The 2010s! Three Rugby World Cups, five Grand Slam winners in the Six Nations, it's been a packed decade full of fascinating moments.
Trying to pick a team of the best players is a bit of a thankless task, given the quality on offer in each position. Some choices were easy, others required more consideration.
15 Ben Smith (Highlanders, Pau and New Zealand)
Contenders: Israel Folau, Leigh Halfpenny, Stuart Hogg
Folau became Super Rugby's record try scorer and a revolutionary attacking force playing for the Waratahs and Australia. But none of the full-back contenders can surpass Ben Smith for class.
The full-back exuded it constantly, helping to guide the Highlanders to the most unlikely of Super Rugby titles and winning the Rugby World Cup in the same year in 2015. Superb under the high ball and he glided across the field. Now deservedly earning a bumper payday in France with Pau.
14 Bryan Habana (Stormers, Toulon and South Africa)
Contenders: George North, Isa Nacewa
Tricky. North has been a constant throughout the 2010s, scoring 41 tries in 94 Tests, and at 27 still has many years ahead of him. It's hard to overstate how much of an impact Isa Nacewa made at Leinster, returning for a second spell out of retirement to win his fourth Champions Cup.
Habana could probably be named in teams of both the 2000s and 2010s. In the past decade he was an integral part of Toulon's success, winning three European Cups and a Top 14 title, and still scored 31 Test tries for South Africa before winning his last Test cap in 2016.
13 Jonathan Davies (Scarlets, Clermont and Wales, British and Irish Lions)
Contenders: Conrad Smith, Manu Tuilagi
Such a disjointed 10 years for Tuilagi since his debut before the 2011 Rugby World Cup, hit hard by injury, and yet there is no doubt that when fit, Tuilagi has been a mercurial talent that England heavily rely on. Conrad Smith's Test career crossed over both decades. Truly world-class, he bowed out as a double Rugby World Cup winner.
And then there is Davies, a superb defensive reader of the game who instantly makes Wales' more of an attacking threat too with his distribution and vision. His efforts in Wales' Rugby World Cup campaigns and for the British and Irish Lions in 2013 and 2017 were first class.
12 Owen Farrell (Saracens and England, British and Irish Lions)
Contenders: Ma'a Nonu, Sonny Bill Williams, Ryan Crotty
The Stuart Lancaster era in 2012 began with England edging a win away at Murrayfield, with one of debutants in the side that day being a 21-year-old centre in Owen Farrell. The England captain has since gone on to score over 900 points in 83 Tests.
Three All Blacks all came into consideration, with Ma'a Nonu developing his game towards the latter stages of his career away from the bash-up strategy he was so good at early on. Sonny Bill Williams' offloading prowess transformed the way teams attacked, and defended, while Ryan Crotty has always been impressive and clinched the All Blacks' unbeaten year in 2013 with his late try to sink Ireland.
11 Julian Savea (Hurricanes, Toulon and New Zealand)
Contenders: Juan Imhoff, Nemani Nadolo
No one has surpassed Savea's brief reign of perfection between 2012 and 2015, when 'The Bus' genuinely looked like the second coming of Jonah Lomu. Even when you consider that traditionally All Blacks wingers have tended to fall off a cliff in terms of their production, Savea's decline was alarming. He was last capped against the Lions in 2017, having scored 46 tries in 54 Tests.
Nemani Nadolo during his spell with the Crusaders was outrageously good, a one-man wrecking ball, while Juan Imhoff's lack of caps for Argentina is a real shame, given he has been one of the game's most prolific try scorers over the last 10 years.
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10 Johnny Sexton (Leinster, Racing 92 and Ireland)
Contenders: Dan Carter, Beauden Barrett
This might raise some eyebrows. Carter's best decade was the 2000s, not the 2010s - think back to the way he humiliated the Lions in 2005 and his run of Super Rugby titles with the Crusaders. Capping off his Test career with a World Cup win in 2015 was a fitting conclusion after injury denied him in 2011.
Barrett has been a remarkable attacking force at both full-back and fly-half, winning a World Cup and a Super Rugby title. But the best fly-half of the decade? The emergence of Richie Mo'unga, shifting Barrett back to full-back, suggests otherwise.
As for Sexton, starting with Leinster's improbable Champions Cup turnaround against Northampton in 2011, he has established himself as the best 10 in Europe, a pivotal figure for the Lions in 2013 and 2017 while also winning three European Cups, four Pro14 titles, three Six Nations crowns and a Grand Slam in 2018 (which all began with that drop goal against France in Paris), which led to his World Rugby Player of the Year award last year.
9 Aaron Smith (Highlanders and New Zealand)
Contenders: Conor Murray, Faf de Klerk, Fumiaki Tanaka, TJ Perenara
Good competition here from Conor Murray, while Faf de Klerk's career rebirth has been extraordinary under Rassie Erasmus, capped off by winning the Rugby World Cup earlier this year. Fumiaki Tanaka was a pioneer, the first Japanese-born player to play for a Super Rugby franchise, with an exceptional pass.
