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Rugby World Cup 2011: Jeremy Guscott World Cup Q&A

Jerome Kaino gets to grips with France's Julien Bonnaire
Mighty All Black blind-side Kaino (top) makes Jerry's World Cup XV

Jeremy Guscott

Former England centre Jeremy Guscott answers your questions after New Zealand win the Rugby World Cup

Among the topics Jerry discusses this week are:

- Who would make his World Cup XV

- The standard of refereeing in the World Cup final

- Who should take over as England captain from the retiring Lewis Moody

- What he makes of Wales coach Warren Gatland's musing about faking injury

If you have any questions for Jeremy, please use the post form on this page. He will answer as many as possible next week, but unfortunately not every question submitted can be used. This week's answers appear below.

Hi Jerry, simple question: What would be your Rugby World Cup 2011 best XV?
Jonathan Garrod, England

Israel Dagg; George North, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Jamie Roberts, Digby Ioane; Dan Carter, Dimitri Yachvili; Gethin Jenkins, Bismarck du Plessis, Adam Jones, James Horwill, Victor Matfield, Jerome Kaino, David Pocock, George Stowers.

Jeremy, what was your favourite game of this World Cup and why?
Jake Norrish, Wales

Hi Jake, my favourite game was Ireland v Australia, it was a game of great intensity. Ireland were the underdogs and went out and did a job on them. All teams analyse each other inside out yet the Aussies hadn't spotted how the Irish had worked on tackling a player and then keeping them up rather than letting them get to ground. With the ball not down Ireland would then get the turnover and win the put-in to the scrum.

Hi Jerry, what is your defining memory of what I believe has been one of the most successful Rugby World Cups?
Baz, England

Hi Baz, the defining moment for me would have to be the Sam Warburton red card . I'm still getting asked questions about it and I still believe referee Alain Rolland should have opted for yellow.

What are your thoughts on the refereeing of the final? I thought Craig Joubert had a howler of a game, to the point it was blatant he was giving preferential treatment to the All Blacks at the tackle area. As someone who started off wanting the All Blacks to win, I ended up supporting the French due to biased refereeing. Are some teams more equal than others?
Gareth, Wales

Hi Jeremy, do you think that the All Blacks got an unfair number of the refereeing calls in the final? Many scrums went down near the end with NZ under pressure and they were allowed to carry on. There were also two clear high tackles missed. Bit of a 'home town ref' don't you think?
Andrew, Wales

Jeremy, watching the final, it seemed that Joubert was only refereeing the French. It was tragic! Although I believe the All Blacks have been worthy winners of the RWC and it was a great game, I can't help myself thinking "if only there was another referee for the ABs!!!" So what do you think about the level of refereeing at this tournament?
David, France

Craig Joubert awards a penalty on Sunday
Joubert did not please everybody with his decisions in the final

Hi Gareth, Andrew and David, as usual some refs came in for some stick, some rightly so and others wrongly. Joubert didn't have his best game in the final and on a lot of the 50-50 decisions I got the impression he was favouring New Zealand.

We have to remember we wouldn't have a game without the ref and it is without doubt a really tough job. The best refs do such a good job that as a viewer/watcher/player of the game you sometimes forget there's a ref on the pitch. On the other side you also have to remember that some players make it their job to try and get away with breaking the laws and most refs will spot this, meaning the game will be a penalty-strewn affair.

Some decisions, like the Warburton dismissal, are always going to split people's opinion but on this occasion I'm pretty sure a majority of players would say that a yellow would have been sufficient. It's as simple as the directive given to refs about tip tackles.

It says start at red, which I interpret as meaning you don't have to give a red card, you can give a yellow or less as well. I don't think poor refereeing decisions have dominated this RWC, so I will say all in all the refs have been good throughout the competition.

Why hasn't Richie McCaw been cited for his knee connecting to a French player's head? It did look accidental, but after the Courtney Lawes episode it smells of bias....
Paul F England

How do you explain the lack of flair of the All Blacks? Also, the French were traditionally penalised for brutality, but on Sunday we saw Piri Weepu punching Maxime Mermoz and McCaw deliberately crushing Morgan Parra's head with his knee. Is it fair?
Sebastien, France

Hi Paul and Sebastien, I didn't think McCaw deliberately kneed Parra in the head. Parra got his head on the wrong side of Nonu in the tackle and just got caught by McCaw as he went in to support.

One way to look at the All Blacks' lack of flair in the final would be the brilliant performance of France captain Thierry Dusautoir. Another would be that the All Blacks were nervous and tightened up under the second half pressure being exerted by the French.

Let's be honest, France were the better team on Sunday. The referee was harsher with the French than with the Kiwis. The Kiwis almost blew it, but in the end they won it. Are they going to be unbeatable now they have got this monkey off their back?
Antonio, UK

Hi Antonio, let's be honest, New Zealand are pretty unbeatable anyway - since the last RWC in 2007 they've won about 83% of their games. One thing's for sure, the next New Zealand squad playing in RWC 2015 won't have to talk about not having won it for so long, so that should make them more relaxed.

