Flip van der Merwe’s Perfect XV

The former Springbok, Vodacom Bulls and Clermont lock picks a team of the best he played alongside and against.

15 Isaia Toeava

The iceman is X factor personified.

14 Joe Rokocoko

I still have nightmares of him running around me and the rest of our team at Eden Park.

13 Jonathan Davies

Such an amazing talent on defence and attack and an even better student of the game.

12 Jean de Villiers

A great leader and incredible natural talent, you knew he would always put his body on the line for his team.

11 Bryan Habana

Nothing gave me as much pleasure as seeing Bryan on his way to the tryline. Majestic, professional and great guy off the pitch.

10 Dan Carter

So much talent and composure that made any match played against him extremely difficult (and the referees loved him). A special mention to Handre Pollard too.

9 Fourie du Preez

The general. Undisputedly the best rugby brain I have ever played with.

8 Duane Vermeulen

Better to have with you in a team than to be playing against him. I also considered Juan Smith.

7 Jerome Kaino

Mister consistency. An incredible force on the field and a great guy off it.

6 Richie McCaw

As much as it hurts me to write his name down here, I must be honest in that he will arguably be the best and most successful captain to play this game.

5 Victor Matfield (c)

I owe a lot of what I have learned in rugby to this man, from the basics to competitiveness and team spirit. He always loved the team and teammates he played with and would give everything for them. Also a mention to the Crusaders and All Blacks combination of Sam Whitelock and Luke Romano.

4 Brad Thorn

A worthy opponent and respect for everything he has achieved (and still is achieving) throughout his career.

3 Owen Franks

He landed the hardest hit that I have ever felt. I also considered Dato Zirakashvili, a Georgian I played alongside at Clermont.

2 Adriaan Strauss

Toughest one to call, as there are so many greats who have played in this position. Adriaan stands out for me because of his presence, leadership, incredible work rate, and because he is a great man off the field.

1 Gurthro Steenkamp

He had such skill and athletic ability for such a big man. A true ambassador of the game of rugby. We’ve seen him transform his body more often than not to reach the team’s goals.

Photo: Gallo Images

Post by

Dylan Jack