Sir Ian McGeechan has snubbed South Africans when compiling his world rugby all-time Dream Team dominated by All Blacks with a sprinkling of Northern Hemisphere stars.
The likes of Fourie Du Preez, Bryan Habana, Victor Matfield were all overlooked as McGeechan named his side for The Daily Telegraph.
Earning the most praise was Richie McCaw … the former British and Irish Lions coach labelled the Kiwi ‘peerless’ and ‘quite possibly the greatest’.
‘Like all the greats, he changed the parameters of what was possible, of what a seven could do,’ McGeechan added.
‘Apart from his physical attributes, which were significant, it was his understanding of the game, his knowledge of the laws, which made him such a brilliant player. It ensured that at key moments of the game, when others might hesitate, he could make decisive contributions.
‘He knew exactly what he was allowed to do, and crucially so did the referee. His communication with the referee, and with his team, was first class. Some felt it went too far, that New Zealand got away with murder. But that was part of his strength as a captain and a leader – he knew how far to push and when he was penalised he adapted.’
In total, there were six All Blacks with England contributing three players and Wales two. There were one each from Ireland, France, Australia and Scotland.
Fullback: JPR Williams (Wales)
Wings: John Kirwan (NZ), Jonah Lomu (NZ)
Centres: Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland), Philippe Sella (France)
Flyhalf: Dan Carter (NZ)
Halfback: Gareth Edwards (Wales)
No 8: Zinzan Brooke (NZ)
Flanks: Richie McCaw (NZ), Richard Hill (England)
Locks: John Eales (Australia), Martin Johnson (England)
Props: Jason Leonard (England), Tom Smith (Scotland)
Hooker: Sean Fitzpatrick (NZ)