Planet Rugby Readers’ Team of the Year

30 Dec, 2022 - 00:12 0 Views
Planet Rugby Readers’ Team of the Year

eBusiness Weekly

A whopping 26,820 of you voted via our polls on Twitter, and with the final count checked, here it is – the Planet Rugby Readers’ Team of the Year for 2022.

A huge thank you for taking part and letting us know who you enjoyed watching over the past 12 months. It’s been a great year, with 2023 looking even better.

Planet Rugby Readers’ Team of 2022

15 Ange Capuozzo (Italy): The World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year is your full-back after he received 33% of the votes, getting in ahead of Willie le Roux (25%), Freddie Steward (21.6%) and Jordie Barrett (20.4%).

Moments of magic from the Azzurri youngster, which included setting up Italy’s key try against Wales in Cardiff, obviously caught your eye as it’s some going to be picked ahead of these three top-quality 15s. Now at Toulouse, Capuozzo has a bright future.

14 Kurt-Lee Arendse (South Africa): Damian Penaud must be wondering what more he had to do to impress you following his hugely impressive 2022, but the France wing misses out with 32% of the votes to Springboks flyer Arendse, who finished with 35.8% of our readers voting him in.

The Bulls and South Africa star has been outstanding and his form for the Boks in the latter part of the year saw him pick up tries for fun. Will Jordan and Darcy Graham were next best.

13 Lukhanyo Am (South Africa): Maybe a slight surprise seeing as he missed from September onwards due to injury, but in the months before that he shone for the Sharks and Springboks.

It was emphatic, though, in the end, as Am picked up a whopping 62.1% of the votes, with nearest challenger Rieko Ioane only on 19.9%, which surprised us somewhat. But what do we know as the classy centre – talked about as the best player in the world earlier this year – is your number 13.

12 Damian de Allende (South Africa): Joining Am in midfield is a familiar face as you voted De Allende as your inside centre as he took home 44.8% of the votes.

To see off Bundee Aki (9.8%), who had an outstanding Six Nations and July series, Grand Slam winner Jonathan Danty (17.9%) and Barrett (27.5%), who found a new home at 12 towards the end of 2022, takes some doing but it was accomplished with ease. De Allende has certainly added to his game this year.

11 Emiliano Boffelli (Argentina): The streak of Springboks in your backline ends with a Puma getting the nod at 11. We couldn’t agree more too, as the goal-kicking wing has been outstanding for his country this year, with sweet strike after sweet strike helping Argentina to wins such as the historic ones over New Zealand and England.

He gets in over Marika Koroibete (25.3%), who sparkled before injury struck, with James Lowe (21.4%) and Monty Ioane (8.2%) next best.

10 Johnny Sexton (Ireland): A comfortable win in the end for Sexton after an outstanding 12 months as he used the disappointment of missing out on 2021 British & Irish Lions selection as motivation, and it showed.

Sexton demonstrated just how imperative he is to Ireland‘s Rugby World Cup challenge in France late next year, and their supporters will hope the 37-year-old can stay fit and in this kind of form. The Leinster man had 46.1% of the votes, with Richie Mo’unga second.

9 Antoine Dupont (France): The second largest win margin in our positional polls came at scrum-half, where Dupont picked up 72.6% of the votes.

The France and Toulouse maestro had another impressive season for both club and country as, like Sexton, his importance to his country’s chances at next year’s World Cup cannot be downplayed. All Blacks scrum-half Aaron Smith (14.1%) was next best, with Ireland’s Jamison Gibson-Park and Australia’s Nic White just behind him.

8 Ardie Savea (New Zealand): Another nailed-on starter in your team was New Zealand’s Savea, who claimed 59.9% of the votes. Savea has been one of, if not the best, player in 2022, and we are still at a loss why he was not among the nominations for the World Rugby’s Player of the Year award.

France’s number eight Gregory Alldritt and Ireland’s Caelan Doris followed thereafter, while Pablo Matera came in fourth spot, with Savea a popular choice after an outstanding campaign.

7 Josh van der Flier (Ireland): Speaking of the World Rugby Player of the Year, Van der Flier was the winner of that coveted gong and unsurprisingly takes your seven jersey.

He took 54.6% of the votes, with South Africa’s Siya Kolisi next on 34.7%. The Ireland and Leinster flanker has been in incredible form.

6 Peter O’Mahony (Ireland): Joining Van der Flier on the other side of the scrum is Ireland teammate O’Mahony as he proved his worth to head coach Andy Farrell with a run of fine form on the blindside flank after Doris was moved to number eight.He will turn 34 during the early stages of next year’s Rugby World Cup but, like Sexton, O’Mahony’s experience will be key if Ireland are to finally go deep in the global tournament. A quality Test player who looked rejuvenated in 2022.

5 Tadhg Beirne (Ireland): The Irish streak continues in your pack as Beirne was an emphatic winner as he picked up close to 50% of the votes. Lood de Jager was next best but still well behind in the voting as Beirne cantered to your number five shirt after another impressive 12 months for province and country.

The all-action lock ticks every box as a rugby player and has shown yet again this year what a special talent he is. Around the field, in defence and at the breakdown, he’s superb.

4 Eben Etzebeth (South Africa): The same can be said of Etzebeth, who boasts the highest percentage for a positional vote with 82.2.

In truth, this poll was only ever going to go one way as the Springbok has been outstanding as an enforcer this year. Dominant in the air and on the ground, what a specimen he is.

3 Tadhg Furlong (Ireland): After some comfortable winners it was good to see the three shirt go down to the wire as Furlong and Frans Malherbe were neck and neck until the end. You went for the Ireland and Leinster tighthead, though as he finished with 47.4% of the votes to Malherbe’s 41.3%.

While the Springbok has been rock solid at the set-piece all year for the Boks, it seems Furlong’s more complete game and famous side-steps swung it. Both, though, are immense front-rows.

2 Malcolm Marx (South Africa): A surprise call next as we didn’t think the hooker poll would go this way, which is in no way a criticism of Marx.

Julien Marchand (France and Toulouse) and Julian Montoya (Argentina and Leicester Tigers) have been outstanding over the past 12 months, and both finished with 25% of the votes, while Samisoni Taukei’aho had 7.3%. But it was the Springbok who came out with this shirt, cruising with a 42.8% return. All four have been excellent.

1 Steven Kitshoff (South Africa): Another surprise? Maybe. France loosehead prop Cyril Baille is overlooked as yet another Springbok, Kitshoff, gets the nod with 40.5% in our final poll.

Baille ended up with 29.2%, while England prop Ellis Genge was next best on 24.4%, with Argentina’s Thomas Gallo bringing up the rear on 5.8%. In fairness, Kitshoff has been ultra-dependable for South Africa and shows, whether off the bench or starting, what a key cog he is in the Bok arsenal. — PlanetRugby



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