'I won a Rugby World Cup with Dan Carter - this is why Wilkinson is the GOAT' - Ruck

‘I won a Rugby World Cup with Dan Carter – this is why Wilkinson is the GOAT’

In a surprising turn of events, rugby icon Sonny Bill Williams has raised eyebrows with his selection of the greatest rugby players he’s ever played alongside or against.

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The New Zealand legend, approached by Australian sports outlet Sporting News, unveiled his dream team, notably excluding former teammates Dan Carter and Richie McCaw, who boast a collective 260 test matches for the All Blacks.

When naming the best players he played with during his career, Sonny Bill omitted Carter in favour of England legend Jonny Wilkinson, who he played alongside at Toulon.

Williams said: “I’m lucky enough to say I’ve played with Jonny Wilkinson and have seen the commitment that he had.

“When I played with him, he was pretty much at the height of his powers, but the way he dedicated himself to his craft was unbelievable and I learnt a lot from him.”

Jonny Wilkinson of Toulon looks on – Photo mandatory by-line: Dan Mullan/Pinnacle – Tel: +44(0)1363 881025 – Mobile:0797 1270 681 – VAT Reg No: 768 6958 48 – 07/12/2013 – SPORT – RUGBY – Heineken Cup, Pool 2 – Exeter Chiefs v Toulon, Sandy Park, Exeter, Devon.

Wilkinson, meanwhile, paid tribute to Sonny Bill when the pair were playing together. he said: “I think he will go brilliantly.

“His strength is his strength – his ability to keep the ball alive, his physicality, his ball movement and game awareness in space and people around him. I’ve not seen the likes of him before. He gets hurt, but never seems to go backwards.”

Another player who made Williams list was legendary France flanker Thierry Dusautoir, who captained Les Bleus against the All Blacks in the 2011 Rugby World Cup final.

Williams added: “From my time in France I’d have to say, Thierry Dusautoir.

“He wasn’t just an amazing player, but you can see the way he rallies his troops and how he performed in those big games. He’s someone I really admire.”

The current 36-man British & Irish Lions squad for 2025, according to the bookies

We found it intriguing to project a smaller squad based on the favored contenders according to bookmakers’ odds as of April19, 2024.

The Lions will play a New Zealand and Australia invitational XV as part of their nine-match tour down under in 2025. 

The historic fixture in Adelaide will precede Test matches with the Wallabies in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. 

A sell-out at the 100,000-capacity Melbourne Cricket Ground would smash records for a Lions Test match. 

The series finale will be played in front of more than 80,000 fans in Sydney’s Olympic Park.

The 2025 Lions tour fixtures in full

  • Saturday 28 June: v Western Force, Optus Stadium, Perth
  • Wednesday 2 July: v Queensland Reds, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
  • Saturday 5 July: v New South Wales Waratahs, Allianz Stadium, Sydney
  • Wednesday 9 July: v ACT Brumbies, GIO Stadium, Canberra
  • Saturday 12 July: v Invitational Australia & NZ XV, Adelaide Oval
  • Saturday 19 July: First Test, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
  • Tuesday 22 July: v Melbourne Rebels, Marvel Stadium, Melbourne
  • Saturday 26 July: Second Test, Melbourne Cricket Ground
  • Saturday 2 August: Third Test, Accor Stadium, Sydney

The bolded players in our proposed Lions squad represent the starting XV, according to current odds.



  • Duhan van der Merwe (Scotland) – 1/16
  • James Lowe (Ireland) – 1/8
  • Hugo Keenan (Ireland) – 1/5
  • Tommy Freeman (England) – 4/9
  • Immanuel Feyi-Waboso (England) – 8/11
  • Mack Hansen (Ireland) – 2/1


  • Bundee Aki (Ireland) – 1/5
  • Ollie Lawrence (England) – 1/4
  • Sione Tuipulotu (Scotland) – 2/7
  • Robbie Henshaw (Ireland) – 8/11


  • George Ford (England) – 1/10
  • Marcus Smith (England) – 8/15
  • Finn Russell (Scotland) – 8/11