Who’s the best fullback?
- 06 Jan 2014
Two of our team members pick their No 15 for the SARugbymag.co.za Fans' World XV.
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.
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?
Stand the chance to win R10,000 worth of prizes sponsored by DUEL Shave Division by picking your own World XV from the new SA Rugby mag fans’ app.
Tour Tales – Padova
JON CARDINELLI on a prop’s conditioner woes, Italy’s rugby heartland, and a proposal on a Venetian gondola.
Carr showed class in Bok cameo
Heyneke Meyer told the fringe Springboks to stand tall against Italy. Nizaam Carr, however, stood the tallest, writes MARK KEOHANE.
Bakkies goes out with a bang
Bakkies Botha has retired with his legacy intact and with the Springboks well covered in the enforcer position, writes JON CARDINELLI.