Planet Rugby

Readers' XV of 2010

21st December 2010 10:36

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Planet rugby readers team 2010

Your favourites in 2010: Franks, McCaw, Servat and Matfield

The people have spoken! We gave you the chance to pick your best XV of the year and our mailbox quite literally overflowed with hundreds of teams.

We collated your selections and then allowed you to vote in positions where the initial nominations were too close to call. Some of the closest losers got a place on the bench.

Unsurprisingly, the All Blacks dominate the line-up. That you chose eleven New Zealanders is a sign of how impressive they were this year.

There is just one player from the northern hemisphere in the starting XV, but hooker William Servat thoroughly deserves his spot.

Like all coaches, you had to make some pretty tough choices and perhaps most significant is who didn't make the side: A certain David Pocock had a brilliant year, but there's only one openside berth in the team and Richie McCaw won most pundits' vote.

Pocock even misses out on a place on the bench, losing out to fellow IRB Player of the Year nominee Imanol Harinordoquy, who not only got more votes overall but can play in two positions in the loose trio.

There were a couple of hotly contested positions, notably outside centre, left wing, scrum-half, tighthead and loosehead.

We don't necessarily agree with all the results, but democracy has had it's day and this is YOUR team.

Planet Rugby Readers' Team of 2010:

15 Mils Muliaina
There were only two candidates in this position, and gentlemen, Mils had a significant lead on Kurtley Beale in your votes. We agree that the young Aussie had a great year and he gets a place on the bench.

14 James O'Connor
Your votes were unanimous here. Chris Ashton and Tommy Bowe got quite a few too, but O'Connor's extra contribution with the boot no doubt gave him the edge.

13 Conrad Smith
There was nothing separating Smith and Adam Ashley-Cooper when your nominations came in, but when we put them head-to-head, Smith was a clear winner. It seems harsh on the Aussie, but it's tough to argue with the impact of the Hurricanes' midfield duo...

12 Ma'a Nonu
Another clear choice from you. Perhaps the real story here is the guy who came in second - Sonny Bill Williams. The All Blacks' cup runneth over! Yannick Jauzion was next up and we feel he should have gotten a lot more votes.

11 Hosea Gear
Another tiebreaker was needed here between Gear and Drew Mitchell, who might feel a little hard done by considering he was the top try-scorer in the Super 14. But Gear's sensational November seems to have been enough to sway your opinion.

10 Dan Carter
The clearest vote of them all. Quade Cooper was the only other player to get any votes worth counting thanks to his great Super 14, but it's at international level where true greatness shines. They don't call it 'Test' rugby for nothing and Carter showed why he is considered by many to be the best 10 ....ever.

9 Will Genia
Most of you picked either Genia or Ben Youngs while Morgan Parra was the only other scrum-half to get more than a handful of nominations. Thanks to an outstanding season with the Reds, Genia edged out the English number nine in the tiebreaker.

8 Kieran Read
Again it was a two-horse race which Read won fairly comfortably with just over 50 per cent of the votes. Imanol Harinordoquy managed one third. It's an all-Kiwi back row, a sign perhaps that the new law interpretations suit the All Blacks down to a tee.

7 Richie McCaw
Over 70 per cent of you picked the IRB Player of the Year in the openside berth. Most of the rest went with David Pocock, who many felt had the better of the All Blacks captain when they faced each other in the Super 14 and Tri-Nations. But can you argue with New Zealand's record this year under their undisputed leader? (Yes, we expect the comments section to catch fire...Please avoid insults and stick to rugby!)

6 Jerome Kaino
Plenty of names were thrown into the hat for the blindside spot. Although Kaino was a clear winner, he was the choice of only 37 per cent of readers. Juan Smith got 20 per cent with the rest shared by Rocky Elsom, Stephen Ferris and Tom Croft.

5 Victor Matfield
No arguments here, Matfield didn't have his best Tri-Nations but he led the Bulls to the Super 14 crown and was a stand-out (literally!) in the November Tests. Over 80 per cent of you chose him as your number five.

4 Brad Thorn
We were surprised by how easy Thorn won the 'enforcer' position. One of the Planet Rugby journos summed it up perfectly though: "He's simply a warrior." Young England talent Courtney Lawes was your second choice, but that could change in years to come.

3 Owen Franks
The nominations process left one half of the Franks brothers and Adam Jones separated by a single vote! In the head-to-head tiebreaker Franks scraped into the starting line up by just six per cent.

2 William Servat
There were a few names in contention for the number two jersey but William Servat was the outstanding hooker of the year. Bismarck du Plessis missed a lot of the season due to injury but was so good in November that he impressed you enough to get a place on the bench.

1 Tony Woodcock
Loosehead was by far the most contested position. There was nothing to choose between Woodcock, Thomas Domingo, Gurthrö Steenkamp and Tendai Mtawarira. We don't agree with you on this one at all. Look out for our Team of Year next week!

Replacements: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Adam Jones, 18 Courtney Lawes, 19 Imanol Harinordoquy, 20 Ben Youngs, 21 Quade Cooper, 22 Kurtley Beale, 23 Thomas Domingo

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