Pocock sole Wallaby in World Rugby's team of decade, All Blacks dominate - but shocks galore

International
by Christy Doran

Former Wallabies captain David Pocock was the sole Australian named in World Rugby's team of the decade, announced on Tuesday morning AEDT.

Openside flanker Pocock, who played 83 Tests and captained the Wallabies on 12 occasions in 2012, was controversially picked at blindside flanker ahead of double World Cup winner Jerome Kaino.

In recent years, Pocock was forced to play away from his preferred position to accommodate regular Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper in the No.7 jersey.

Pocock was one of a number of controversial selections, with Irish halfback Conor Murray picked ahead of Aaron Smith, Italy No.8 Sergio Parisse ahead of Kieran Read and George North on the right-wing.

Champion All Blacks playmaker Dan Carter was picked at fly-half.

There was no room in the side for two-time World Rugby Player of the Year Beauden Barrett, outside centre Conrad Smith, French back-rower Thierry Dusautoir or Wallabies tryscoring machine Israel Folau.

World class second-rowers Alun Wyn Jones and Victor Matfield didn't make the cut either, while Maro Itoje has been one of the best in the world since making his debut in 2016.

Seven New Zealanders made the side while there was no English or French representation in the side.

Two-time All Blacks World Cup-winning captain Richie McCaw won World Rugby player of the decade.

"It's a huge honour," All Blacks great Dan Carter said.

"There's probably a couple of No.10s that could have easily slipped in there ahead of me, so extremely grateful that I got part of team of the decade alongside some of rugby's greats so it's a huge honour.

Asked about his long-time teammate McCaw winning player of the decade, Carter said he was fortunate to play in the same side the star No.7.

"It's great. I often look back on my career, our career, and often realise how lucky I was to be playing at the same time, the same era, as Richie McCaw," Carter added.

"He was a very unique, special, once in a generation type of player so it's not strange that he won the player of the decade. Absolute champion of a man and such an amazing rugby player."

Irish No.8 Jamie Heaslip won try of the decade for Ireland's length of the field effort against Italy.

Meanwhile, former French fullback Jessy Trémoulière won women's player of the decade despite not making team of the decade.

She edged out a quality list including Sarah Hunter, Portia Woodman and Kendra Cocksedge and Emily Scarrett.

English World Rugby hall of famer Maggie Alphonsi was named at openside flanker.

In addition to the two awards she won, Black Fern Woodman was the only player to feature on both the sevens and 15s player of the decade lists.

The awards were announced in an online ceremony. The best players and the men's try of the decade were chosen from the annual winners from the years between 2010 and 2019. World Rugby said it received 394,795 votes.

Men's 15s Team of the Decade: Tendai Mtawarira (RSA), Bismarck du Plessis (RSA), Owen Franks (NZL), Brodie Retallick (NZL), Sam Whitelock (NZL), David Pocock (AUS), Richie McCaw (NZL), Sergio Parisse (ITA), Conor Murray (IRE), Dan Carter (NZL), Bryan Habana (RSA), Ma'a Nonu (NZL), Brian O'Driscoll (IRE), George North (WAL), Ben Smith (NZL)

Women's 15s Team of the Decade: Rochelle Clark (ENG), Fiao'o Faamausili (NZL), Sophie Hemming (ENG), Eloise Blackwell (NZL), Tamara Taylor (ENG), Linda Itunu (NZL), Maggie Alphonsi (ENG), Safi N'Diaye (FRA), Kendra Cocksedge (NZL), Katy Daley-Mclean (ENG), Portia Woodman (NZL), Kelly Brazier (NZL), Emily Scarratt (ENG), Lydia Thompson (ENG), Danielle Waterman (ENG)