Oval Talk

Team of the quarter-finals

Oval Talk

Here is our elite team from the World Cup quarter-finals:

15. Maxime Medard — France
He was one of the few players to emerge from France's indifferent pool stage with any recognition. He played well against England and showed what a class act he is and capped off his performance with a try.

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14. Cory Jane — New Zealand
The winger put in a standout performance against Argentina and put his off-field shenanigans behind him. He made two clear line breaks and caused problems for the Pumas throughout. It was good to see Jane making the headlines for the right reasons.

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13. Manu Tuilagi - England
Another man to have made the front and back pages this weekend. He wouldn't have been the first England player fans would choose to jump off a ferry following this World Cup as he is actually been one of the few positives for Martin Johnson. Tuilagi was England's best attacking option by some distance against Les Bleus.

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12. Jean de Villiers - South Africa
This centre runs so hard and so straight he can punch holes in any defence. However, it was not meant to be against Australia. Despite dominating the Wallabies for long periods they could not get the breakthrough and De Villiers did not deserve to end up on the losing side.

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11. Shane Williams - Wales
He finished his try well and scored it at a crucial time, which put Ireland under immense pressure to push forward and attack. And as they did the Ospreys wing also made a massive save when he held up the ball as Ireland surged over the line.

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10. Rhys Priestland - Wales
Wow, this guy can play. Priestland has always shown promise with the Scarlets and has now justified his position ahead of his team-mate Stephen Jones in the national side. He has some work to do on his tactical kicking but he was fantastic in both attack and defence.

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9. Piri Weepu - New Zealand
Dan who? Weepu put in a man-of-the-match performance and went some way to filling the massive Carter-shaped hole in the All Blacks team. He dictated play and kicked a New Zealand World Cup record of seven penalties to give his team breathing space against the Argentineans.

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8. Leonardo Senatore - Argentina
The No 8 put in a solid performance but it was his run which led to Argentina's try which made Senatore stand out. He caught Kieran Read and Richie McCaw flat-footed with a sharp turn of speed and ran half the length of the field to inspire the Pumas who briefly took the lead.

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7. David Pocock — Australia
What can you say about this guy? Sensational from the start and he was fantastic at the breakdown. Stealing the ball and holding up the play was what Pocock was born to do. Australia just look like a completely different team when he's playing.

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6. Sam Warburton - Wales
The Wales flanker put in yet another exceptional performance against Argentina. He is just so good at what he does; so powerful in defence and intelligent at the breakdown. One of the stars of the tournament.

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5. Paul O'Connell — Ireland
As per norm O'Connell was excellent. The Irish legend has been in fine form this tournament. So effective in the tackle and still pretty mobile around the pitch given his age.

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4.  Lionel Nallet - France
Great leadership from France's giant lock, Nallet was at the heart of the French mauling and scrummaging. He was also very tidy at the lineout.

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3. Julien Bonnaire - France
AKA the line-out stealer. An excellent performance against England. One lineout steal led to a French try and another thwarted England's mounting pressure in the second half. He was also extremely useful at the breakdown.

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2. Huw Bennett — Wales
Just one of the many Wales players to make a big impression on the world stage and spark talk that Warren Gatland's team could reach the final for a first time.

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1. Gurthro Steenkamp - South Africa
Just a high-class rugby player, whether it's in the scrum, the breakdown or in the loose. For a man of his size Steenkamp can really move around the field quickly.

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