All-time Lions XV – The results

So the votes are in for your dream British & Irish Lions XV of all-time. Over a thousand votes have been cast since October when the first position of full-back was opened. Here we present the results from full-back down to loosehead with a head coach as well. As always there will be plenty of debate but the final votes have been cast and the decision is final. [more]

All-time Lions XV – The results

So the votes are in for your dream British & Irish Lions XV of all-time. Over a thousand votes have been cast since October when the first position of full-back was opened. Here we present the results from full-back down to loosehead with a head coach as well. As always there will be plenty of debate but the final votes have been cast and the decision is final.

At full-back it is of little surprise that JPR Williams is the near unanimous choice for this all-time team. 

No player in the entire series got more individual votes than the doctor who inspired the Lions in 1971 and again in ‘74.

The voting for the wingers was a much harder-fought battle but in the end it was Gerald Davies and Jason Robinson who emerged victorious with Davies the top overall vote getter and the man they call Billy Whizz a close second.

George North ran them very close and at only 21-years-old he will surely be in a position to make one of the berths his own in four years time.

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The wingers may have been a close-run thing but it was the centres that were on a knife edge right up until the final vote.

The likes of Jeremy Guscott and John Dawes, Lions legends in their own rights, were no match in what turned into a three-way battle for two spots in midfield.

And eventually it was the great Mike Gibson who was narrowly edged out leaving Scott Gibbs and Brian O’Driscoll to slot in at 12 and 13 respectively in the all-time team.

By contrast the half-back pairing were the biggest landslides in terms of the voting as Gareth Edwards and Barry John were reunited for this all-time team.

Edwards garnered all but two of the votes in the scrum-half position, Matt Dawson the only other No.9 to get a look in, while Barry ‘The King’ John was a long way clear of Phil Bennett for the 10 jersey.

In the pack Mervyn Davies was the stand-out favourite for No.8 and he won at a canter with Scott Quinnell and Lawrence Dallaglio forced to scrap it out for second place, a battle the Welshman eventually won.

At openside flanker it was a head-to-head race between Fergus Slattery and Finlay Calder and the Irishman emerged victorious to claim his spot in the side.

Blindside was only ever one man though, the silent assassin Richard Hill seeing off all comers, including country man Mike Teague.

The scrap for the second-row positions was closer than initially expected as Paul O’Connell, on the back of his third Lions tour this summer, swayed some of the voters his way but in the end it was the favourites that emerged victorious.

A lock pairing of Martin Johnson and Willie-John McBride brings leadership, grit and class in equal measure and they will dominate the tight exchanges for this legendary line-up.

In the front-row two English props in Jason Leonard and Fran Cotton possibly suffered from their own versatility, garnering votes on both the tighthead and loosehead side but winning neither.

At tighthead it was the great Graham Price who saw off compatriot Adam Jones while at loosehead Scotland’s Tom Smith, hero on the 1997 tour, dominated the vote to slot in.

The battle for the No.2 jersey was won in comfortable fashion by Keith Wood with Bobby Windsor a distant second.

Leading this venerable outfit it could only be Sir Ian McGeechan although for a while the great Carwyn James looked like he might make a fight of it.

Team in full:
15. JPR Williams
14. Gerald Davies
13. Brian O’Driscoll
12. Scott Gibbs
11. Jason Robinson
10. Barry John
9. Gareth Edwards
1. Tom Smith
2. Keith Wood
3. Graham Price
4. Willie John McBride
5. Martin Johnson
6. Richard Hill
7. Fergus Slattery
8. Mervyn Davies

Head coach: Sir Ian McGeechan  

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