"St David's Day Special" - Ultimate XV: Wales Legends - Page 3 of 3 - Ruck

“St David’s Day Special” – Ultimate XV: Wales Legends


4. Alun Wyn Jones (Captain) (158 caps, 2006-2023)

5. Bob Nortster (34 caps, 1982-89)

None other than Alun Wyn Jones comes in at lock, and we have also awarded the all-time most capped international rugby player, the captaincy for this Wales dream team. Alun Wyn ended his illustrious career with Wales ahead of the 2023 Rugby World Cup, having racked up an unprecedented 158 caps for his country. Couple this with the additional 12 test appearances he accrued over four Lions tours, and you have one of the all time great locks in your number four jersey. We could wax lyrical about Jones’ accomplishments for the next 10 pages, so we best summarise his career in a few short accolades; five Six Nations titles (three Grand Slams), 2019 Six Nations Player of the Tournament, and three domestic league titles with the Ospreys.

Binding up with Alun Wyn in the second row is Bob Norster, who was a true technician of the aerial set-piece. The master of the line-out dictated Wales’ pack throughout the 1980s, as Norster combined this astute knowledge with a towering 6ft 5″ frame. There were few that could pick the ball out of the lock’s grasps, and even fewer who could bring him to the deck once he’d built up a full head of steam. Norster was a school teacher by profession, and transferred these skills to be Wales’ Team Manager following his on-field retirement.


6. Dan Lydiate (72+ caps, 2009-)

7. Sam Warburton (74 caps, 2009-14)

8. Talupe Faletau (104+ caps, 2011-)

Dan Lydiate begins our back-row, as the legend comes towards the end of his time in the Wales squad. The hard-hitting workhorse had been a staple of the Welsh back-line, since his emergence onto the scene in 2009. Alongside the likes of Liam Williams and George North, Lydiate represented the last of an old guard, who went to last year’s Rugby World Cup. Currently residing with the Dragons, Lydiate has been also previously enjoyed alternating stints with Racing 92 and the Ospreys. A warrior of the red jersey, Lydiate’s legacy looks set to continue in the likes of Tommy Reffell, having passed the torch in Wales’ new era, yet a return can not be written out.

Alongside the likes of Richie McCaw, Lewis Moody and Michael Hooper, former Wales back-row Sam Warburton undoubtedly goes down as one of the top flankers of the professional era. His fearlessness in defence made even the most powerful ball carrier take a backwards step, and he always got the best out of his teammates, through his impassioned pre-match speeches. A true leader of men, Warburton captained his country from 2011, with his maiden run in the armband being at just 22-years-old. Wales’ third youngest captain, Warburton’s knowledge of the game and Welsh pride is now shown through his work as a television pundit.

Rounding off our starting XV of all-time Welsh greats, we have selected Talupe Faletau to take the number eight jersey. With an honourable mention in place for the brilliant Mervyn Davies, Faletau gets out pick for his longevity at the back of the Welsh pack. Known as ‘Toby’ to his teammates, the Tongan-born back-row is the son of Pacific Island legend Kuli Faletau, and Talupe has been residing in Wales since he was six years old. Faletau proudly belts out “Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau” (The Old Land of My Fathers) every time he lines up for Wales, before battering his way through many a broken defender. Faletau has not hung up the test match boots just yet, but with the new era in full swing he could well soon pass on the torch to Aaron Wainwright for the foreseeable future.


16. Ken Owens

17. Graham Price

18. Tomas Francis

19. Ryan Jones

20. Justin Tipuric

21. Rob Howley

22. Dan Biggar

23. Leigh Halfpenny

Honourable Mentions:

Jonathan Davies (Centre/Wing)

Phil Bennett (Fly Half)

Jamie Roberts (Centre)

Delme Thomas (Lock)

Mervyn Davies (Number Eight)