A WORLD 23… Heck why not…


Columnist Benedict Chanakira indulges in our favorite pastime… naming favorite players. As the best teams in the world shape up for tests this coming weekend… who gets a nod for YOUR 23 best in the world today




World XV


15. Leigh Halfpenny (WAL)

14. Ben Smith (NZ)

13. Conrad Smith (NZ)

12. Jean de Villiers (SA) (C)

11. Willie le Roux (SA)

10. Aaron Cruden (NZ)

9. Aaron Smith (NZ)

8. Kieran Read (NZ)

7. LIam Messam (NZ)

6. Francois Louw (SA)

5. Sam Whitelock (NZ)

4, Eben Etzebeth (SA)

3. Juan Figallo (Arg)

2. Bismarck Du Plessis (SA)

1. Tendai Mtawarira (SA)


16. Adriaan Strauss (SA)

17. Jannie du Plessis (SA)

18. Bakkies Botha (SA)

19. Duane Vermeulen (SA)

20. Fourie Du Preez (SA)

21. Johnny Wilkinson (Eng)

22. Israel Folau (Aus)

23. Tony Woodcock (NZ)

Reasons for my selections:


Back Three- has the ability to diffuse high ball bombs, has pace and vision. It has counter attack ability. All three are experienced and have had a stellar year. Le Roux, who was the Springbok find of the year, has been a mercurial player who has quite the ingenuity. An explosive Israel Folau on the bench!


Centres- are two experienced campaigners. The finest in the world. They provide great defence, creativity and physicality. Both good communicators and have the ability at Test level. Jean de Villiers will also assume the captaincy role after fine work for both South Africa and the Stormers.


Flyhalf- this was tough, no real consistent performer. Steyn had a decent Championship. Who will forget that bump on Brodie? Barrett stepped up when Carter was smashed by du Plessis, controlled the test well, and showed class in scoring their fourth try against South Africa. I chose Cruden, was superb in the Super Rugby and was instrumental in the Blacks winning the Rugby Championship.


Scrumhalf- Will Genia has had a tough season. Despite brilliance in creating a world class try for Israel Folau. Aaron Smith and Fourie du preez have taken the laurels. Smith edging du Preez who came to invigorate the Boks. A crisp left and right pass. An improving kicking game and the cog to an All Black machine.


Loose forwards- A balance. The best skill set you can ask for in the trio. They have great technical ability, link up play with the backs is supreme and when the hard yards are required they can put them in. “Ferocious on defence, dominant at the breakdown and mesmerising on attack.”


Locks- Young, energetic and hungry. There is a new generation of rivalries and brilliance coming up. Etzebeth has the physical aura that Botha held, while developing an aerial threat in the lineout as well. Similar to Whitelock who has also made the All Black no 5 jumper his own.


Front row- I tried to combine the Argentineans and Springbok front row. They have managed to destroy all the scrums they have met. Bismarck is the best hooker in the world. Beast is quality, and will do the job better than most in the world. Figallo was the pillar for the Argentina side. A massive work rate around the park as well.


This is my World XV; arguably the best players in the world in their positions. While most players miss out on form and inconsistency.

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  1. Both NZ’s first and second choice 15’s are better than Half-penny… and Brodie Retalick eclipses Eben this test season… and Richie McCaw has no peer…

  2. Bunny –
    “I agree and I do not think I will have Willie as my staring player in a World XV”

    Surely you jest.

    Benedict, I applaud you for the inclusion in your world 15 of Messerschmitt-Villie LeRoux.

    Eagerly await your future writings here on RuggaWorld !

  3. Dagg is class, but earlier in the season he had some blips. Leigh has been quite solid and pivotal in the plight of both Lions and Wales.
    Le Roux, we love that X-Factor…

    thats why we love rugby we can debate it all here. Retallick beast, bar that bounce from Steyn.. we still feel he is the best 4 in the world !

  4. I would have selected George North over Ben Smith. He ripped the Aussies a new one every time he touched the ball in that series.

    Like Lomu with a brain.

    9. Rory Kockott

    I did not think FLo justifies an inclusion. Brussouw, Mowen and McCaw are way ahead…

    That is all.