Lock: Bakkie Botha – South Africa
“Someone incredibly fierce but very very down to earth” and “at times he’s exactly what a team needs,” according to Wilkinson.
Lock: John Eales – Australia
Eales was described by Wilkinson as “intelligent, another massive leader, gets himself around the park and brings another angle of goal kicking”.
Flanker: Francois Pienaar – South Africa
“Approaching a World Cup in our own country I think people can understand the pressure on the home team and to think about the pressure on the home captain – think about what this guy must have been going through in South Africa at that time. To see how he dealt with it I think is a lesson to all of us”
Flanker: Richie McCaw – New Zealand
“A guy that stood the test of time and has remained at the best, the highest level of the game for that time”
Number 8: Pat Lam – Samoa
“Pat Lam was one of the most creative, instinctive players as well as bringing his own brand of leadership and the way he saw the game.”