Skip to main contentAccess keys helpA-Z index

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
| Help
Last Updated: Monday, 24 November, 2003, 09:38 GMT
Team of the tournament
15: Mils Muliaina (Nzl)
14: Rupeni Caucaunibuca (Fij)
13: Stirling Mortlock (Aus)
12: Tony Marsh (Fra)
11: Lote Tuqiri (Aus)
10: Jonny Wilkinson (Eng)
9: Fabien Galthie (Fra)
1: Bill Young (Aus)
2: Keith Wood (Ire)
3: Phil Vickery (Eng)
4: Martin Johnson (Eng)
5: Paul O'Connell (Ire)
6: George Smith (Aus)
7: Joe van Niekerk (SA)
8: Lawrence Dallaglio (Eng)
The World Cup is over and England were the team to walk away with the ultimate prize when all was said and done.

As a result, four Englishmen make it into our team of the tournament.

There is even room for a Fijian, a Springbok and two Irishmen, as well as a scattering of Australians.

But only one All Black meets our selection criteria despite New Zealand shining for much of the spectacle.

Have a look at our selections and see if you agree with the XV players we went for.

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

The All Black runner may have missed out on a place in the final but he was, without doubt, the full-back of the tournament.

He ended as the leading try scorer - topping the tables with seven alongside team-mate Doug Howlett - and looked dangerous wherever he found himself in possession.

He scored one of the tries of the tournament against Tonga, as well as running four in against Canada, and looks set to be New Zealand's long-term answer at number 15.

Rupeni Caucaunibuca
14. Rupeni Caucaunibuca
Right wing, Fiji

Seeing the Fijian flyer in action was strangely reminiscent of Jonah Lomu in his prime. The only caveat to Caucau's World Cup appearance was that it was all too brief, as Fiji failed to qualify from the pool stages.

He was on fire from the very outset, sprinting in a 70-metre solo spectacular against France before being banned for two games for a punch on Olivier Magne.

Thankfully, Caucau returned for the final game against Scotland and was at his prolific best once more with a further two tries.

Stirling Mortlock
13. Stirling Mortlock
Outside centre, Australia

He was not even on the bench in Australia's opening match of the tournament but finished the first semi-final as man of the match and was equally strong on the losing side in the final.

His return from shoulder surgery complete, he was in mesmeric form, constantly causing chaos in the All Blacks defence as well as running England ragged on occasions.

His try against New Zealand was just reward for his long road to fitness - and the victory over the All Blacks seemed apt following such a wonderful performance. Sadly for him, he couldn't quite repeat it in the final.

Tony Marsh
12. Tony Marsh
Inside centre, France

Marsh's return to form and fitness is even more impressive than Mortlock's, having won his battle with testicular cancer just in time to earn his player in France's World Cup squad.

It remained unclear whether he would be capable of the sort of form he had previously showed at international level but, if anything, he was better than ever.

Always looking to launch a fresh attack - even in the reasonably pointless third-place play-off - he ran his lines beautifully as well as putting in the big tackles when it really mattered.

Lote Tuqiri
11. Lote Tuqiri
Left wing, Australia

Tuqiri's selection on the left wing was deemed a gamble not worth taking according to many of Australia's critics.

But the former league star proved his doubters wrong and was in superb form, always looking exciting on the attack as well as enjoying a superb rapport with both Mat Rogers and Wendell Sailor.

His defence was also supreme and he saved a try when he forced Mils Muliaina to knock-on over the try line in the semi-final, before his try in the final when he latched onto a Stephen Larkham up-and-under.

Jonny Wilkinson
10. Jonny Wilkinson
Fly-half, England

It seemed fitting that it was Wilkinson who stole the headlines with his extra-time drop goal - virtually the final kick of the tournament.

He had been the talk of the town in both England and Australia - the World Cup hosts often criticising his game and England's reliance on him, while the English papers praised his unerring accuracy.

But when the pressure mounted, he did the job. And few could argue with his role as our playmaker.

Fabien Galthie
9. Fabien Galthie
Scrum-half, France

Sadly for the game, Galthie will no longer be seen on the world stage, having retired from international rugby after the semi-final defeat to England.

