From the Last Word on Rugby department.
With every big event in the rugby calendar; especially a World Cup tournament, organizers name the best players who have made the tournament a success. Last Word on Rugby has put together our own 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup Dream Team.
It’s a mixture of the most outstanding performers, from all throughout the tourney.
Newly crowned World Champions New Zealand have eight players in the squad, England has three players, two from the United States and one each from France and Spain.
LWOR Women’s Rugby World Cup ‘Dream Team’
The Front Rows
1. Toka Natua (NZ) – She was the hero in the final with her three tries. Natua was consistent all throughout the tournament though, and her combination with her fellow front rowers were instrumental in the Kiwis win in the final.
Isabel Rico of Spain was outstanding too in this position, together with Hope Rogers of USA and centurion Rochelle Clark from the bench of England.
2. Fiao’o Faamausili (NZ) – A true Kiwi warrior in her own right, she is now the most-capped women’s player in New Zealand. Faamausili led her troops well, even when they were down in the final. The captain; along with coach Glenn Moore (see picture below) marshaled her troops to dig deep, change tactics and come out victorious.
Cary Philips of Wales and Red Roses rake Amy Cockayne were outstanding in their position too.
3. Aldora Itunu (NZ) – Her bulldozing runs will be one to remember, her defensive work and the Itunu hat-trick against the United States has earned her a spot in the team.
Hilisha Samoa of Australia and rookie Sara Bern of England also did very well in the tournament.
4. Charmaine Smith (NZ) – Consistent and hardworking on and off the ball. She personifies the Kiwis spirit with her undying attitude.
Even though the Aussies struggled in the tournament, Millie Boyle was outstanding either at lock or blindside flanks. Irish skewer Mary-Louise Reilly deserves a special mention, as she could have made the team too.
5. Tamara Taylor (ENG) – The test cap centurion was all over the park like a rookie. Her brilliant cover tackle in the flanks against the French will be one to remember in years to come. Taylor was also a powerful lineout jumper, mirroring a Martin Johnson like figure.
Her locking partner Abbie Scott was also outstanding throughout, as was Maria Ribera of Spain. Her 42 carriers over the gainline, made her number one for WRWC2017..
Loose Forwards/Back Rows
6. Sara Parsons (USA) – This was one of the toughest positions in which to choose, as there were plenty of players who put their hands up. However, Parsons gets the nod for her high work rate and helping her American side to the semis.
Red Roses fetcher Alex Matthews was also close, together with our Editor Scott Hornell’s pick Charmaine McNeminan of New Zealand. Super-sub Harriett Millar-Mills could push them all, for her impact role.
7. Marlie Packer (ENG) – The feisty English openside flanker gets the nod because of her ability to link up well with the outside backs. Packer is also known for the lines she chooses to run. Very good at the breakdown and an all-round performer.
Sarah Goss from the Black Ferns was also outstanding, with prolific lineout jumper Rachael Taylor of Wales rounding out the picks.
8. Aroha Savage (NZ) – Savage was instrumental in their second half performance in the final against the Red Roses. Has an eye for getting over the advantage line with her runs. Big and an authority off the ruck.
Tough choice here, as Safi N’Diaye of France together with Jordan Gray of United States were in line to earn this spot. Special mention also to Mateitoga Bogidraumainadave, as injury forced her to only a cameo appearance in WRWC2017.
Backline – Halves Combination
9. Kendra Cocksedge (NZ) – Distributed well for her side, her vision to utilize her backs when needed is what that sets her apart. Like Aaron Smith, she is vocal and her kicking sets Cocksedge (see main picture) apart from the rest.
Natasha Hunt of England and young Moe Tsukui of Japan also stood out in the halfback position.
10. Patricia Garcia (ESP) – This position could have gone to either of the players in that position but the way Garcia helped her side was outstanding. She dictated, maneuvered and orchestrated all their Spanish teams plays to perfection. Again, her kicking was outstanding.
Katy McLean of the Roses, Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali of New Zealand, French Caroline Drouin and Irish Nora Stapleton could have all taken this spot.
11. Naya Tapper (USA) – This might surprise many due to the way Renee Wycliffe has been playing for the Kiwis, but the American truly has earned her spot. Her ability to carry defenders over the advantage line, and nose for the tryline, speaks volumes of the strength, passion and determination of the lanky winger.
Theresa Fritzpatrick was also outstanding, along with Mahalia Murphy of Australia.
14. Portia Woodman (NZ) – No contest in this position really. The top try scorer, and new record holder, has certainly earned it. Is both explosive and elusive, with an improving defensive game too.
Magali Harvey of Canada and Lydia Thompson of England were close, but not close enough.
12. Kelly Brazier (NZ) – Very consistent in every game, a hard runner and defender, Brazier distributes well for Woodman and has a wicked left-foot step that leaves you in awe.
Rachael Burford of the Roses could only come close to the caliber of this Kiwi girl who thrives in both codes of the game. Sharni Williams is also a confident inside center who performed really well.
13. Caroline Ladagnous (FRA) – The heart of the French attack, always finds her way to the line. Like Woodman her sevens skills came in handy in helping the French progress in the tournament. Ladagnous was very elusive, with 15 defenders beaten at WRWC2017.
Emily Scarratt could have earned this spot, as does the big tackling Jenny Murphy of Ireland.
15. Danielle Waterman (ENG) – Big decision choosing between, the fleet-footed Waterman, rookie Amdee Montserratt of France and Kiwi Selica Winiata. The English women gets the nod, as she can run lines like Beauden Barrett and Mike Brown put together. Big boot on her too, and links well with her backline and forwards; especially the second and third phase balls.
That was the Last Word on Rugby selection, but now we compare to the Official World Rugby 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup Dream Team.
— World Rugby (@WorldRugby) August 27, 2017
And here are your Dream Team backs at #WRWC2017, as chosen by the World Rugby commentary team.
Congratulations to all involved. pic.twitter.com/hMBO1BO61M
— World Rugby (@WorldRugby) August 27, 2017
The Final Chapter – Thanks for the Memories!
Coming to the end of another Women’s Rugby World Cup and it was an out and out success. New horizons were explored, new sides competing with many, many new viewers tuning in.
True, sevens season is next up on the women’s calendar but we hope all teams go back and continue with the full code competitions. The skill level has reached new heights, with the backing of most major rugby nations. It has shown in the game, and continued support will help the game evolve even further.
LWOR wishes to thank you the reader for following our coverage of the WRWC2017. It has been a pleasure, and look forward to more coverage of the Women’s game in the months to come.
“Main photo credit”
Embed from Getty Images