback and front row have some stiff competition.

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Post by Geordie Mon Dec 09, 2013 1:54 pm

I think some of the young second rows coming through as well could make next years list very difficult...

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Post by funnyExiledScot Tue Dec 10, 2013 1:44 pm

No Scots close to this list sadly.

From an English perspective I think Corbisiero has performed consistenty well when he's played, and Hartley had an outstanding Autumn series.

Agree with Geordie that next season could well be the season that England establish a top quality young lock duo. Lawes and Launchbury are outstanding already in my opinion.

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Post by Geordie Tue Dec 10, 2013 2:01 pm

FES, I agree Hartley was very good this AI, but prior to that he has really failed to bring his excellent club game to the international arena.
IF he shows that form in the 6n and summer tour then i dont think England currently has a hooker near that alround ability (and i have been a huge critic of his at this level)...and he might push to be in the top three in the world...but he has to show this form consistantly.

Corbs is world class in my eyes, but i think he's in serious trouble. Theres alot of talk that his knee problems are major...


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Post by Comfort Tue Dec 10, 2013 2:58 pm

1. Ayerza/Mtawarira/Woodcock
2. Du Plesis/Moore/Hibbard
3. Jones/Figello/Faumuina
4. Etzebeth/AW Jones/Retallick
5. Whitelock/Flip Van Der Merwe/Horwill or Lawes
6. Alberts/Luatua/Wood
7. Hooper/Louw/McCaw
8. Read/Lobbe/Vermuleun
9. Aaron Smith/Murray/Du Preez
10. Cruden/Wilkinson/Biggar
11. North/Savea/Habanna
12. De Villiers/Toomua/Fofana?
13. Conrad Smith/Davies/O'Driscoll?
14. Ben Smith/Le Roux/Cummins
15. Folau/Halfpenny/Dagg

italics - was unsure.....

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Post by Biltong Tue Dec 10, 2013 3:11 pm

Like your selections Comfort.  Hug 
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Post by Sgt_Pooly Tue Dec 10, 2013 3:13 pm

I never thought I'd see Bigger ahead of Steyn and Carter in any list....

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Post by Comfort Tue Dec 10, 2013 3:52 pm

I never thought I'd select him in said list sgt, best of this year though, what can I say. chin

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Post by Comfort Tue Dec 10, 2013 3:54 pm

Cheers Bilt, just goes to show how ahead in individual skills the big SH 3 are I guess, with a sprinkling of love from everywhere else to make it up!

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Tue Dec 10, 2013 4:53 pm

I thought Steyn had a fantastic year, he'd only be behind Cruden for me.

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Post by Biltong Tue Dec 10, 2013 5:59 pm

Steyn had a solid year, he kicked well enough, he made few errors, defended well and his distribution even though straight forward, was executed well.

In my view it makes him a reliable player, but not an exciting one.

Overall Cruden for me, and Cooper looked good by the end of the year.
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Post by Jhamer25 Tue Dec 10, 2013 7:55 pm

I find it interesting that a few people have put Faumuina ahead off Owen Franks. persoanlly, i don't think either are wold class or in the top 3 but still to put him ahead of Franks is interesting.
Why Faumuina instead of the likes of Mas, Castro, Cole or Zirakashvili to name a few.
I feel he is a descent scrummager but only at Super rugby level, and we all know that super rugby teams aren't known for their dominant scrums. But i can't see it in the loose as well, what Owen Franks lacks at scrum time he makes up for in the loose. I don't see much with Faumuina myself.

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Post by Biltong Tue Dec 10, 2013 8:35 pm

Jhamer25 wrote:I find it interesting that a few people have put Faumuina ahead off Owen Franks. persoanlly, i don't think either are wold class or in the top 3 but still to put him ahead of Franks is interesting.
Why Faumuina instead of the likes of Mas, Castro, Cole or Zirakashvili to name a few.
I feel he is a descent scrummager but only at Super rugby level, and we all know that super rugby teams aren't known for their dominant scrums. But i can't see it in the loose as well, what Owen Franks lacks at scrum time he makes up for in the loose. I don't see much with Faumuina myself.

As a general rule the NH clubs have bigger and better scrum battles than the Super XV teams.

However I think it is dangerous to generalise too much.

The Crusaders have an extremely cohesive scrum unit, it is the foundation of their forward power. The Sharks themselves having the Springbok front row has a powerful scrum as well.

The Stormers have a very young pair of props, but they a very good.

The Brumbies managed to dominate their scrums in the latter part of the season as well this year.

