Final insult: Wallabies brushed in team of the Cup

TYRO Tom Curry, Maro Itoje or Damian de Allende...so close are contenders for Player of the Tournament that it will come down to Saturday's Rugby World Cup final.

Standouts who have risen above the pack at the cutthroat end of the tournament are deservedly in the box seat to earn the highest individual gong.

Only has the late, great All Black Jonah Lomu (1995) been unanimously the Player of the Tournament at a World Cup without finishing on the winning side.

As long as Japan were alive, flying winger Kotaro Matsushima, who scored five tries and made 11 clean breaks, was in the hunt with influential No.8 Kazuki Himeno.

Likewise, Fijian ace Semi Radradra just had no chance to build on his irresistible showings for 400 running metres and 29 tackle busts when his side was bundled out in pool play.

All Blacks game-breaker Beauden Barrett has been overtaken with no final to play.

You could happily name five or six Englishmen from Itoje, Sam Underhill or Curry, Manu Tuilagi, George Ford, Ben Youngs and Kyle Sinckler in a World XV picked from the tournament.

Maro Itoje (R) has spearheaded England’s stunning march to the final. Picture: Getty
Maro Itoje (R) has spearheaded England’s stunning march to the final. Picture: Getty

It is the shrewd measure that former Wallabies coach Bob Dwyer nutted out in the 1990s as the barometer for whether a nation was equipped to win a World Cup.

England have that quality for Saturday's sellout decider against South Africa in Yokohama.

Sadly, the Wallabies won't win a single spot in any World XV named from this tournament whether the names are penned in Brisbane, Bristol, Bluff or Bloemfontein.

This World XV has been named purely on World Cup performances.

A rank has also been given to where the best Wallabies' performer would rank position-by-position.

It highlights just how far off the pace the Australians were when only inside centre Samu Kerevi, winger Marika Koroibete, tighthead prop Allan Alaalatoa and perhaps flanker Michael Hooper could be ranked Top 4 in their positions compared to the players of 20 nations.

Marika Koroibete was a rare shining light for Australia – but still doesn’t make Tucker’s Team of the Tournament. Picture: Getty
Marika Koroibete was a rare shining light for Australia – but still doesn’t make Tucker’s Team of the Tournament. Picture: Getty

Flanker Curry, 21, has been a revelation and he's just a stride ahead of backrow partner Sam Underhill, the most menacing tackler at the tournament.

Curry's workrate with his non-stop motor helped him outplay both Hooper and David Pocock.

Beyond his 17 tackles in the shutout of the Wallabies, he made the last pass for the Jonny May try, floored Reece Hodge with a thundering hit and grabbed a turnover gem.

Lock Itoje was magnificent again against the All Blacks just as centre de Allende was a matchwinner against Wales on semi-final weekend.

If the Springboks are to pull off an upset in the final, votes will flow for flanker Pieter-Steph du Toit because he will be a big part of any triumph as he's been game after game.

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WORLD XV: TEAM OF THE TOURNAMENT

Fullback: Beauden Barrett (NZ)

Top Wallaby: Kurtley Beale (Ranking: No.5-8)

Winger: Semi Radradra (Fiji)

Top Wallaby: Reece Hodge (No.13-16)

Centre: Manu Tuilagi (England)

Top Wallaby: James O'Connor (No.5-8)

Centre: Damian de Allende (S Africa)

Top Wallaby: Samu Kerevi (Top 4)

Winger: Kotaro Matsushima (Japan)

Top Wallaby: Marika Koroibete (Top 4)

Flyhalf: George Ford (England)

Top Wallaby: Christian Lealiifano (No.9-12)

Halfback: Yutaka Nagare (Japan)

Top Wallaby: Nic White (No.5-8)

No.8: Duane Vermeulen (S Africa)

Top Wallaby: Isi Naisarani (No.5-8)

Flanker: Sam Underhill (England)

Top Wallaby: Michael Hooper (Top 4)

Flanker: Pieter-Steph du Toit (S Africa)

Top Wallaby: David Pocock (No.5-8)

Lock: Maro Itoje (England)

Top Wallaby: Rory Arnold (No.5-8)

Lock: Alun Wyn Jones (Wales)

Top Wallaby: Izack Rodda (No.9-12)

Prop: Kyle Sinckler (England)

Top Wallaby: Allan Alaalatoa (Top 4)

Hooker: Ken Owens (Wales)

Top Wallaby: Tolu Latu (No.5-8)

Prop: Joe Moody (NZ)

Top Wallaby: Scott Sio (No.9-12)

---

Super Sub: Malcolm Marx (S Africa)

Top Wallaby: Matt Toomua (No.5-8)

X-factor: Tom Curry (England)

Top Wallaby: Jordan Petaia (No.5-8)

News Corp Australia


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