But the All Blacks' one-two punch of Aaron Smith and TJ Perenara has been a class above, with Smith edging out Perenara, as he has done with New Zealand forever. Now New Zealand's most-capped scrum-half.
8 Kieran Read (Crusaders and New Zealand)
Contenders: Duane Vermeulen, Billy Vunipola
Duane Vermeulen's strength always shone through in big matches, arriving on the Test scene not long after Etzebeth to add more new power to an already monstrous pack. He crushed England in their Test series in 2018. Billy Vunipola on his day can be unplayable and the best might still be to come from the No 8, given he is only 27.
But for sustained excellence it has to be Read, despite failing to captain the All Blacks to a series win over the Lions and missing out on the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Read's role in New Zealand's World Cup-winning back rows of 2011 and 2015 make him a shoe-in, signing off with 127 Test caps.
7 Richie McCaw (Crusaders and New Zealand)
Contenders: Siya Kolisi, Michael Hooper, Sam Cane
Impossible to leave out McCaw, really, after becoming the first player in history to captain a side to two Rugby World Cup titles and retiring as the most-capped player in international history.
Kolisi's work this year with South Africa of course means he is part of the conversation, despite not being on the same level as McCaw. Michael Hooper has won more caps than any other flanker over the past 10 years, and in terms of athleticism, there are few better forwards going. Sam Cane is tough as teak, and a worthy heir to McCaw in the All Blacks' back row.
6 David Pocock (Western Force, Brumbies and Australia)
Contenders: Sam Warburton, Jerome Kaino, Michael Leitch
Stacked fill of contenders. Sam Warburton's leadership for both Wales and the Lions was extraordinary and he was outstanding at the breakdown. 2015 might have signaled the end of Jerome Kaino's Test career but he has been sensational since then at Toulouse, winning the Top 14 last season. Michael Leitch's hunger and captaincy in the Japan back row turned him into a national icon.
But Pocock has been a one-off: his physicality over the ball unrivaled in the modern game. Injuries limited Pocock to winning only 83 caps for Australia but at his best he was unplayable, wrecking game plans on his own and producing turnovers at will.
5 Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys and Wales, British and Irish Lions)
Contenders: Sam Whitelock, Leone Nakarawa
Very, very tough call on Sam Whitelock, the next All Blacks captain who made his Test debut back in the summer of 2010 and has since won two World Cups and 117 caps, not to mention three Super Rugby titles with the Crusaders.
But Alun Wyn's influence on an over-achieving Welsh side over the last decade, winning two Grand Slam titles, has finally earned him the worldwide respect he deserves. Not to mention how key he was for the British and Irish Lions in both 2013 and 2017.
We should not forget about Leone Nakarawa either, perhaps the most-gifted tight-five forward of this century with his offloading ability and panache for the outrageous. Glasgow Warriors will look forward to welcoming him home with open arms next month.
4 Brodie Retallick (Chiefs and New Zealand)
Contenders: Eben Etzebeth, Maro Itoje
Tough competition from three young locks who have emerged as world-leading players over the past decade. Etzebeth and Itoje are world class, no question, but Retallick is the best lock on the planet, possessing a heady mix of physicality and skill, particularly with his passing.
Etzebeth's physicality has been there for all to see since he made his debut against England back in 2012, while Itoje is beginning to cut out the needless penalties whilst improving as a jackler and lineout operator.
3 Owen Franks (Crusaders, Northampton Saints and New Zealand)
Contenders: Tadhg Furlong
Denied a visit to a third Rugby World Cup earlier this year, as Hansen opted for more athletic front-row forwards, but it seems fair to say that Franks' experience was missed by New Zealand. A peerless operator for so long, and a double World Cup winner, New Zealand have been blessed at tighthead this century, first with Carl Hayman and then Franks.
Furlong has been extraordinary for Leinster and Ireland since making his Test debut before the 2015 Rugby World Cup, and is now comfortably the world's best tighthead.
2 Dane Coles (Hurricanes and New Zealand)
No contest. Coles' ability around the park made him incredibly valuable for Steve Hansen, and far more than just a very good operator at the set-piece. Regularly popping up on the wing to help finish attacks, Coles has recently returned after being plagued by injuries, a credit to his perseverance after missing the 2017 Lions tour.
1 Mako Vunipola (Saracens and England, British and Irish Lions)
Contenders: Tendai Mtawarira
Only one real rival in 'Beast', who capped off his Test career by delivering a scrummaging masterclass in the World Cup final.
But ever since Vunipola's debut for England back in 2012 he has developed into the world's leading loosehead not only off the back of his set-piece ability, which remains excellent, before because of his absurd work-rate around the field in defence and with his ball-carrying.