Fans' World XV of the Decade: Who will be the no. 7?

International
by RUGBY.com.au staff

There will be tough choices to make in the Fans' World XV of the Decade but none will be tougher than picking an open side flanker.

There has been a glut of high-class no.7s doing their work in Test rugby between 2010 and 2019, and the selection below is just the men on the very top tier.

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David Pocock (Australia)

With exceptional strength and timing at the breakdown, Pocock is regarded as the best on-ball 'poacher' in the modern game. His influence for the Wallabies at the 2011 and 2015 World Cups was immense.

Richie McCaw (New Zealand)

The most capped Test rugby player (148) of all time, McCaw led New Zealand through their most successful era, winning back-to-back World Cups. Always a menace to rival teams at the breakdown. Lost just 15 games in his 16-season Test career.

Sam Warburton (Wales)

The inspirational Welshman not only lifted his nation to great heights, but Warburton led the British and Irish Lions to series success in 2013 and 2017. Consistently excellent. 

Michael Hooper (Australia)

Not a traditional fetcher-type no.7, but Hooper's workrate and determination  made him a world-class flanker from a young age. Leads Australia from the front and never quits.

Sean O'Brien (Ireland)

A powerhouse of an open side, using strength and mongrel to dominate contact and influence every game he plays in. A key man for Ireland and the Lions across the decade.

Pablo Matera (Argentina)

Pablo Matera.Photo: Getty ImagesEmerged in the last few years as a dominant figure for the Pumas. One of those players who plays well above his weight, on both sides of the ball. 

Ardie Savea (New Zealand)

Arrived on the scene as Julian's little brother, bu Ardie is now a world-renowned All Black star in his own right. Immensely powerful and athletic, Ardie Savea is the type of flanker rivals only try to minimise, because stopping his impact is impossible.