Martin Johnson selects His Dream XV

Martin Johnson selects His Dream XV

Martin Johnson has named his all-time rugby XV that includes three former England teammates and two South Africans.

FRONT-ROW:

Jason Leonard (England)
Sean Fitzpatrick (New Zealand)
Jean-Pierre Garuet (France)

Johnson’s Comments:

“Solid as a rock, was regularly asked to play on both sides of the scrum and never moaned. His record of four World Cups and two finals says it all.”

“Played for the All Blacks for ten years, a fantastic competitor and a great captain.”

“From the old school of scrummagers, played in 1987 final, a nuggety, fierce-looking guy.”

Martin Johnson selects His Dream XV
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SECOND-ROW:

Frik du Preez (South Africa)
Colin Meads (New Zealand)

Johnson’s Comment:

“The 1990s was a great era for locks. There were Robin Brooke and Ian Jones for New Zealand; Australia had John Eales; South Africa had Mark Andrews. I could have picked any of them but I’ve gone for some older players. Both Du Preez and Meads played in the 1960s but were very modern players. Meads was the greatest ever All Black; Frik was very quick and athletic. I wasn’t in their league.”

Martin Johnson selects His Dream XV

BACK-ROW:

Richard Hill (England)
Michael Jones (New Zealand)
Wayne Shelford (New Zealand)

Johnson’s Comments:

“It was a difficult choice but Hill, a quiet guy, very understated, was the pick. When he was with the Lions teams, if he didn’t play, we didn’t win. He would be embarrassed to be in this side, but he deserves it.”

“Sean Fitzpatrick says he was the greatest player he ever played against, a mythical figure.”

“Buck was at his peak for the World Cup final in 1987. I remember watching him as a 16-year-old on the terraces at Leicester a year earlier and saw him charge down the flank, chip the ball over the wing and score a try. Not bad for a back row.”

Martin Johnson selects His Dream XV
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HALFBACKS:

Jonny Wilkinson (England)
Gareth Edwards (Wales)

Johnson’s Comments:

“I could have gone for Phil Bennett, Michael Lynagh, Stephen Larkham or others but Jonny is special, not just for his kicking. I remember in the 2003 Grand Slam decider in Dublin, Ireland attacked down the right and Jonny was there to stop them; then they switched quickly to the left and Jonny was there to stop them too.”

“The Welsh have put a mythical status on Edwards and their 1970s players, but Rob Howley was almost as good and scored some great tries. Joost van der Westhuizen was the best scrum half I played against.”

Martin Johnson selects His Dream XV

CENTRES:

Philippe Sella (France)
Danie Gerber (South Africa)

Johnson’s Comments:

“I used to watch him as a kid on TV and think he was brilliant, and then ten years later I played against him and he was still brilliant. He still looks as if he could play for France today. He is one of the best backs I’ve ever seen. If you hit him it was like running into concrete.”

“Scored a hat-trick against England in the first half in one match in the 1980s. He didn’t play many Tests because of apartheid, but he had power and pace. I don’t know if he could pass: it seemed like he never needed to. I played against him in a charity match in 1996 when he must have been well into his 40s, he was still awesome.”

Martin Johnson selects His Dream XV

BACK-THREE:

Serge Blanco (France)
Joe Roff (Australia)
Jonah Lomu (New Zealand)

Johnson’s Comments:

“A great France full-back who dominated games.”

“You’d put David Campese up there but Roff is my choice. A fantastic all-around rugby player, and old-style wing.”

“Not much difficulty in choosing one of the most awesome wings to have ever played.”

Martin Johnson selects His Dream XV
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