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Team of the year: Kiwi kings

There was little to no doubt that New Zealand players were going to dominate our selections. They have retained the World Cup and a New Zealand franchise, the Highlanders, claimed the Super Rugby title.

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It was always going to be a tough task to review and remember all the action that took place this year and after much thought, deliberation and the odd semi-heated exchange, we have selected our best players of the year.

Here is our 2015 Team of the Year:

15 Ben Smith (New Zealand)

A landslide selection for Mr Consistent, who stood head and shoulders above his peers and outshone a ninja.

Bubbling under: Ayuma Goromaru (Japan)

14 Nehe Milner-Skudder (New Zealand)

There was just something about watching his quick feet and ruthless sidesteps in all competitions that captured the imagination.

Bubbling under: Santiago Cordero (Argentina)

13 Tevita Kuridrani (Australia)

Great combination of powerful running, hard tackles and an eye for scoring tries. In 2015, there was no equal.

Bubbling under: Conrad Smith (New Zealand)

12 Ma'a Nonu (New Zealand)

He stepped away from the international arena when he was arguably the best in his position and capped it all off with a scintillating try in the World Cup final.

Bubbling under: Damian de Allende (South Africa)

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11 Julian Savea (New Zealand)

The man they call the Bus was at his best during the Super Rugby season and carried that form into the All Blacks' successful World Cup campaign.

Bubbling under: DTH van der Merwe

10 Dan Carter (New Zealand)

Just mention his name to any rugby lover and you will know why he has our vote.

Bubbling under: Nicolas Sanchez (Argentina)

9 Aaron Smith (New Zealand)

Despite having a mediocre World Cup campaign, his Super Rugby exploits was something to behold and gained him the edge in all our selectors' books.

Bubbling under: Greig Laidlaw (Scotland)

8 David Pocock (Australia)

Whatever he touched, turned to gold and showed what can be achieved when brain power and muscle power combine.

Bubbling under: Duane Vermeulen (South Africa)

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7 Richie McCaw (New Zealand)

A slug-fest for the coveted No.7 jersey but we gave it to the legend of All Black rugby.

Bubbling under: Michael Hooper (Australia)

6 Michael Leitch (Japan)

There was no outright winner here but the Japan captain lead with courage and showed what can be achieved when you wear your heart on your sleeve

Bubbling under: Francois Louw (South Africa)

5 Lodewyk de Jager (South Africa)

Had big shoes to fill and not only did he do that, he stretched them as well.

Bubbling under: Samuel Whitelock (New Zealand)

4 Alun-Wyn Jones (Wales)

One of the stand-out players in a injury-ravaged Welsh side, he certainly stepped up to the plate throughout the year.

Bubbling under: Brodie Retallick (New Zealand)

3 Frans Malherbe (South Africa)

The Cape faithful knew what he was capable of and, after a successful World Cup, the rest of the world does too.

Bubbling under: Ramiro Herrera (Argentina)

2 Agustin Creevy (Australia)

Argentina looks a different side without him on the park and he once again proved his worth.

Bubbling under: Stephen Moore (Australia)

1 Scott Sio (Australia)

It will be interesting to see if he continue his good form into the new year and see just how much better he can get. He certainly has age on his side.

Bubbling under: Marcos Ayerza (Argentina)

Our individual selections!

Warren Fortune XV: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 David Pocock, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Iain Henderson, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Marcos Ayerza.

Jan de Koning XV: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 David Pocock, 7 Richie McCaw, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Alun Wyn Jones, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Augustin Creevy, 1 Scott Sio.

Michael de Vries XV: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 David Pocock, 7 Richie McCaw, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Alun-Wyn Jones, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Cian Healy.

Tauriq Ebrahim XV: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 David Pocock, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Michael Leitch, 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Alun Wyn Jones, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Scott Sio.

Paul Dobson XV: 15 Scott Spedding, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Mamuka Gorgodze, 7 David Pocock, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Marcos Ayerza.

Do you agree with our Team of the Year? Who would you have picked? Leave a comment below.

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