Read, Giteau, Armitage… and Tuilagi! Sale Sharks and England winger Marland Yarde picked his dream teams of the best he’s played with and against in 2017 for The Rugby Paper.
1. Clarke Dermody – I remember how big he was when I was coming through the London Irish academy. A former All Black who was a key figure in our front-row.
2. Dave Ward – For a man who’s not the biggest he’s one of the best. Great over the ball and like another openside on the pitch. Working hard on his set piece, too.
3. Kyle Sinckler – By far one of the most powerful men I’ve ever met. Surprisingly quick, too. I made a break against London Welsh last season only to find Kyle on my shoulder on the 22.
4. Bob Casey – Not the most dynamic player but one of the best in the business when it came to the set-piece. His ability to call the lineout and add his weight in the scrum was great.
5. Courtney Lawes – Different to Bob because of his dynamism. Devastating in defence despite his strange technique. He hit me a couple of times and I didn’t enjoy it that much.