Seven All Blacks selected in Greatest all-time XV

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British rugby website has joined the fray, having organised an online poll of the greatest starting XV of all time. It claimed more than 200,000 responses.


The All Blacks dominated the selection with seven players included.


No surprise that Jonah Lomu was chosen on one wing. Bryan Habana was on the other. Behind them, they would have France's Serge Blanco at fullback, the earliest of the selection to have played.


Ma'a Nonu's stature in the game was clear from his choice at second five-eighths outside team-mate Dan Carter. Ireland and British & Irish Lions captain Brian O'Driscoll was the preferred centre.


Halfback was taken by Springbok Joost van der Westhuizen.


Zinzan Brooke was the choice at No8, while Richie McCaw was preferred on the open side flank. Springbok captain François Pienaar was named on the blindside of the scrum, although he played most of his Test rugby on the open side.


Australia's John Eales and England's Martin Johnson, both World Cup-winning captains, were the locks.

New Zealand's Owen Franks was tighthead prop and Sean Fitzpatrick hooker. England's Jason Leonard completed the selection at loosehead prop.


McCaw featured again when British Lions and Wales captain and lock Alun Wyn Jones chose his best forward pack in his recently-released book Belonging.


Jones, who broke Richie McCaw's world record of 148 Test caps during the year, said he was not comfortable with any comparisons to the former New Zealand captain that dominated much of the coverage of his record-breaking achievement.


"He has two World Cups. I don't. I've got those holes in my CV. A legend," he said.


Jones chose Ireland's Paul O'Connell and Springbok Bakkies Botha as his locks.


O'Connell was an unruffled character on the field, he said, while also well organised and an effective player in his position.


Botha was 'up there' physically.


"Let's just say he was able to keep the tradition going of the hardest of South African second rows. Bakkies was a big man, and he always hit hard," he said.


His choice in the front row was Gethin Jenkins (Wales), Ken Owens (Wales) and Kyle Sinckler (England).


The Greatest all-time XV selected by readers is:


15: Serge Blanco (France)

14: Bryan Habana (South Africa)

13: Brian O’Driscoll

12: Ma’a Nonu (New Zealand)

11: Jonah Lomu (New Zealand)

10: Dan Carter (New Zealand)

9: Joost Van Der Westhuizen (South Africa)

8: Zinzan Brooke (New Zealand)

7: Richie McCaw (New Zealand)

6: Francois Pienaar (South Africa)

5: John Eales (Australia)

4: Martin Johnson (England)

3: Owen Franks (New Zealand)

2: Sean Fitzpatrick (New Zealand)

1: Jason Leonard (England)


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