Hi Jerry, in the aftermath of England's torrid World Cup campaign, who do you think should now be captain of England going forward?
Alastair, England

With Lewis Moody's retirement and Mike Tindall's age, who would be your tip as long-term captain of England?
Arthur, England

A bloodied Lewis Moody pictured during England's defeat by France in the last eight
'Mad dog' Moody: Never less than 100% committed

Hi Alastair and Arthur, for me a captain has to be nailed on for selection first before being considered for captaincy, and within this current England squad there aren't too many of those players.

I believe Toby Flood should be given a decent run at 10 and could be considered as a short-term captain. He would be short term because I'm not confident about him maintaining the form necessary to be first pick, his form in the last 12 months has been a tad in and out.

Personally I've always preferred a forward or a scrum-half as a captain, they generally lead by example and are always involved in the game.

Of the current crop of forwards I like the look of Tom Croft or Tom Wood. Croft has been a constant in the side for the last 12 months and plays well, Wood should have played more but with Moody being captain and Johnson preferring Hendre Fourie he didn't get more game time at open-side. I would be happy with Croft as England captain.

With the international retirement of Lewis Moody this week, what would you say his contribution to the England team has been, and who would your candidate be to take his position in the back row for the long term in the England team?
Tom Price, Havant Hampshire

Hi Tom, Moody has been a good player, giving his all every time he's been out and played. I wouldn't say he was the most skilful or 'rugby intelligent' player, but no-one could accuse him of being short of heart and soul - he always gave everything for the cause.

A clear successor to Moody isn't blatantly obvious right now but I hope whoever leads England towards and into the next RWC has learned the lessons of the 2011 tournament, notably the impact of the out-and-out sevens.

Richie McCaw, Sam Warburton, David Pocock and Heinrich Brussow have all had massive seasons, as has new IRB player of the year Thierry Dusautoir . The Frenchman is a slightly different sort of player to the others though, he's more a defensive seven, rather than a linking seven.

You picked Jamie Heaslip as your Lions number eight on World Cup form. I know I am Welsh but having seen Toby Faletau's statistics of 74 carries, 74 tackles and none missed, would you not agree he has out-performed any other eight in the competition?
Ben, Wales

Hi Ben, Faletau did play well, but being hyper critical, he has a very slight tendency to drop the odd ball and to lose ball in contact. It's a difficult call and I did actually select him in my World Cup XV in another publication, although as you can see from my first answer, I'm actually more keen on Samoa's George Stowers now!

Hi, I keep reading articles from people saying that this young Welsh side could be the next big thing in world rugby. To me, they have potential and very talented players, but I think they are only capable of being a great side if they learn how to keep calm in important moments and close out big matches when the scoreboard is very close. They didn't do that against South Africa or France, do you think they'll learn from that enough to be big contenders for the next Six Nations?
Kyle, Scotland

Hi Kyle, the Welsh side do have massive potential but have recently come up short in close games and won nothing. So much depends on how the players react to the high expectations people will have of them from here on in.

They should have their own expectations and I believe there are some good characters within the team that should keep them all level headed. I've said for a while now that some Welsh players have lacked the mental toughness to win the big games, I didn't see much lacking during the RWC but the little bit that was absent probably contributed to the losses.

What do you think of Warren Gatland's comment admitting he considered cheating in Wales's semi-final defeat by France?
Jac and Bunz, Wales

Hi Jeremy, what do you think of Gatland's honesty regarding the possibility of pulling a prop off to have uncontested scrums? Could the IRB actually punish him when he's done nothing wrong?
Phill Lawrence, Neath, South Wales

Hi Phil, Jac and Bunz, in general terms Gatland's comments could be viewed as bringing the game into disrepute and I don't think there would be much recourse for him. My view is that whatever Gatland was thinking, some things are best not said in public, and that would be one of them.

One good thing to come out of it, is that it has made the rugby authorities more aware that some coaches might consider asking a player to fake an injury to get to uncontested scrums. In the future I'm pretty sure if there are uncontested scrums in a match there might well be a request for medical evidence about the injury and I can't see any medical people putting pen to paper if it's not legit. Let's hope it doesn't have to get that far.

Follow Jerry on Twitter: @JeremyGuscott

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see also
New Zealand 8-7 France
31 Oct 11 |  Rugby Union
Captain Moody quits England duty
23 Oct 11 |  Rugby Union
Edwards agrees deal to exit Wasps
02 Nov 11 |  London Wasps
Proud McCaw revels in NZ victory
23 Oct 11 |  Rugby Union
Lievremont proud of beaten French
23 Oct 11 |  Rugby Union
World Cup final as it happened
23 Oct 11 |  Rugby Union
Cooper faces long injury lay-off
23 Oct 11 |  Rugby Union
Wales are global force - Roberts
22 Oct 11 |  Welsh
Wales 18-21 Australia
21 Oct 11 |  Welsh

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