Rugby World Cup Dream Team – Tier 2 Nations

With the Pool stages of the Rugby World Cup coming to an end, and sadly with all Tier Two Nations heading home, Last Word On Sports have decided to put together a Rugby World Cup ‘dream team’ from Tier Two Nations. as they have produced some of the most memorable moments of 2015 tournament.

This DREAM TEAM has six Fijians, five Japanese, two Canadians with one each from Georgia and Tonga. Any number of players could captain this side, and in several positions we had to make two choices in fact (A and B)

There are players that have honourable mentions as well, as they did exceptionally well in their positions and are worthy of high praise for bringing pride to the ‘minnows’ teams during pool play. It has been another wonderful event, even if no official Tier Two sides made the quarterfinals – Japan have broken inside the Top 10 ranked sides, with only England the other Top 10 team who did not qualify.

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15 (a) AYUMU GORUMARU (JAPAN) The mainstay of the Japanese Team, with his accurate kicking and devastating runs. Named Man of The Match in two separate games, he scored some beautiful tries with a personal points total of 58 points.

     (b) Tim Nanai-Williams (SAMOA)  His 42 carries, 5 line breaks, 277 meters ran and five offloads. Outstanding for Samoa, would have done better if his team mates supported him better. Will do well for the Sevens team in the World Series.

14 (a) DTH VAN DER MERWE (CANADA) Was on top of his game for the Canadians even though his team didn’t win a game. Scored four tries, 45 carries, 20 carries over gain line, seven line breaks, he ran 389 meters with five offloads and five turnovers.  Could feature in the final dream team of the tournament too. Who wouldn’t want him in his team?

     (b) Telusa Vaeinu (TONGA) was ‘cool under pressure’ especially under high balls and made some scintillating runs: eight line breaks in counter attack, only to be let down by lack of execution from his team mates.

  • Asaeli Tikoirotuma (FIJI) is another winger who stood out, as he made plenty of offloads and started that counter attacking run which resulted in a memorable try scored by Vereniki Goneva against Wales.

13. CIARAN HEARN (CANADA) Combined well with Van Der Merwe, made 46 carries and crossed the gain line on numerous occassions. Did his best for Canada all throughout.

  • Paula Kinikinilau (ROMANIA) and Vereniki Goneva (FIJI) both had a great tournament with their respective teams.

12 (a) LEVANI BOTIA ( FIJI) Played two games but made his presence known in each. A bright future for Fiji rugby, he made six line breaks and pulled some great try saving tackles and crucial turnovers during his time on field.

     (b) Ray Lee Lo (SAMOA) Was very stable in his role, made seven line breaks with five offloads. Played his best against the Scottish and has learned plenty in his time with The Hurricanes.

  • Florin Vlaicu (ROMANIA) His last minute penalty helped his team beat Canada, after trailing 15-0 at the break to record the greatest comeback in Rugby World Cup history.

11. NEMANI NADOLO ( FIJI) Another player who had a great tournament, scoring two tries and kicking pretty well for the Fijians. If the Fijians find a way soon to get more quality ball to him, this is a man you will be hearing more off leading into the next Rugby World Cup.

  • Kotalo Matsushima (JAPAN) Played well for the Japanese feisty and skillful. Adrian Apostol (ROMANIA) A late replacement, he scored two fine tries and has a bright future for the Oaks.

10. BEN VOLAVOLA (FIJI) Like Botia, he is a future star in the making. Scored a beautiful try against the Aussies, made five offloads, has huge potential when he finally works out his kicking game but Volavola has shown glimpses of a great five-eighth in the making. The Crusaders can only benefit from his potential, as will the Flying Fijians.

  • Theuns Kotze (NAMIBIA) Had a good tournament getting 35 points, and Kurt Morath (TONGA) and Tusi Pisi (SAMOA) were consumate professionals for their teams.

9. FUMIAKI TANAKA (JAPAN) One of the leaders in the Japanese team, the main link between the forwards and backs. Small in stature but played like a true Samurai Warrior and carried on his positive energy exposure to The Highlanders winning culture.

