Rugby union world team of the decade: Who Rugby Union Weekly and BBC Sport users picked

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Rugby Union Weekly team of the decade

"At the start of my career, this was definitely top of my list."

Former New Zealand prop Owen Franks has won two World Cups this decade, but says nothing tops his selection in BBC Radio 5 Live Rugby Union Weekly's team of the decade.

Tough decisions were made as England internationals Ugo Monye and Danny Care, and BBC rugby union correspondent Chris Jones named their side. BBC Sport users have been picking theirs too and they didn't always agree with the 5 Live team.

Wales flanker Sam Warburton has not made it into the readers' team, but gets the call-up from Rugby Union Weekly, while Chris, Ugo and Danny have gone with Owen Farrell at inside centre and users prefer Ma'a Nonu.

Nine of BBC sport users' starting XV are New Zealand players, with Richie McCaw chosen in 93% of teams, Beauden Barrett 77%, Julian Savea 75% and Dan Carter 74%.

Wales have a strong showing of flour players in both sides, but no English, Irish or Scottish players make the cut for BBC Sport users.

BBC Sport users' team of the decade: Tendai Mtawarira, Dane Coles, Adam Jones, Alun Wyn Jones, Brodie Retallick, Richie McCaw, David Pocock, Kieran Read, Aaron Smith, Dan Carter, Julian Savea, Ma'a Nonu, Jonathan Davies, George North, Beauden Barrett
More than 65,000 teams were selected by BBC Sport users
A graphic showing Rugby Union Weekly's team of the decade: Tendai Mtawarira, Dane Coles, Owen Franks, Alun Wyn Jones, Eben Etzebeth, Sam Warburton, Richie McCaw, Kieran Read, Will Genia, Dan Carter, Julian Savea, Owen Farrell, Jonathan Davies, George North, Beauden Barrett
Rugby Union Weekly's team of the decade includes four Wales players

1. Loose-head prop

Rugby Union Weekly's choice: Tendai Mtawarira, South Africa

BBC Sport users' choice: Tendai Mtawarira, South Africa

Danny Care: He's one of the most dynamic, physical, aggressive props but a gentleman off the pitch. He seems to have been there for the whole decade and it's culminated in him winning the World Cup. After getting 117 South Africa caps, he's now retired from international rugby.

2. Hooker

Rugby Union Weekly's choice: Dane Coles, New Zealand

BBC Sport users' choice: Dane Coles, New Zealand

Ugo Monye: Dane Coles was almost a regeneration of what a hooker is able to do. Jamie George would be England's equivalent. He is the premier selection at hooker right now.

3. Tight-head prop

Rugby Union Weekly's choice: Owen Franks, New Zealand

BBC Sport users' choice: Adam Jones, Wales

Adam Jones may not have made it through the whole decade, retiring from international rugby in 2015, but his performances in the first half of the 2010s were enough to earn him a spot in BBC Sport users' team of the decade. Jones won three Six Nations Grand Slams, helped Wales to the 2011 World Cup semi-final and was picked for his second Lions tour in 2013, when the side won its Test series against Australia 2-1.

Chris Jones: Owen Franks' record is absurd. He has 108 caps from 2009-2019, he never lost a World Cup match and won two World Cups in 2011 and 2015.

4 and 5. Second row

Rugby Union Weekly's choice: Alun Wyn Jones, Wales and Eben Etzebeth, South Africa

BBC Sport users' choice: Alun Wyn Jones, Wales and Brodie Retallick, New Zealand

Brodie Retallick's best years of the decade were perhaps those that followed his All Blacks debut in 2012. He was named World Rugby Player of the year in 2014 before winning the World Cup in 2015.

Chris Jones: Alun Wyn Jones has got two Grand Slams, a Six Nations, he's been to three Rugby World Cups and two Lions tours, of which he's played every Test match. He is in everyone's team. He started all three Lions Tests in 2013 including captaining in the final Test. What he's achieved this decade is outrageous.

Danny Care: Eben Etzebeth is the enforcer. You need a guy that people are scared of - he's been the best in the last 10 years at doing that and he's a World Cup winner.

6 and 7. Flankers

Rugby Union Weekly's choice: Sam Warburton, Wales and Richie McCaw, New Zealand

BBC Sport users' choice: Richie McCaw, New Zealand and David Pocock, Australia

David Pocock was a firm fixture in Australia's back line throughout the decade, including in the side's World Cup final loss to New Zealand in 2015 and quarter-final defeat by England in the 2019 World Cup, after which he retired from international rugby.

