The loose forwards are always highly contested positions with a bountiful supply of world class players packing onto the side of the scrum around the world. So who should be the Rugby Rugby No.7?
A top class No.7 flank should be able to create turnovers, have a high tackle count and be a strong ball carrier with the added ability to turn a game on it's head through his work at the breakdown.
There is also the difficulty with regard to openside and blindside flanks around the world, with South Africa picking their No.6 at openside, while the majority of the world uses No.6 for blindside. Here at Rugby Rugby we've decided that the fairest way to pick our team is to base it on the number worn on the players jersey regardless of whether they are openside or blindside - who says you can't have two opensides anyway?
We have four top contenders for the No.7 jersey based on the teams we've selected throughout 2011, so who has done enough to win your vote this year?
In Super Rugby the winner was Reds tearaway Beau Robinson, who was able to match the best in the business at the breakdown.
Robinson has been able to fight his way into the Wallaby side, but will no doubt continue to bang on the door and put pressure on Robbie Deans to pick him with his impressive play for the Queensland side.
The blond flank has all the skills to make him into a star on the international stage and would look out of place in Australian colors.
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In the Rugby Rugby Tri-Nations team it was another Australian, David Pocock, who was the star at the breakdown, beating off some tough competition.
Pocock gets better with every season and the Wallabies aren't the same standard of international opposition when he is off the park.
While not a traditional style of scavenger, Pocock has had great success at the breakdown and is a strong man with ball in hand who can be relied upon to get good go-forward from first receiver.
In the Six Nations it was Welsh starlet Sam Warburton who made an early impression in his first international tournament.
Warburton has breathed fresh life into Wales' back row, taking over the torch from veteran Martyn Williams and the well-spoken flank has quickly become the captain of his country's team.
His play in Europe and at the World cup was fantastic and Warburton is a name that will be highly spoken of in rugby circles for many years to come.
The final member of the No.7 quartet is the legend himself, Richie McCaw, who finally got his hands on the Webb Ellis Cup this year.
McCaw just edged French captain Thierry Dusautoir to make our World Cup XV thanks to his leadership and quality throughout the tournament where he became the first All Black to play 100 Test matches.
McCaw gave new meaning to the phrase: "Putting your body on the line." Battling through the pain barrier (he often could not walk the day after a match with his foot injury), he produced one of his most accomplished performances in the RWC Final - including two try-saving (which were also match-saving) tackles.
So which of these four stalwarts gets your vote as the best No.7 flank in 2011?
There is still time to cast your vote for the best:
15: Fullback - (Israel Dagg, Kurtley Beale, Andrea Masi)
14: Right wing - (James O'Connor, Chris Ashton, Rod Davies)
13: Outside centre - (Brian O'Driscoll, Jaque Fourie, Conrad Smith)
12: Inside centre - (Sonny Bill Williams, Ma'a Nonu, Jamie Roberts, Jonathan Davies)
11: Left wing - (Digby Ioane, Shane Williams)
10: Flyhalf - (Dan Carter, Quade Cooper, Rhys Priestland, Toby Flood)
9: Scrumhalf - (Will Genia, Mike Phillips, Morgan Parra)
8: Eighthman - (Kieran Read, Sergio Parisse, Imanol Harinordoquy, Radike Samo)
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