MX23RW : Monday, December 9 12:27:16| >> :600:3365882:3365882:

Rugby World Cup Team of the Tournament - George Ford, Manu Tuilagi, Maro Itoje

Rugby World Cup Team of the Tournament - Ford, Tuilagi, Itoje
© Reuters
The tournament draws to a close this weekend.

England and South Africa will meet this weekend in the Rugby World Cup final and ahead of the showpiece in Yokohama, the PA News agency takes a look at the players who have excelled in the tournament so far.

15 – Beauden Barrett (Nzl)

Beuden Barrett
Beauden Barrett starred for New Zealand (David Davies/PA)

Barrett's speedy and efficient performances saw the All Blacks ease into the semi-finals, where despite his best efforts they came up short.

14 – Kotaro Matsushima (Jpn)

Japan v Russia – Pool A – 2019 Rugby World Cup – Tokyo Stadium
Kotaro Matsushima was one of the host nation's stars (Ashley Western/PA)

Star of the Cherry Blossoms' World Cup odyssey, Matushima started with a hat-trick against Russia and continued to flower in his side's march to the last eight.

13 – Manu Tuilagi (Eng)

England Captain's Run and Press Conference – International Stadium
Manu Tuilagi stood out in a strong England team (David Davies/PA)

Tuilagi was one of England's stand-out performers throughout, never more so than when he barged over for the crucial early try in the semi-final.

12 – Damien De Allende (Rsa)

South Africa v Italy – Pool B – 2019 Rugby World Cup – Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa
Damian De Allende was a star of the Springboks' run (Adam Davy/PA)

De Allende's muscular qualities were one of the chief reasons why South Africa shrugged off their embarrassing campaign in England four years ago.

11 – Semi Radradra (Fij)

Australia v Fiji – Pool D – 2019 Rugby World Cup – Sapporo Dome
Semi Radradra was an exhilarating presence for Fiji (David Davies/PA)

Fiji's tournament might have started in low-key fashion but Radradra's lung-bursting exploits drew gasps of admiration from the Japanese fans.

10  – George Ford (Eng)

England v New Zealand – 2019 Rugby World Cup – Semi Final – International Stadium Yokohama
George Ford proved Mr Dependable for England (David Davies/PA)

Ford's role might not have been clearly defined by England coach Eddie Jones but he rose to the occasion when required to steer his team all the way to the final.

9 – Faf De Klerk (Rsa)

Japan v South Africa – 2019 Rugby World Cup – Quarter Final – Tokyo Stadium
Faf de Klerk walked tall for the Springboks (Adam Davy/PA)

He stands only five foot seven but the South African scrum-half has walked tall throughout the tournament and defied plenty of other much more weighty opponents.

1 – Keita Inagaki (Jpn)

Japan v Scotland – Pool A – 2019 Rugby World Cup – Yokohama Stadium
Keita Inagaki flowered in the Cherry Blossoms' line-up (Ashley Western/PA)

The Japanese prop lifted his side to new heights and was integral in orchestrating their route to the quarter-finals.

2 – Jamie George (Eng)

Wales v England – International Friendly – Principality Stadium
Jamie George was tough and uncompromising for England (David Davies/PA)

George grappled England through the tournament with a series of typically uncompromising performances.

3 – Kyle Sinckler (Eng)

England v Australia – 2019 Rugby World Cup – Quarter Final – Oita Stadium
Kyle Sinckler continued to emerge as a star (David Davies/PA)

Relishing his arrival on the big stage, Sinckler has continued to emerge as one of the potential stars of the future for Eddie Jones' England team.

4 – Maro Itoje (Eng)

Mauro Itoje
Mauro Itoje did more than most to ensure England's final berth (David Davies/PA)

Itoje was a cut above the rest in England's exhilarating semi-final win over the All-Blacks and is bound to be recalled as one of the players of the tournament.

5 – James Moore (Jpn)

Japan v Russia – Pool A – 2019 Rugby World Cup – Tokyo Stadium
James Moore is growing accustomed to life in Japan (Adam Davy/PA)

The Australian-born Moore was an aggressive presence in the heart of the Japanese defence, leading from the front into uncharted territory.

6  – Aaron Wainwright (Wal)

Wales v South Africa – 2019 Rugby World Cup – Semi Final – International Stadium Yokohama
Aaron Wainwright could not quite steer Wales into the World Cup final (David Davies/PA)

The Wales flanker battled throughout but could not quite help lead his nation into their first World Cup final.

7 – Tom Curry (Eng)

England v Australia – 2019 Rugby World Cup – Quarter Final – Oita Stadium
Tom Curry repeatedly rose to the occasion (David Davies/PA)

The red-hot flanker has continued to grow into his role as the tournament progresses and challenged for a series of man-of-the-match awards.

8 – Duane Vermeulen (Rsa)

Wales v South Africa – Autumn International – Principality Stadium
Duane Vermeulen was a star for South Africa (David Davies/PA)

Vermeulen allied an aggressive approach with a calming manner among his team-mates to play an integral role in the Springboks' march through the tournament.

body check tags ::
Share this article now:
Instagram - Follow Sports Mole
Saracens' Ben Spencer runs clear to score his sides first try against Wasps on April 27, 2019
Read Next:
Ben Spencer opens up on "crazy few days" after late World Cup final call-up

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!