Sir Ian McGeechan selects his dream XV

Sir Ian McGeechan selects his dream XV

Sir Ian McGeechan has named his greatest XV rugby union team of all time, although Paul O’Connell, David Campese, Lawrence Dallaglio, and Jonny Wilkinson are not included.

Six New Zealanders are among the 56-year-choices, old’s which also includes three Englishmen, two Welshmen, and one player from each of France, Scotland, and Ireland.

Sir Ian McGeechan out of hospital after collapsing in Wellington ahead of Lions second Test | Rugby Union News | Sky Sports

BACK-THREE

Fullback: JPR Williams (Wales)

Sir Ian McGeechan’s Comment:

“Not a staggeringly original choice, I’ll admit. But to my mind the only one. If I’m going to be picking a dream XV over the next few days then I want JPR at the back. No question.”

The ruthless call to end JPR Williams' Wales career that made him 'hit s**t' out of his team-mates - Wales Online

Left-wing: Jonah Lomu (New Zealand)

Sir Ian McGeechan’s Comment:

“Illness and injury ultimately slowed him down. But his performances at the 1995 World Cup, just as the game was turning professional, will never be forgotten. The game needed a superstar, and it got one in Lomu. He was brilliant for rugby.”

Jonah Lomu: Queen sends condolences to All Black's family | London Evening Standard | Evening Standard

Right-wing: John Kirwan (New Zealand)

Sir Ian McGeechan’s Comment:

“He had an all round game; he could carry the ball through heavy traffic, he could offload, he was like an extra back-rower at times. Plus, he had natural effortless pace. He ended up scoring 35 tries for the All Blacks and was instrumental as they went through their unbeaten spell of games between 1987 and 1990.”

Rugby's Greatest: John Kirwan - New Zealand Winger

CENTRES

Outside-centre: Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland)

Sir Ian McGeechan’s Comment:

His ability to get back on his feet after tackling to compete for the ball was extraordinary, and ensured he always had an impact on the game, whatever type of game it was. He was such a natural talent.”

Rugby's Greatest: Brian O'Driscoll – Ireland's Greatest Player

Inside-centre: Philippe Sella (France)

Sir Ian McGeechan’s Comment:

“Sella and O’Driscoll were powerful men. They could stop a forward in his tracks. I think as a pair they would dominate any midfield and I like the thought of them together.”

The first person to reach 100 International Test Caps! - Interview with Philippe Sella - Rugby Centurions

HALFBACKS

Fly-half: Dan Carter (New Zealand)

Sir Ian McGeechan’s Comment:

“really was the complete 10. His defence was immaculate, he could break himself, he could bring others in to play, his kicking from hand and from tee was incredibly accurate. He also changed the way the game was played with his kicking from his own 22m and his kicking to compete. The greatest of the modern era in my opinion.”

Dan Carter: All Black legend's record-breaking career in numbers | World Rugby

Scrum-half: Gareth Edwards (Wales) 

Sir Ian McGeechan’s Comment:

My favourite scrum-half of all time happens to be my favourite player of all time. Gareth Edwards was and always will be the master. The Greatest.’’

Gareth Edwards - IMDb

FRONT-ROW

Loosehead-prop: Tom Smith (Scotland)

Sir Ian McGeechan’s Comment:

“I just don’t think he gets anywhere near the credit he deserves. Six consecutive Lions Tests in 1997 and 2001, a talismanic figure in Scotland’s 1999 Five Nations win, a major reason Scotland were competitive at the 2003 World Cup.”

Six Nations Rugby | Greatest XV Profile: Tom Smith

Hooker: Sean Fitzpatrick (New Zealand)

Sir Ian McGeechan’s Comment:

“He was outstanding, not just as a player but as a captain, and as a man.  His consistency was unbelievable in an international career that spanned 12 years: 92 Test appearances, including a world record 63 consecutive Test matches and 51 as captain.“

Everyone was eating cucumber sandwiches': an All Black's view of Twickenham | New Zealand rugby union team | The Guardian

Tighthead-prop:Jason Leonard (England) 

Sir Ian McGeechan’s Comment:

” He played both sides of the scrum but he was more of a tighthead. Completely unflappable, Jason was never in any trouble. Technically, he was superb and temperamentally he was sound, a huge character on and off the pitch.”

On this day: Jason Leonard calls time on Test career | PlanetRugby

SECOND-ROW

Lock: Martin Johnson (England) 

Sir Ian McGeechan’s Comment:

 ‘I think he defined an era, both for forward play and for the performances of the teams he represented.”

Rugby's Greatest: Martin Johnson - World Cup Winning Captain

Lock: John Eales (Australia)

“A two-time Rugby World Cup-winner with the Wallabies in 1991 and 1999, captaining his side to victory over France in the second of those finals. A lot of the ‘number fives’ that have followed him play the way they do because of the type of game Eales set.”

Rugby's Greatest: John Eales – legendary Wallaby captain

BACK-ROW

Blindside-flanker: Richard Hill (England)

“One of the easier selections, if I’m honest. Hill seemed to know almost instinctively where to be and when.”

Unofficial England Rugby Union - World Cup Winner Richard Hill Takes New Role at RFU

Openside-flanker: Richie McCaw (New Zealand)

“Having picked Richard Hill at blindside, the thought of pairing him with Richie McCaw at openside genuinely excites me. Can you imagine those two together? The opposition would not stand a chance.”

2015 Rugby World Cup: Richie McCaw to delay retirement announcement

Number 8: Zinzan Brooke (New Zealand) 

“One of the toughest choices of the lot. Maybe the toughest. His ability to bring others into the game, his ability to stay connected in the game himself, popping up repeatedly through different phases; all exemplary. And he dropped goals of course. A true original.”

My Rugby World Cup hero: Zinzan Brooke | PlanetRugby
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