  • Kahn Fotuali’i (SAMOA) A great player, he excelled in his swift passing. Nemia Kenatale (FIJI), Nikola Matawalu (FIJI) as well as the feisty Augustin Ormaechea (URUGUAY) all deserve a special mention.

8 (a) MAMUKA GORGODZE (GEORGIA) Leading his country from the front, he won two Man Of the Match awards, made eight offloads, 41 tackles and collected seven turnovers. A very inspirational captain.

    (b) Amalaki Mafi (JAPAN) The future of Japanese rugby, a well rounded player who always makes an instant impact when he gets on the field.

  • Viliame Ma’afu (TONGA), Aaron Carpenter (CANADA) and Netani Talei (FIJI) all played very well.

7. AKAPUSI QERA (FIJI) Captain courageous led his troops well especially playing against three Tier 1 Nations in 13 days. won 7 turnovers and that too against tough oppositions speaks volumes of his capabilities.

  • Andrew Durutalo (USA) He won 6 turnovers but was one of the standouts for the Eagles, who as a group had a disappointing tournament. Tinus Du Plesis (NAMIBIA) this man gives his all in every game, he played his heart out for his country.

6. MICHAEL LEITCH (JAPAN) Every rugby coach would want this man in his team. Eddis Jones commended his strong leadership of the Cherry Blossoms, a key figure in that famous victory over the Springboks, he made 60 carries with 36 carries over gain line and his 51 tackles demonstrated a big heart. Your ideal blindside flanker.

  • Maurie Fa’asavulu (SAMOA) Sione Kalamafoni (TONGA) and Jacques Burger (NAMIBIA) who each did their best too for their sides, with the latter playing in his last tournament [played in three World Cups] A great ambassador of Namibian Rugby.

5. LEONE NAKARAWA (FIJI) Aussie rugby commentator Gordon Bray labelled him as his ‘Player of the Tournament’. A hard worker with a powerful fend and good hands. Great ability to release offloads at will, runs like a back and wins turnovers like a flanker. 42 carries, 19 carries over gain line, 10 offloads (the highest in the tournament so far) and nine turnovers, which is second only to David Pocock. Should be in that shortlist of World Rugby ‘Player of the tournament’ bearing in mind he played superbly against three Tier One nations in only 13 days. Take a bow.

  • Jamie Cudmore (CANADA) The bad boy of rugby, he always plays to his utmost, and his attempt to eavesdrop the French pack was classic.

4. LUKE THOMPSON (JAPAN) Together with Leitch, they led from the front to bring Japanese rugby to where it is now; the only team to win three games but not to qualify for the knock-out stages. Japan were minnows before, but ended the tournament as conquerors. Thompson has a superb workrate, solid player with great lineout skills, he made 49 tackles and won five turnovers.

  • Samu Manoa (USA) Anther who stood out for the Eagles team, he gave his all. Made 57 carries and with 26 carries over the gainline, this player has plenty to offer the Manu.

3. MANASA SAULO (FIJI) Fiji’s unsung hero, The Rock he anchored the scrums very well and that helped the Fijians demolish several Tier One Nations scrums, most notably Wales.

  • Levan Chilachara (GEORGIA) Stood his ground against the mighty Kiwi scrum. Census Johnston (SAMOA) Did his job well and would fit into many Premier sides.

2. SHOTA HORIE (JAPAN) Connected well with Thompson and Leitch in the lineouts, made good runs. His stint in Super Rugby has helped him mature as a player.

  • Sunia Koto (FIJI) Could be his last tournament, but played very well with his front row partners Saulo and Ma’afu to take Fiji scrummaging to new heights.

1.SOANE TONGA’UHIA (TONGA) One of the best loosehead props in the World, he proved that against the All Blacks and Los Pumas.

  • Campese Ma’afu (FIJI) and Keita Inagaki (JAPAN) were each impressive.

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With a side manned by these 15 players, it would be a great World XV to challenge any Tier One nation.

NOTE: all stats taken from rugbyworldcup.com

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