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

Lock: Martin Johnson (1993-2003, 84 caps)  

“The stats themselves – 84 caps for England across a decade, 39 of them as captain, culminating in that World Cup victory, three tours for the British and Irish Lions.”

Lock:  Maro Itoje (2016-present, 38 caps)

“The 25-year-old would have excelled no matter the time or style of game, be it tight and relentless, a bare-knuckle exchange as often used to be the case, or, as he does now, as an all-purpose player, as at ease in the open spaces as he is doing the grunt work at the coal-face.”

Blindside-flanker: Jon Hall (1984-1994, 21 caps)

“There would be no-one in Bath who would dispute Hall’s right to feature in any composite XV,”

Openside-flanker: Peter Winterbottom (1982-1993, 58 caps)

“There is no doubt that Winterbottom was cherished by colleagues for his unbreakable spirit on the field,” wrote Cleary.

Number 8: Lawrence Dallaglio (1995-2007, 85 caps)

“Dallaglio has always been a singular figure, one never daunted by any situation which is why he was such a long-standing captain with Wasps,”

DUBLIN – MARCH 30: England’s back row (l to r) Richard Hill, Neil Back and Lawrence Dallaglio celebrate after winning the Grand Slam in the RBS Rugby Union International match between Ireland and England at Lansdowne Road, Dublin, Ireland on March 30, 2003. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
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