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Why we made our best turnovers countdown

On most highlight reels, you’re going to see tries, tries and more tries. But as flankers, we like the nitty gritty of the game or rugby. That’s why today we bring you the best turnovers of the 2015 rugby world cup. The best steals, the best pilfers, the best jackals and more. We tried not to distinguish between a straight steal and winning a penalty, but it was harder than we’d expected.

For the most part, when the attacker has done the wrong thing, we didn’t include it in this list because that’s also the attacker’s fault, not just the defender’s good work. So without further ado watch Scott Fardy, David Pocock and Francois Louw do their thing in the Ruck Science countdown of the best turnovers of the world cup.

#1 Who is the defender?

By definition, turnovers are always won by the defense. So the best defenders are often the ones who are going to win the most & the best turnovers. The turnover merchants coming into this year’s world cup were pretty obvious to most of us who follow enough rugby; Francois Louw, Richie McCaw and Michael Hooper were at the top of most lists. But the final rankings for best turnover of the rugby world cup featured a stack of seemingly unknown players. For them? Extra credit! We love it when players like Davit Kacharava #4 step up and make a huge play.

#2 Who much help did they get?

Most of the time, a turnover is a joint effort. One rugby player has made the tackle, another has jumped on the ball. It’s all a part of the modern rugby defensive line. So we give extra credit in our rankings of the best turnovers to players who have done it all. Made the tackle, gotten to their feet and then attacked the ball. Agustín Creevy #24 is a great example. So if a player made a great steal, but they got help with the clean-out and they weren’t wholly responsible, then you’ll find them lower on the list than you might have thought.

#3 Who else could have done that?

Some of these steals are replicable. That is, they happened over and over again throughout the 2015 world cup. But every now and then, you see a steal you just have to marvel at. Scott Fardy #16 comes to mind as does Kane Thompson #19. But the kicker is the #1 (we won’t spoil the award) who somehow made it straight through an entire pack of forwards solo and wrestled the ball away from 3 attackers in a row. Unbelievable and worthy of our #1 spot.

#4 Would you use it to coach with?

This is a slightly different criterion than you might be used to from us. Some of these turnovers are absolutely text-book. Poor Justin Tipuric #72 would qualify in that category, as would David Pocock #17 or Francois Louw #15. These are all excellent examples of players doing it by the book and being rewarded with the turnover. Generally we tried to rank these efforts higher as they’re better coaching points than the majority of the best turnovers.

What’s next after the best turnovers?

Right now, we’re putting the finishing touches to the best high-ball take and the best scrums which should be landing with you shortly! In the meantime, you can checkout the best highlights from the 2015 Rugby World Cup over on the Ruck Science YouTube Channel which has a whole stack of full HD rugby games as well.

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