15. Francois Steyn
Played solidly with ball in hand but we
all know why he's in this side. Could become one of the most valuable
players in world rugby if he continues to kick goals from 60m out.
14. Cory Jane
wasn't a tournament in which wingers stood out and Jane's selection
reflects a lack of competition in the speed ranks. Only played two
games against the Wallabies but they were quality performances,
particularly Saturday's effort in Wellington. Interesting to see how he
would go against the kick-happy Springboks.
13. Adam Ashley-Cooper
fullback by trade who stood in admirably for the injured Stirling
Mortlock. Was instrumental in Australia's shock win over South Africa
in Brisbane and the only player to trouble the All Blacks' defence in
12. Jean de Villiers
Was tempted to go
with Berrick Barnes but de Villiers' defence won out in the end. The
Munster-bound second five-eighths forced plenty of mistakes from
opponents with South Africa's rush defence.
11. Bryan Habana
mainly a defensive role throughout the campaign but was extremely
effective. Did manage a double against the Wallabies in Perth.
10. Dan Carter
ability to slot seamlessly back into test match rugby with little
matchplay behind sees him get the nod over the impressive Morne Steyn.
Produced some uncharacteristic mistakes against the Boks in Hamilton
but the way he controlled the game while the All Blacks were a man down
on Saturday was pure class.
9. Fourie du Preez
South African halfback confirmed his status as one of the world's best
players with a superb Tri-Nations. Seeing him team up with Carter would
be a sight to behold.
8. Pierre Spies
through reputation rather than outstanding form. His athleticism gives
him the nod ahead of Keiran Read, who looks like he's taken a firm grip
on the All Blacks No 8 jersey.
7. Richie McCaw
Had a slow start but by the end of the campaign was back to the Richie we all know and love.
6. Heinrich Brussow
made his debut in the Lions series but shot to prominence after
out-playing McCaw in the first two tests against the All Blacks in
South Africa. Different to the usual hulking South African loose
forwards, this pocket dynamo was the find of the Tri-Nations.
5. Victor Matfield
Africa's lineout king was instrumental in their charge to the title.
The quicker he retires the better for All Blacks fans.
4. Bakkies Botha
See above. Provides good intimidation factor as well.
3. John Smit
heavily criticised for his scrummaging performance in Brisbane but
stood up when it counted in Hamilton. The best captain in world rugby
at the moment, Smit makes the side more for his leadership skills than
his abilities as a prop.
2. Bismarck du Plessis
Plessis has it easy when it comes to the lineouts but besides that, the
Springbok hooker possesses a strong allround game. Continues to keep
Smit out of his favoured position which says a lot for his standing in
1. Tony Woodcock
Not a great Tri-Nations by his own lofty standards but still did enough outshine his South Africa and Australian opponents.