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Team based on World Cup quarter-finals dominated by southern hemisphere players

Published 20/10/2015

Scotland lock Richie Gray in the thick of the action against World Cup quarter-final opponents Australia
Scotland lock Richie Gray in the thick of the action against World Cup quarter-final opponents Australia

Southern hemisphere domination of the 2015 Rugby World Cup was emphasised by last weekend's quarter-final results.

A clean sweep for the south over the north saw South Africa, New Zealand, Argentina and Australia all secure semi-final spots by an aggregate scoreline of 163-86 and a 19-7 try count.

It is the first time in Rugby World Cup's 28-year history that there has been no northern hemisphere semi-final representation.

A composite team from the quarter-final round also reflects overwhelming southern hemisphere dominance, with the Press Association Sport's line-up featuring just two players from the north.

RICHIE GRAY (Scotland)

The Scottish players and nation are still reeling from their controversial exit after referee Craig Joubert incorrectly awarded Australia a late penalty that fly-half Bernard Foley kicked to give the Wallabies a 35-34 victory at Twickenham, but no-one could have done more for his team's cause than Castres lock Gray. He was magnificent in the lineout and around the field in attack and defence, delivering an astonishing work-rate and showing immense leadership qualities.

SAM WARBURTON (Wales)

Wales captain Warburton was a model of consistency throughout the tournament, but against quarter-final opponents South Africa he went up another gear. A master of the breakdown and a ferocious tackler, openside flanker Warburton was at his brilliant best, going toe-to-toe with the physical Springboks forwards. Wales, though, were undone by South Africa skipper Fourie du Preez's late try, suffering a 23-19 defeat that meant they finished short of matching their semi-final achievement in New Zealand four years ago.

World Cup team of the quarter-finals: 15 - Ben Smith (New Zealand); 14 - Juan Imhoff (Argentina), 13 - Conrad Smith (New Zealand), 12 - Juan Martin Hernandez (Argentina), 11 - Julian Savea (New Zealand); 10 - Nicolas Sanchez (Argentina), 9 - Fourie du Preez (South Africa); 1 - Marcos Ayerza (Argentina), 2 - Dane Coles (New Zealand), 3 - Owen Franks (New Zealand), 4 - Richie Gray (Scotland), 5 - Brodie Retallick (New Zealand), 6 - Schalk Burger (South Africa), 7 - Sam Warburton (Wales), 8 - Duane Vermeulen (South Africa).

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