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Who’s the best fullback?

  • 06 Jan 2014
Israel Dagg and Leigh Halfpenny Israel Dagg and Leigh Halfpenny

Two of our team members pick their No 15 for the Fans' World XV.

Jon Cardinelli

Universally celebrated for his attacking genius, and widely respected by team-mates and opponents for his world-class tactical kicking game, Dagg is the most influential fullback in world rugby.

Dagg took some time to hit his stride in the 2013 season, but found form when it mattered most at the business end of the Rugby Championship. Whether it's on the bone-hard track at Ellis Park or on the soft field of Twickenham, Dagg has proved that he has the all-round skills to excel in all conditions. The All Blacks No 15 followed up a fantastic performance in the Rugby Championship with a more tactical display on the tour to Europe.

The All Blacks have dominated world rugby for the past four seasons, and while the likes of Dan Carter so often receive the credit, New Zealand certainly wouldn't have been as effective without Dagg's superior vision and execution.

Is it worth considering any other contenders? I don't think so. Dagg is in a class of his own.

Simon Borchardt

Halfpenny was the Player of the Tournament in the 2013 Six Nations, which Wales won, and the Man of the Series as the Lions beat the Wallabies. There is no better fullback in world rugby than him.

The Welshman is the best goal-kicker in the game. In 2013, he was successful with 62 out of 74 shots at goal (84%), with Morné Steyn (82%) next on the list. Halfpenny has benefited from having former Wales flyhalf Neil Jenkins as his kicking coach, but it's the 24-year-old's hard work that has brought him so much success.

Halfpenny is more than a goal-kicker, though. His positional play is outstanding, he's reliable under the high ball and a threat with ball in hand, especially when he gets possession in space. And while he may be relatively small in stature (1.78m and 85kg) his defence is solid.

What more could you want from a No 15?

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Fans' World XV page

International Rugby Players' Association's 2013 World XV

International Rugby Players' Association's 2013 Fans' World XV

Photos: BackpagePix

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