THE BEST England XV of the last 50 years has been selected

Fly-half: Jonny Wilkinson (1998-2011, 91 caps)

Who else could it have been? 

Scrum-half: Steve Smith (1973-83, 28 caps)

“Smith was a ninth forward, a hard-nosed, gritty, grafting operator but one who played a full and fruitful part in launching a talented England back line that included Clive Woodward.”

Loosehead-pop:  Jason Leonard (1990-2004, 114 caps)    

“The most enduring, the most accomplished and, as his ‘Fun Bus’ nickname would suggest, one of the most faithful and inspirational team-mates to have alongside you,” wrote Cleary.

Hooker: Peter Wheeler (1975-1984, 41 caps)

“Wheeler was a prototype for the modern hooker, tough as well as proficient in the set-piece, accurate and accomplished in the art of throwing at the lineout and a relentless operator around the field,”

Tighthead-prop: Fran Cotton (1971-1981, 31 caps)

“He was a giant of a man, unusually so for a prop forward, but Cotton always put that height and stature to effective use and was never bested at the scrum,”


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