Rugby World Cup team of the tournament

Rugby World Cup team of the tournament

South Africa clinched a third World Cup triumph by beating England 32-12 in Yokohama to bring down the curtain on a memorable tournament.

The PA news agency takes a look at the players who have excelled in Japan:

Rugby World Cup team of the tournament

15 – Beauden Barrett (Nzl)

Beauden Barrett starred for New Zealand (David Davies/PA)
Beauden Barrett starred for New Zealand (David Davies/PA)

Barrett’s speedy and efficient performances saw the All Blacks ease into the semi-finals, where despite his best efforts they came up short.

14 – Kotaro Matsushima (Jpn)

Kotaro Matsushima was one of the host nation’s stars (Ashley Western/PA)
Kotaro Matsushima was one of the host nation’s stars (Ashley Western/PA)

Star of the Cherry Blossoms’ World Cup odyssey, Matsushima started with a hat-trick against Russia and continued to flower in his side’s march to the last eight.

13 – Manu Tuilagi (Eng)

Manu Tuilagi stood out in a strong England team (David Davies/PA)
Manu Tuilagi stood out in a strong England team (David Davies/PA)

Tuilagi was one of England’s standout performers throughout, never more so than when he barged over for the crucial early try in the semi-final.

12 – Damian De Allende (Rsa)

Damian De Allende was a star of the Springboks’ run (Adam Davy/PA)
Damian De Allende was a star of the Springboks’ run (Adam Davy/PA)

De Allende’s muscular qualities were one of the chief reasons why South Africa shrugged off their embarrassing campaign in England four years ago.

11 – Semi Radradra (Fij)

Semi Radradra was an exhilarating presence for Fiji (David Davies/PA)
Semi Radradra was an exhilarating presence for Fiji (David Davies/PA)

Fiji’s tournament might have started in low-key fashion but Radradra’s lung-bursting exploits drew gasps of admiration from the Japanese fans.

10  – George Ford (Eng)

George Ford proved Mr Dependable for England (David Davies/PA)
George Ford proved Mr Dependable for England (David Davies/PA)

Ford’s role might not have been clearly defined by England coach Eddie Jones but he rose to the occasion when required to steer his team all the way to the final.

9 – Faf De Klerk (Rsa)

Faf De Klerk walked tall for the Springboks (Adam Davy/PA)
Faf De Klerk walked tall for the Springboks (Adam Davy/PA)

He stands only five foot seven but the South African scrum-half has walked tall throughout the tournament and defied plenty of other much more weighty opponents.

1 – Keita Inagaki (Jpn)

Keita Inagaki flowered in the Cherry Blossoms’ line-up (Ashley Western/PA)
Keita Inagaki flowered in the Cherry Blossoms’ line-up (Ashley Western/PA)

The Japanese prop lifted his side to new heights and was integral in orchestrating their route to the quarter-finals.

2 – Jamie George (Eng)

Jamie George was tough and uncompromising for England (David Davies/PA)
Jamie George was tough and uncompromising for England (David Davies/PA)

George grappled England through the tournament with a series of typically uncompromising performances.

3 – Kyle Sinckler (Eng)

Kyle Sinckler continued to emerge as a star (David Davies/PA)
Kyle Sinckler continued to emerge as a star (David Davies/PA)

Relishing his arrival on the big stage, Sinckler has continued to emerge as one of the potential stars of the future for Eddie Jones’ England team, despite leaving the field early in the final due to concussion.

4 – Maro Itoje (Eng)

Mauro Itoje did more than most to ensure England’s final berth (David Davies/PA)
Mauro Itoje did more than most to ensure England’s final berth (David Davies/PA)

Itoje was a cut above the rest in England’s exhilarating semi-final win over the All-Blacks and is bound to be recalled as one of the players of the tournament.

5 – James Moore (Jpn)

James Moore is growing accustomed to life in Japan (Adam Davy/PA)
James Moore is growing accustomed to life in Japan (Adam Davy/PA)

The Australian-born Moore was an aggressive presence in the heart of the Japanese defence, leading from the front into uncharted territory.

6  – Aaron Wainwright (Wal)

Aaron Wainwright could not quite steer Wales into the World Cup final (David Davies/PA)
Aaron Wainwright could not quite steer Wales into the World Cup final (David Davies/PA)

The Wales flanker battled throughout but could not quite help lead his nation into their first World Cup final.

7 – Tom Curry (Eng)

Tom Curry repeatedly rose to the occasion (David Davies/PA)
Tom Curry repeatedly rose to the occasion (David Davies/PA)

The red-hot flanker has continued to grow into his role as the tournament progresses and challenged for a series of man-of-the-match awards.

8 – Duane Vermeulen (Rsa)

Duane Vermeulen was a star for South Africa (David Davies/PA)
Duane Vermeulen was a star for South Africa (David Davies/PA)

Vermeulen allied an aggressive approach with a calming manner among his team-mates to play an integral role in the Springboks’ march through the tournament.

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