Lock: Martin Johnson (England) – ” I think he defined an era, both for forward play and for the performances of the teams he represented.”
Lock: John Eales (Australia) – “A two-time Rugby World Cup-winner with the Wallabies in 1991 and 1999, captaining his side to victory over France in the second of those finals. A lot of the ‘number fives’ that have followed him play the way they do because of the type of game Eales set.”
Blindside-flanker: Richard Hill (England) – “One of the easier selections, if I’m honest. Hill seemed to know almost instinctively where to be and when.”
Openside-flanker: Richie McCaw (New Zealand) – Having picked Richard Hill at blindside, the thought of pairing him with Richie McCaw at openside genuinely excites me. Can you imagine those two together? The opposition would not stand a chance.
Number 8: Zinzan Brooke (New Zealand) – “One of the toughest choices of the lot. Maybe the toughest. His ability to bring others into the game, his ability to stay connected in the game himself, popping up repeatedly through different phases; all exemplary. And he dropped goals of course. A true original.”