The ultimate all-time world XV: Picked by 20 legends of the game


LOCK: Martin Johnson (England)

Sir Ian McGeechan: “I think he defined an era, both for forward play and for the performances of the teams he represented.”

Neil Back: “Leader. Warrior. Engine. Furrowed brow. Ferengi. Winner. Friend. Would obviously be the captain of my team.”

David Campese: “Few players demanded respect on the field like him. A great leader and my team’s captain.”

Martin Bayfield: “You do not need to say much about Johnno, he was that influential for England. Boring as hell with his American football, but intelligent.”

Will Carling: “Inspirational leader, formidable player, competitive in every situation. The example he set in every tight situation in every game led the way.

Phil Vickery: “A big hulk of a man, fearless and passionate and one of the best captains I ever played for – he just had the right brain for it. The way he put his body on the line was immense.”

LOCK: John Eales (Australia)

Lawrence Dallaglio: “He could dominate the lineout, make plenty of tackles, maintain an unbelievable workrate, kick goals and remain the calmest person on the pitch. Great forward and great leader.”

Martin Bayfield: “We made our debuts two days apart, but, boy, was there a gulf between us. He made me look at how I played my game.”

Jeremy Guscott: “No-one thought that such a lanky string-bean of a bloke could become one of the world’s best, and he was famously called “the arty farty student” by Wade Dooley. What he lacked in weight, he made up for by being a great athlete with a huge appetite for hard work – and, if that wasn’t enough, he also took over the goal kicking.”


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