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Nov 3, 2019
Tom HamiltonSenior Writer
- • Joined ESPN in 2011
• Covered two Olympics, a pair of Rugby World Cups and two British & Irish Lions tours
• Previously rugby editor, and became senior writer in 2018
TOKYO — The Rugby World Cup is back in South Africa’s hands after a phenomenal display against England in the final.
With the dust settling on the tournament, it is the perfect time to reflect on the past six weeks of world-class rugby and attempt to pick our team of the tournament.
Important note: This is not picked on reputation or previous form, it is a XV solely chosen for how they performed across the six weeks here in Japan.
Brodie Retallick THE BACKS
Brodie Retallick Fullback – Beauden Barrett (New Zealand)
There have been some wonderful attacking fullbacks in this World Cup but Beauden Barrett just edges them. He still thrills and surprises us in equal measure and on his day is completely unplayable, justifying his place pre-tournament at the top of our “Best 25 players” poll.
Brodie Retallick Right wing – Kotaro Matsushima (Japan)
It is to Matsushima’s eternal credit that South Africa’s brilliant Cheslin Kolbe — scorer of the final try of the tournament — misses out here, but the Japan winger’s thrilling ability to attack from deep and throw caution to the wind edges out arguably the world’s finest winger.
Brodie Retallick Outside centre – Manu Tuilagi (England)
We finally got to enjoy Manu Tuilagi at his rampaging best at a World Cup. He was England’s main strike runner and finished with three tries, including the crucial stage-setting opener against New Zealand in the sem
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