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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 October, 2003, 16:42 GMT 17:42 UK
World Cup Select XV
15: Mils Muliaina (NZ)
14: Daisuke Ohata (Jap)
13: Will Greenwood (Eng)
12: Iestyn Harris (Wal)
11: Rupeni Caucau (Fij)
10: Rima Wakarua (Ita)
9: Gareth Cooper (Wal)
1: Christo Bezuidenhout (SA)
2: Keith Wood (Ire)
3: Robert Grau (Arg)
4: Apenisa Naevo (Fiji)
5: Victor Matfield (SA)
6: Phil Waugh (Aus)
7: Maurie Fa'asavalu (Sam)
8: Ben Hur Kivalu (Ton)
The World Cup is up and running with the pool stages at the halfway mark.

Of the 600 or so internationals on duty in Australia the vast majority have seen some action, but who are the men who have caught the eye?

Here, BBC Sport reveals our selection, with an eclectic XV from around the world.

Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and Japan are all represented, with only one English player making our Select XV.

Mils Muliaina
15. Mils Muliaina
Full-back, New Zealand

Muliaina is the first-choice All Black number 15 but, with injuries mounting, ended up on the right wing against Canada.

He showed his adaptability with an astounding performance to go with his solid opening outing versus Italy.

He scored his first international try against the Cannucks and, within 41 minutes, he had four to his name, the fifth man to run in a quartet of touchdowns in World Cup history.

Daisuke Ohata
14. Daisuke Ohata
Right wing, Japan

Ohata is a try-scoring machine, with a ratio to compare with the best in the business.

Hardly surprising when pre-World Cup he was playing the likes of Korea and running in eight tries.

But the diminuitive flyer, who has won his country's version of Superstars, showed he is up to the challenge of playing the best, finishing off a fantastic score against the French.

Will Greenwood
13. Will Greenwood
Outside centre, England

Greenwood is proving vital to England's hopes as both an organiser in defence and an orchestrator in attack. On both counts he has performed.

England have yet to concede a try and Greenwood has crossed for three in two matches at the other end.

His touchdown against South Africa may not have been a classic but he has an ability to always be in the right place at the right time, despite playing under enormous stress.

Iestyn Harris
12. Iestyn Harris
Inside centre, Wales

Harris has taken time to settle in rugby union, but this tournament could prove the making of him.

Finally, with Wales up against some lesser nations, he was able to play on the front foot and show off all his skills, be it making incisive breaks or having the vision to set up others around him.

And what's more he has proved a revelation with the boot.

Rupeni Caucaunibuca
11. Rupeni Caucaunibuca
Left wing, Fiji

Caucaunibuca came into the tournament with a big reputation which he has enhanced despite only seeing 70 minutes of action.

Caucau left the French defence for dead with a searing break from inside his own half to touch down under the posts.

Before long he pulled another fast one, clocking Fabien Pelous and Olivier Magne with forearm jabs which resulted in a yellow card and a two-match ban. Scotland be warned - he'll be back.

Rima Wakarua
10. Rima Wakarua
Fly-half, Italy

The list of fly-halves at the tournament is a who's who of present day rugby greats. Stephen Larkham, Carlos Spencer, Jonny Wilkinson and Rima Waka-whoa?

Wakarua has stepped straight off the pages of Boys Own into the World Cup having only played second division rugby in Italy before kicking his country to victory over Tonga.

The 27-year-old looked a natural in the Test arena, slotting eight of nine efforts at goal and kicking out of hand with aplomb.

Gareth Cooper
9. Gareth Cooper
Scrum-half, Wales

Admittedly he is no Gareth Edwards, but Cooper has made the fabled red number nine shirt his own.

He has been the stand out scrum-half so far with a try in each of the principality's first two games of the tournament.

His blind-side dart against Tonga was reminiscent of Matt Dawson's memorable score for the Lions in 1997.

Christo Bezuidenhout
1. Christo Bezuidenhout
Loose-head prop, South Africa

The front row is a place for craggy old veterans and the hothouse atmosphere of a World Cup match against England is not the place to make your debut.

That is what the craggy old veterans say, but try telling Bezuidenhout that.

The front-row confrontation was billed as immovable object meeting the irresistable force, but he was both and more, causing England immeasurable problems.

Keith Wood
2. Keith Wood
Hooker, Ireland

The talisman is back and the Emerald Isle rejoices.

It feels as if Wood has been on the sidelines for as long as Kojak has been away from our screens, but now he's wearing green again and it is as if he has never been away.

A mere 35 minutes into Ireland's first match the bald battering ram was through for a try and it was Guinness all round in Dublin.

Roberto Grau
3. Roberto Grau
Tight-head prop, Argentina

The Pumas call their eight-man shove the bajada and grizzled Grau is the bedrock of that effort.

He was one of the few Argentines to play to their potential against Australia and Ali Baxter is probably still waking in a cold sweat at the thought of the pummeling he took.

Grau is now keeping his powder dry for the fireworks against Ireland, a crucial pool match for both teams.

Apenisa Naevo
4. Apenisa Naevo
Lock, Fiji

A lock's life is hardly exotic, sticking your head where the sun don't shine and getting speared into the air at line-outs every so often.

That is unless your Naevo, who is more kicking horse than workhorse.

The 6ft 6in giant's lolloping gait has got him on the end of two flowing Fijian moves for a try in each match.

Victor Matfield
5. Victor Matfield
Lock, South Africa

Matfield is the chalk to Naevo's cheese.

A practitioner of the finer points of second-row play, the lock is now a key player in the South African set-up having been on the priphery for far too long.

He is a master of the art of pilfering opposition line-out ball and is fast-becoming the southern hemisphere's lock supreme.

Phil Waugh
6. Phil Waugh
Blind-side flanker, Australia

His shock of blond hair makes him conspicuous around the park, as does his all action style and ramapaging runs.

A number seven playing at number six, he could get found out in the latter stages of the tournament, but for the time being that is what Waugh's good for.

He is the oil in the clogs of the Wallaby machine along with George Smith and gave an extra couple of squirts to proceedings against Romania when he deserved a try.

Maurie Fa'asavalu
7. Maurie Fa'asavalu
Open-side flanker, Samoa

He was the star of Samoa's opening game against Uruguay and could be a world star of the future.

The 23-year-old has pace to burn and was on hand to score two tries.

He has power in contact as well and can only be better having the benefit of learning from a master, Samoa's assistant coach, and All Black legend, Michael Jones.

Ben Hur Kivalu
8. Ben Hur Kivalu
Number eight, Tonga

Kivalu could be in for his name alone, but no bones about it, Ben Hur can play.

He is a man mountain at the back of the pack and a terrifying sight in the loose.

Kivalu has had two storming games, capped by a try against Wales when he steered a Tongan drive over the line and fell on the ball to set up the game's grandstand finish.

Links to more Rugby World Cup stories



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