Despite retiring from rugby in 2015, Richie McCaw was an overwhelming favourite for BBC Sport users - picked in 93.41% of teams. But the first five years of the decade were enough for McCaw to seal his place in history as he captained New Zealand to World Cup victory in 2011 and 2015.

Ugo Monye: In terms of impact in the last decade, Sam Warburton led the Lions to victory in 2013, backed up with a draw in 2017, and the balance of power shifted to the northern hemisphere. To be a back-to-back Lions captain and do everything he has done despite his injuries - he embodied that shift in power.

8. Number eight

Rugby Union Weekly's choice: Kieran Read, New Zealand

BBC Sport users' choice: Kieran Read, New Zealand

Ugo Monye: I doubted Kieran Read this last year. I thought he was more in the New Zealand team for his leadership skills. Then I watched that first win in the 2019 World Cup against South Africa and he was monumental. New Zealand have dominated rugby for the last 10 years. To have that staying power and to go on to captain that team, you have to have had a good 10 years.

9. Scrum-half

Rugby Union Weekly's choice: Will Genia, Australia

BBC Sport users' choice: Aaron Smith, New Zealand

Danny Care: The most talented scrum-half has to be Will Genia. Aaron Smith is without a doubt the best scrum-half at the moment. But if you put Will Genia in a New Zealand shirt, I personally think he would be as good as Aaron Smith.

Genia was one of the first scrum-halves who had everything. Aaron Smith is of a similar mould and is probably going to win a couple more World Cups.

10. Fly-half

Rugby Union Weekly's choice: Dan Carter, New Zealand

BBC Sport users' choice: Dan Carter, New Zealand

Ugo Monye: Dan Carter's better decade was probably last decade. When you go back to 2005 and people look at him in that second Test against the Lions as perhaps the greatest individual performance. But he is a 2011 World Cup winner and a 2015 prominent World Cup winner too.

11. Left wing

Rugby Union Weekly's choice: Julian Savea, New Zealand

BBC Sport users' choice: Julian Savea, New Zealand

Chris Jones: Julian Savea scored 46 tries in 54 tests from 2012 to 2017. I remember watching him in the 2015 World Cup and I've never seen anything like it. He was the best wing of the generation.

12. Inside centre

Rugby Union Weekly's choice: Owen Farrell, England

BBC Sport users' choice: Ma'a Nonu, New Zealand

Ma'a Nonu played his last Test for New Zealand in 2015 but he had already made enough of a mark on the decade to get in BBC Sport users' team, helping the All Blacks to two World Cup victories in that time.

Chris Jones: This decade Owen Farrell has won five Premiership titles and three European titles. He has scored the most points in international rugby in this decade. Look at what he's done in terms of the development of his game and the titles he's won domestically.

13. Outside centre

Rugby Union Weekly's choice: Jonathan Davies, Wales

BBC Sport users' choice: Jonathan Davies, Wales

Chris Jones: The 2011 World Cup, 2013 Lions, and he was the best player for the 2017 Lions. That should be enough for Jonathan Davies. He gets in a wide channel and gets the hand off in - his fend is superhuman. The fact there are four Welshmen in our team reflects how much of an impact Wales have had on this decade.

Jonathan Davies: You must have run out of names. I always rated Conrad Smith going up against him. He never made wrong decisions. He was some player and I always looked up to him.

14. Right wing

Rugby Union Weekly's choice: George North, Wales

BBC Sport users' choice: George North, Wales

Ugo Monye: George North's try-scoring ability over the last 10 years - he made his debut in 2010 and he's played 91 Tests for Wales - has been so consistent. He was unbelievable on the 2013 Lions tour. Everyone remembers that individual try he scored in the first Test against Australia.

15. Full-back

Rugby Union Weekly's choice: Beauden Barrett, New Zealand

BBC Sport users' choice: Beauden Barrett, New Zealand

Ugo Monye: I think Beauden Barrett has been the best 15 in the world in 2019. The experiment of putting Richie Mo'unga at fly-half and Barrett at full-back was certified when you saw the two of them do what they were doing during the World Cup.

Pick your team

You can still choose your dream 15 using the selector below but your choices will not count towards the final result.

Rugby Union Team of the Decade

Choose your team of the decade from a shortlist decided by BBC Radio 5 Live Rugby Union Weekly's Chris Jones, Ugo Monye and Danny Care.

Can't see this selector? Visit this page.

All pictures via Getty Images.

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