WRWC 2010: The Dream Team

(IRB.COM) Wednesday 22 September 2010
 
 WRWC 2010: The Dream Team
Debby Hodgkinson on a typical charge against France - Photo: rugbymatters.net

Women's Rugby World Cup 2010 was a tournament which caught the imaginations of the public and media alike, raising the profile of the Women's Game significantly around the world and dispelling any myths there may have been.

A whole host of players catapulted themselves into the media spotlight with their displays on the pitch and after much debate on the Women's Rugby World Cup 2010 Facebook page, the rwcwomens.com team have bowed to popular demand and selected our Dream Team.

1. Rochelle Clark (England) - Won her 50th cap for her country in their World Cup opener against Ireland and her experience shone through with her strong performances in the scrum and a good work-rate. Another runners-up medal was not what she had mind.

2. Fiao'o Fa'amausili (New Zealand) - Had the unenviable task of filling the New Zealand No.2 jersey worn with such success by three-time World Cup winning captain Farah Palmer, but revelled in the challenge. A reliable thrower into the lineout, she is also strong with ball in hand and hard to stop when at her charging best.

3. Jamie Burke (USA) - The ability to play on either side of the scrum meant she was a key element of the Women's Eagles game plans, starting every match en route to another fifth place finish. An impressive workrate by the USA vice captain, who has a true passion for the game and a desire to see it grow across America.

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4. Chris Ross (Australia) - A tower of strength in the Wallaroos lineout, winning the ball that allowed the talented Australian backline to cut loose en route to a best ever finish of third. Started every match at the World Cup and like McGilchrist showed a good turn of pace for a second row.

5. Joanna McGilchrist (England) - A remarkable athlete with a surprisingly good turn of pace for a second row, who can forget her chase to stop Black Ferns wing Carla Hohepa from scoring a certain breakaway try in the World Cup final. Another player not shy of work and a great defender.

6. Claire Canal (France) - Can also play number 8 but is more effective as a flanker and consistently provided France with the upper hand at the breakdown and in the scrum in the early stages of the tournament. Scored three tries, all of them important with a brace in a tricky opener against Sweden and another in a must-win pool decider with Canada.

7. Maggie Alphonsi (England) - Who else? Probably the best defender in the tournament she constantly made the big hits and was a menace at the breakdown, turning over ball and helping put England on the front foot. An inspirational player, she loved getting her hands on the ball and charging forward, whipping up the crowd in the process. Pushed Hohepa all the way for the Women's Personality of the Year accolade.

8. Debby Hodgkinson (Australia) - A star of the inaugural Women's Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2009, she is a vital cog of the 15-a-side Wallaroos with her explosive running off the back of the scrum and headlong into the opposition. A great ball carrier, her exploits belied the fact she was carrying an ACL injury throughout the tournament.

9. Cheryl Soon (Australia) - At the heart of everything the Wallaroos achieved as they sought a unique World Cup double. A natural leader, she inspired those around her and at times seemed to have a telepathic understanding with her number 8 Debby Hodgkinson, such was their linkage play. A fitting swansong for a player who has given so much to the game over the years.

10. Katy McLean (England) - The standout fly half in the tournament, although she would be the first to admit the final wasn't her finest hour, missing a few kicks at goal. England's vice captain started every match, orchestrating the backline well and kicked out of hand with great accuracy to end the tournament with 35 points.

11. Nicole Beck (Australia) - Her try-saving tackle on Fiona Pocock in the semi final will go down in folklore, but the Wallaroos wing nicknamed 'Pup' had so much more to her game. A Women's Personality of the Year nominee, Beck was a tireless worker with speed and enthusiasm, not to mention an accurate boot, her impressive kicking display against South Africa being vital in Australia reaching a first ever semi final.

12. Kelly Brazier (New Zealand) - One half of the tournament's outstanding centre pairing with Huriana Manuel, she constantly got over the gain line and made countless breaks to create so much space for her teammates. Scored a hat-trick in her one appearance at full back against Wales, but was most comfortable and dangerous at inside centre. Crucially held her nerve to kick the winning penalty in the final despite a bruised knee to finish as the tournament's top point scorer with 48.

13. Lucy Millard (Scotland) - Without doubt one of the best centres of the tournament who would not have looked out of place playing for one of the top sides. A shining light in a Scotland side that finished eighth, her amazing outside breaks and turn of pace enabled the centre to score four tries.

14. Carla Hohepa (New Zealand) - One of the stars of the tournament with her pace, skill-set and vision not only resulting in seven tries for her but countless others for the Black Ferns. The tournament's joint top try-scorer and Keep Rugby Clean Ambassador, Hohepa scored the first WRWC 2010 hat-trick on day one and touched down against the top teams when it mattered most, including the first try of the final.

15. Danielle Waterman (England) - Showed her vision and guile for her two tries against the USA in the final pool match and provided an extra dimension to the England backline through the tournament. Solid in defence, good under the high ball and always an attacking threat, the 25-year-old was nominated for the IRB Women's Personality of the Year accolade.

Replacements:

16. Catrin Edwards (Wales) - A solid performer at scrum-time and dynamic with ball in hand for a Welsh side who failed to find their feet during the pool stages.

17. Mel Bosman (New Zealand) - Got the nod in the front row for the Black Ferns in the business end of the tournament, starting both the semi final and title decider and with two World Cup winners' medals brings plenty of experience.

18. Justine Lavea (New Zealand) - Gave Alphonsi a great contest in the loose during the final and had a solid tournament, supporting every wave of Black Ferns attack and recycling countless balls.

19. Joy Neville (Ireland) - A great character to have around, inspirational on the pitch and a tireless worker. Marked her 50th cap with a brace of tries against USA in the pool stages. Scored four tries in the tournament, the most by a forward.

20. Marie Alice Yahe (France) - Possesses a great pass and marshalled her forwards well throughout the tournament, a number nine who annoys the hell out of her rivals with her sniping runs and in your face play.

21. Heather Moyse (Canada) -The joint leading try-scorer with Hohepa, but unlike the Black Ferns wing failed to score against the "big guns". A great athlete to bring on against tiring defences.

22. Victoria Grant (New Zealand) - Unlucky to lose out to Waterman for the starting full back berth, she was outstanding in attack with excellent vision and creativity, seeming at times to have a telepathic understanding with Hohepa and Manuel.