Planet Rugby Readers’ Team of 2014

Date published: December 12 2014

Power to the people! As has become our tradition, we gave you the chance to vote for YOUR Team of Year: Here are the results from the Planet Rugby faithful.

We received a massive response – our biggest yet – as hundreds of readers who sent in their first-choice XVs.

Four players retain their places from the team you selected last year and they are all amongst the backs: Israel Folau, Ben Smith, Jean de Villiers and Aaron Smith. It’s an all-new pack.

Like last year, the southern hemisphere dominates with just two Irishmen representing the European nations.

Planet Rugby Readers’ Team of the Year: 2014

15 Israel Folau (Australia): The Wallaby full-back keeps his global jersey with 36% of your votes.
Willie le Roux was next best with 23%, just ahead of Rob Kearney at 21%.

14 Ben Smith (New Zealand): Even though he played mainly at full-back in Super Rugby, most of you couldn’t leave Smith out of your side and, like the All Black selectors, used him on the wing. With 48% of the votes, he was way ahead of George North, who got 13%.

13 Tevita Kuridrani (Australia): A clear favourite here. With 71% of the votes, no one even came close to the Brumbies centre.

12 Jean de Villiers (South Africa): The Springbok captain was your favourite inside centre for the second year running with 49% of the votes. Jamie Roberts was a distant second with 12%.

11 Julian Savea (New Zealand): A new record for votes in any position, ever. 90% of you thought the All Blacks speedster was the best left wing in the world.

10 Jonathan Sexton (Ireland): Another clear winner. With 68% of the ballots, the Six Nations winner gets the 10 jersey. For the first time, your favourite fly-half is not a Kiwi.

9 Aaron Smith (New Zealand): No debate here either. 64% is a pretty large majority although Conor Murray got some recognition with 29% of the votes.

8 Duane Vermeulen (South Africa): No doubt about the best number eight. 68% was more than enough for the Springbok number eight to take over from last year’s choice, Kieran Read, who managed 23%.

7 Richie McCaw (New Zealand): Every year the openside flank berth is the most closely contested position and this time was no different. McCaw was your choice in 2012, but he lost out to Michael Hooper in 2013. King Richie is back in your team this year with 48% of the votes, pipping the Wallabies skipper, who got 41%.

6 Marcell Coetzee (South Africa): A three-horse race here as you went for Springbok flank on the blindside, despite him play on the other side of the scrum for the Sharks. 32% was enough to beat Peter O’Mahony and Jerome Kaino, who finished dead even on 21%.

5 Paul O’Connell (Ireland): Unlike other positions, where we were strict about numbers, we were forced to count the second row votes together since the vast majority of you mixed your 4s and 5s. O’Connell was the favourite for 60% of you.

4 Brodie Retallick (New Zealand): The World Rugby Player of the Year was an almost unanimous choice, with around 85% of you including him in your second row.

3 Owen Franks(New Zealand): Another clear choice, 56% of you backed the Crusaders prop, who returns to your XV for the first time since 2011. Pumas tighthead Ramiro Herrera was his only competition with 15%.

2 Agust