Fans' World XV of the Decade: Who was the best blindside flanker of the 2010s?

International
by RUGBY.com.au staff

The first of the back row spots have to be decided now in the RUGBY.com.au World XV of the Decade.

And, as usual, we need you the fans to make the call.

Blindsides are often tackling machines, needing strength, skill and plenty of athleticism for lineout work, and to carry and attack as well. All the nominees below have those qualities.

Who is your pick? Vote now.

Jerome Kaino (New Zealand)

Almost created by a machine set to build a perfect six. Kaino won two World Cups for the Kiwis, armed with a powerful defensive game, superb skills and under-rated smarts.

Thierry Dusautoir (France)

Thierry Dusautoir has retired from rugby. Photo: Getty ImagesWon the title of World’s Best Player in 2011 after leading France to the World Cup final, which is remarkable given who he beat: namely Richie McCaw skippering an All Black side to a drought-breaking title, with one broken foot. That’s good Dusatoir was that year, and throughout an 80-Test career. Globally respected.

Scott Fardy (Australia)

Late bloomer who only debuted in Super Rugby at the age of 27, in 2012. A year later he was a Wallaby and in 2015, Fardy was the third star in a stellar back row trio also containing David Pocock and Michael Hooper. Awarded European Player of the Year in 2018 for his feats with Leinster.

Justin Tipuric (Wales)

Justin Tipuric is keen to face David Pocock and Michael Hooper. Photo: Getty ImagesMore a seven than a six but with Sam Warburton on the scene too, Tipuric’s immense talent was often deployed to blindside for Wales. Huge engine.

Peter O'Mahony (Ireland)

Rugged Irish backrower who led the team on their climb to the world no.1 spot (albeit briefly) in 2019, via memorable wins over the All Blacks, Australia and several Six Nations titles. Fiercely determined flanker.

Pieter Steph du Toit (South Africa)

The giant South African began his Test career at lock but grew into one of the world’s best players with a shift to flanker. Immense during the Boks’ 2019 World Cup campaign and was duly awarded the World Player of the Year.

Schalk Burger (South Africa)

Emerged as a global star in the noughties but Schalk Burger remained a force in this decade, and his courageous comeback from a near-fatal illness in 2013 to play Test rugby again in 2014 and 2015 is testament to his character and ability.