Team of the Pool Stages: 2023 Rugby World Cup - Ruck

Team of the Pool Stages: 2023 Rugby World Cup

The pool stages of the 2023 Rugby World Cup is in the books, with the final round of action taking place last weekend. The quarter-finals have taken shape, as knock-out rugby returns for the next round of the tournament.

There have been some fantastic performances throughout the pool stages, and we’ve put together side from the top players from the past five weekends of action.

Here is RUCK’s Team of the Pool Stages, for the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

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15. Thomas Ramos (France)

14. Damien Penaud (France)

11. Matteo Carreras (Argentina)

Two of France’s flyers make it into our back three as Thomas Ramos comes in at full-back, and Damien Penaud occupies the right wing. Both players are leading the way on the points scoring front, and have been instrumental to France’s success so far in the competition. Ramos leads the way as the tournament’s top points scorer, as he’s contributed a total of 61 points for Les Bleus.

Ramos’ efforts include a try against Italy, and speaking of tries, no player can match Damien Penaud’s record at the competition. Despite only playing in three of France’s four pool stage matches, the Bordeaux-Begles man has crossed over for six tries already. This saw Penaud secure a key score against the All Blacks, record a hat-trick against Namibia and a brace against Italy.

The left wing will be occupied by Argentina’s Matteo Carreras. There were plenty of viable options for this spot, but we picked the Puma after a star-making performance against Japan. Carreras’ hat-trick against the Brave Blossoms secured Argentina progression out of Pool D, and a date against Wales in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals.


13. Waisea Nayacalevu (Fiji)

12. Bundee Aki (Ireland)

Elliot Daly of England tackles Bundee Aki of Ireland during the six Nations Championship match, between England and Ireland at Twickenham Stadium, London , UK, on the 17th March 2017. (Photo:Dean Lancaster/PPAUK)

The midfield for this dream team of the pool stages, features arguably our first man on the team sheet. Bundee Aki has been in inspired form for Ireland, with stand-out performances in every appearence he’s made so far at the tournament. Aki leads the way for successful carries at the competition with 61, and comes in at second for total clean breaks, with nine.

Only Damien Penaud (11) has made more clean breaks than the Connacht centre. Aki and his midfield partner Garry Ringrose have continued from where they left off in the 2023 Six Nations, for a formiddable partnership against their Pool B opposition. Ringrose narrowly missed out on the outside centre spot, as we hand the number 13 jersey to Fijian centre Waisea Nayacalevu.

The Toulon centre has been a pivotal part of Fiji’s Rugby World Cup progress, as the Pacific Islanders have booked their spot for a quarter-final clash against England. Simon Raiwalui’s side have been led on the pitch by Nayacalevu, who’s key contributions saw him boss the match against Australia, and score tries against Wales and Georgia. Nayacalevu has only missed 19 minutes of match action, as he left the pitch against Portugal with the job seemingly accomplished, before the late Portugese winner.