Fans' World XV of the Decade: Vote for your no. 8

by RUGBY.com.au staff

The Fans' World XV of the Decade has almost settled on a forward pack but now you have to choose the eighth man, as South Africans call them.

The no.8 has a crucial role in linking the forward pack and the backline and these are the men who have been at the top for the last decade.

Who is your pick? Vote now.

Kieran Read

Followed on from Richie McCaw as All Blacks skipper and filled his boots as a consistently dominant backrower for the Kiwis, too. Two-time World Cup winner and 127-Test veteran.

Kieran Read will captain the All Blacks. Photo: Getty ImagesDuane Vermuelen

Came off the line at the Springbok Factory for Fearsome Backrowers in 2012 and has been a dominant figure around world rugby since. Vermuelen's power and raw aggression helps the Boks own the gainline more often than not. World Cup winner in 2019.

Billy Vunipoloa

England are twice as good a team with Billy V in the side, and they’re a pretty decent team to start with. Vunipola's powerful ball carrying and sting in defence has been a feature of the second-half of the decade.

Taulupe Faletau

On top of many dominant Six Nations campaigns, Faletau showed his world-class status when he started at no.8 in all three of the Lions’ Tests in New Zealand in 2017, which ended in a drawn series. Sadly injuries have restricted him to just two Tests in the last two years.

Sergio Parisse

Arguably the greatest “imagine if he played for New Zealand/England/Ireland/etc” star of the decade. Parisse debuted for Italy as an teenager a staggering 18 years ago, and has led Italy with skill, athleticism and, above all, passion for the last 12 years. Sits third on the all-time list with 142 Test caps.

Mamuka Gorgodze

The most feared Georgian in rugby, and that’s saying something. Gorgodze has been an immense figure for Los Lelos in four World Cup campaigns, and such are his world-class talents, he won man-of-the-match honours when Georgia played England in 2011 and New Zealand in 2015. Has plied his trade at star-studded Toulon for much of the decade.

Michael Leitch 

The inspirational Japanese skipper who is so loved in Japan, they bellow “Leeitch” every time he gets the ball. Major figure in lifting the Brave Blossoms from world also-rans to top ten team and making the World Cup finals for the first time in 2019.

Imanol Harinordoquy

The French no.8 who consistently gets rated as one of the world’s toughest backowers by fellow players. Harinordoquy only played three seasons in the decade but was pipped by McCaw for World Player of the Year in 2010 and was a key figure in the France backrow that almost upset the Kiwis in the 2011 World Cup final in 2011.