New Zealand's Justin Marshall and England's Matt Dawson both make good causes for winning the number nine shirt in our select XV, but Galthie's consistency gets him the nod.

He was one of the few truly reliable ball distributors throughout the tournament, and his inspirational leadership and relationship with fly-half Frederic Michalak was the main reason for France's explosive displays.

Bill Young
1. Bill Young
Loose-head prop, Australia

Young wins his place at loose-head for his sterling efforts against the All Blacks and England.

He did not put a foot wrong in the scrum and terrorised the opposition front rows, leading to a host of penalties from his English rivals in the final.

But it was in open play where he was at his most prolific, and he never seemed to tire of running as the clock ticked on.

Keith Wood
2. Keith Wood
Hooker, Ireland

Like Galthie, Wood has hung up his boots but certainly gave everyone something to think about.

As always, "the raging potato", as he became known by some commentators, was the very heart of everything that Ireland did.

His line-out throwing - in the past one of his weak points - was more accurate than a Tomahawk missile, while he ran his heart out and kicked like the best fly-halves at times.

Phil Vickery
3. Phil Vickery
Tight-head prop, England

England's front five proved the strongest in the tournament but Vickery was the pick of the front-rowers in the second semi-final and the final, making all of his 18-stone bulk pay in a series of telling shoves.

He is never going to win any sprint plaudits but his game is much more about the weight he gives to England's scrums than anything.

However, he enjoyed the occasional burst against France and Australia, scuttling over the odd tackler, even though he had the occasional difference of opinion with final referee Andre Watson.

Martin Johnson
4. Martin Johnson
Lock, England

Johnson is the clear captain of our World Cup XV, having lifted the Webb Ellis Trophy aloft after England's 20-17 win against Australia.

But it is not just his leadership which gets him in the starting line-up. Simply as a second-rower he was truly outstanding.

He was always irritating the opposition in the line-out, driving at every opportunity and taking on attack after attack whenever he got the chance. The overwhelming star lock down under.

Paul O'Connell
5. Paul O'Connell
Lock, Ireland

Aside from Johnson, there were a lot of stars in the second row. Australia's main protagonists did not put a foot wrong until the final where their line-out didn't quite work.

South Africa's Victor Matfield was another impressive player as was Ireland's Malcolm O'Kelly, but it is O'Kelly's team-mate Paul O'Connell who makes it into the mix.

The Irish line-out was majestic, only showing cracks in the quarter-final defeat to France, while O'Connell was also a raging inferno in the loose.

George Smith
6. George Smith
Blind-side flanker, Australia

Smith is the rugby version of the twins from The Matrix - a dreadlocked destroyer.

Critics said Australia would not beat the big boys of world rugby with two natural open-side flankers, but Smith, a man of perpetual motion, has rammed that notion back down their throats.

He was afforded a standing ovation by the Telstra Stadium crowd when he came off in the semi-final win over New Zealand and made England's life a misery whenever the chance arose in the final.

Joe van Niekerk
7. Joe van Niekerk
Open-side flanker, South Africa

South Africa dipped out of the tournament so long ago - in a quarter-final defeat to New Zealand - it is easy to forget the sort of impact van Niekerk made.

The Springboks were a tad too fluctuating on the field, but not van Niekerk, who could not have been blamed for any of their misadventures.

Defensively, he is an irritation to any attackers, but it was with the ball in hand that he was at his finest.

Lawrence Dallaglio
8. Lawrence Dallaglio
Number eight, England

Some had said the England number eight was past it, but they were left eating their words after his displays against the French and Australia.

In both games he protected Matt Dawson superbly as well as always being willing and able to take the ball into contact throughout.

For all the criticism, his World Cup outcome must have been more satisfying than for most.

Links to more Rugby World Cup stories



E-mail services | Sport on mobiles/PDAs


Back to top

Sport Homepage | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League | Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Snooker | Horse Racing | Cycling | US Sport | Other Sport | Olympics 2004

Scores & Fixtures | Have Your Say | Photo Galleries | TV/Radio Listings

Fun and Games | Question of Sport | BBC Sport Extra

Northern Ireland | Scotland | Wales

BBC Sport Academy >> | BBC News >> | BBC Weather >>
About the BBC | News sources | Privacy & Cookies Policy | Contact us
banner watch listen bbc sport