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Barrett gets another vote for No.1

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    04 Jan 2018     Getty Images

While debate over Beauden Barrett's choice as World Rugby's player of the year has continued, especially in the northern hemisphere, he fell into second place on Rugby World magazine's list of the top 100 players in the world behind Owen Farrell.

But Fitzgerald is of a different view and said on The Left Wing podcast on that Barrett was his choice as the best.

"Beauden Barrett is my number one because he is so fit," Fitzgerald said.

"At the end of every long passage of play that guy either gets a try, gives a pass for a try or stops a try with a try-saving tackle. He can do everything. He is special.

"He is so strong, so fit, great footwork. I think he has got it all and he's playing the hardest position. He's probably playing in the best team but he's still unbelievable for the 'Canes [Hurricanes] as well," he said.

"Farrell is a great player but he's not the best player in the world by any means," he said.

Fitzgerald's choice of No.2 was Ireland prop Tadhg Furlong.

"He [Furlong] is unbelievable. Think of other tightheads, that is what I am going to base it on.

"The two most important positions, out-half [first five-eighths] and tighthead prop.

"I think Tadhg Furlong is so far above any other tighthead. He can do it all. He is a brilliant tackler. Most tightheads are a bit of a liability around the pitch. He's not, he is an asset tackling wise. His passing, he is like back rower out there. He is superb," he said.

Rounding out Fitzgerald's best three players is another All Black, lock Brodie Retallick.

"Every single contact he reminds me of Brad Thorn. Every single ruck he hits. He just impacts the game everywhere, his handling, his carrying ability, he is so fit, he is great in the air at the lineout. I think he is unbelievable," he said.

Other panellists also took issue with the Rugby World Top 100 and said there should be more than two All Blacks in the top 10 with Aaron Smith, Rieko Ioane and Kieran all deserving of being included.