I think the main difference comes down to the tactics of what you use scrums for.

The Super Rugby teams wants quick clean bal to attack with, whereas the Nh clubs use scrums as a method to gain penalties more often than not.
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Post by Jhamer25 Tue Dec 10, 2013 9:34 pm

Biltong wrote:
Jhamer25 wrote:I find it interesting that a few people have put Faumuina ahead off Owen Franks. persoanlly, i don't think either are wold class or in the top 3 but still to put him ahead of Franks is interesting.
Why Faumuina instead of the likes of Mas, Castro, Cole or Zirakashvili to name a few.
I feel he is a descent scrummager but only at Super rugby level, and we all know that super rugby teams aren't known for their dominant scrums. But i can't see it in the loose as well, what Owen Franks lacks at scrum time he makes up for in the loose. I don't see much with Faumuina myself.

As a general rule the NH clubs have bigger and better scrum battles than the Super XV teams.

However I think it is dangerous to generalise too much.

The Crusaders have an extremely cohesive scrum unit, it is the foundation of their forward power. The Sharks themselves having the Springbok front row has a powerful scrum as well.

The Stormers have a very young pair of props, but they a very good.

The Brumbies managed to dominate their scrums in the latter part of the season as well this year.

I think the main difference comes down to the tactics of what you use scrums for.

The Super Rugby teams wants quick clean bal to attack with, whereas the Nh clubs use scrums as a method to gain penalties more often than not.

Yes ok I do agree and I didn't really mean to generalise the matter that all Super XV teams have week scrum because the Sharks and Chiefs don't. But it's obvious that the NH teams use scrums more as a weapon and the European team such as Clermont, Ulster, Leicster, Ospreys and Tolouse do have the strongest scrums in world rugby. Which is why i regard players like Cencus Johnstone even James, Zirakashvili, Afoa, Cole so on son on better props (overall) than the vast majority of the props played in the super XV (because of the brand of rugby we play technically)
But even so, the Blues aren't renown for a strong scrum which is why Faumuina isn't thought off much by myself.

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Post by Biltong Tue Dec 10, 2013 9:37 pm

The Hurricanes also struggle at scrumtime, has been one of their downfalls for years.

In fact their set pieces in general has been pretty weak.

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Post by nganboy Wed Dec 11, 2013 12:16 am

I think that because there is a lot of running and passing in Super Rugby that a lot of NH fans then get this idea that we are not interested in and so therefore not that good at the other stuff.
So many times I have read about how we're not good at defence and doing the hard yards in the front.
However come the internationals NZ, SA, Aus tend to hold their own in the set pieces and defend well. Then the attack comes in and we tend to win the bulk of the interhemisphere games. So while we don't necessarily dominate scrums it's not like we get pushed around easily.

Anyway, Jhammer, funny how both the kiwi props you mentioned, Johnstone and Afoa, were born in Auckland.
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Post by boomeranga Wed Dec 11, 2013 10:46 am

Not being all needy and such, but I'm quite chuffed we have a front rower being mentioned amongst the worlds best. It's probably fair to say it's been a while.

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Post by Taylorman Wed Dec 11, 2013 4:24 pm

Jhamer25 wrote:I find it interesting that a few people have put Faumuina ahead off Owen Franks. persoanlly, i don't think either are wold class or in the top 3 but still to put him ahead of Franks is interesting.
Why Faumuina instead of the likes of Mas, Castro, Cole or Zirakashvili to name a few.
I feel he is a descent scrummager but only at Super rugby level, and we all know that super rugby teams aren't known for their dominant scrums. But i can't see it in the loose as well, what Owen Franks lacks at scrum time he makes up for in the loose. I don't see much with Faumuina myself.

As ngan says two of those were born and learned their trade in NZ. Afoa was good here but nothing like the rave he is now in the NH. For me its another case of NH over rating players. In the NH you don't have anywhere near the attacking levels that we do in the sxv so the emphasis on the tight makes these guys stand out more. But here attack is king and props here have to also stand up as mobile ball carriers and defenders for the 80.

And if the comparison is to be made attack is the reason the SH usually overcome NH sides. We de- power the focus the NH place on the tight and that's where guys like fuimuiana is valuable. He does carry and does see out the 80 if needed in a fast paced environment.

So its not necessarily that the NH props are better all round. They just appear to be because of the emphasis the NH place on that area to the 'detriment' of others. No side in the last several years has beaten the ABs ' because if a weak scrum'. That is a fallacy.

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