Your dream British & Irish Lions XV of all-time has been picked – but which players stand the best chance of toppling them? Here we look at the stand-out Springboks, All Blacks and Wallabies at each position, with the first instalment of this series looking at the full-back: tell us who you think should make the team, we’ll add up the votes and publish the all-time SANZAR XV, as selected by the fans.
Many full-backs have beguiled the Lions in the Tour’s 125-year history but perhaps the freshest – and most painful – memory to supporters is Matt Burke’s mastery for Australia in 2001.
Burke hardly started the series like a man who was to write himself in Wallabies folklore, however. In fact, he was the source of much Lions glee as a rampant Brian O’Driscoll sold him a dummy on the way to scoring one of the finest Tour tries in historyin the first-Test victory at the Gabba.
But a player’s quality is often judged on his ability to bounce back from adversity and so he did in cutthroat fashion, crashing over for a try while racking up 20 points with his boot in the second Test.
And in the decisive third Test in Sydney, Burke got the better of Jonny Wilkinson in kicking the last six points to clinch a 29-23 victory for the Wallabies.
The twinkletoes of Gysie Pienaar ran rings around the Lions in 1980, particularly in the second Test with a try and a succession of spellbinding runs after gobbling up wayward kicking.
He also drilled through two penalties in the fourth Test with South Africa seeking a whitewash, only for Noel Murphy’s men to salvage some pride with a victory.
Fast forward to 1997 and it was another Springboks legend in Andre Joubert tormenting the Lions from deep, one of the standouts of a South Africa side who had been crowned World Cup winners two years prior.
The touring party defied all odds to topple the Springboks but Joubert – who dotted down in the second Test – still found space to show why he is one of the most revered 15s of all time.
Allan Hewson is certainly well in the mix for a SANZAR jersey, still holding the record for the most Test points ever scored by a Lions opponent with 46.
Though not the most physically imposing All Black to have ever graced the game, his sleight of hand and deadeye kicking was a driving force behind New Zealand’s Tour victory in 1983.
An ancestral spirit to Hewson was Don ‘The Boot’ Clarke, who was irrepressible from the kicking tee – as the Lions class of 1959 soon found out.
After the tourists had triumphed over the Wallabies in the first leg of the Tour, Clarke – who kicked a then-world record six penalties in the first clash – ensured the tourists left the Land of the Long White Cloud empty handed.
Greg Martin only won nine caps for Australia but he was one of the leading lights for a Wallabies side that self-imploded in 1989.
The former Queensland Red dotted down in both the first and fatal third Test, in which he was infamously the intended recipient for David Campese’s misplaced pass – leading Ieuan Evans to drop onto the ball for a vital score.