World Cup Heroes: Players of the Tournament

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After an unforgettable six weeks in New Zealand, we’ve picked out PUMA’s most outstanding performers at this year’s World Cup to give you the lowdown on the players who really lit up the competition with their contributions...

Manu Tuilagi (England)
Manu was heavily touted as a potential star performer at this year’s World Cup after dominant displays in his first Tests during England’s warm-up games back in August. In an abject display throughout the tournament from the usually consistent English team, Manu Tuilagi was the shining light starting at centre in every one of their five matches. He was threatening with ball in hand breaking the gainline consistently with his power, offloading cleverly and defending resolutely. Manu’s 190kg bench press claim clearly pays off on the pitch!!

Shane Williams (Wales)
Wales’ leading try scorer continued to do what he does best at this year’s tournament running in three scores in five games. Shane was desperate to take his team to the World Cup Final in what will probably be his last appearance on the global stage, but despite Wales falling slightly short of the final, Shane still managed to show the electric pace, dazzling side step and strength in attack that make a mockery of his 5ft 7inch frame. Scaring the life out of the Australian’s defence in the final moments of the third place play-off, Shane was later hailed as “the most exciting player of his generation” by his team-mates and we wouldn’t argue with that.

James O’Connor (Australia)
James O’Connor ended his World Cup having amassed the second highest points tally of anyone at the competition with 52 points and 1 try in six matches. Metronomic from the kicking tee, James helped the Wallabies to a place in the semi-finals with some cool-headed penalty kicks in their 11-9 victory over the former world champions, South Africa. O’Connor impressed on the wing with some great runs utilising his trademark footwork to evade opposing defenders. We have no doubt he’ll be back to go one better than the semis in England in 2015.

Tommy Bowe (Ireland)
Tommy Bowe pounced on the opportunities presented to him by a fantastic pack performance in New Zealand scoring two brilliantly taken tries at the tournament. Tommy made good yards going forward and made some breathtaking solo runs that were a competition highlight.

Danie Rossouw (South Africa)
Danie Rossouw was inspired throughout the competition at lock carrying strongly, aggressive in attack and scoring two tries in the process.

Francois Trinh-Duc (France)
The debate over who should start at ten for France in the World Cup was a constant talking point amongst press and pundits. Many felt Trinh-Duc (the more natural fly-half) should be favoured, but usually came on as a replacement when called upon throughout the tournament. Off the bench, Trinh-Duc scored 18 points in total - two tries, two drop-goals and one conversion. He kicked intelligently, added invention in attack and outshone most in France’s narrow defeat to the All Blacks in the final.

Who was your player of the tournament?

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