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 some of the stand-out Springboks, All Blacks and Wallabies at each position, with the next instalment of this series looking at the scrum-half: 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.
Throughout the professional era, the one knock on New Zealand has been their lack of a world-class scrum-half.
With all due respect to the likes of Justin Marshall and Byron Kelleher, there is one man who stands alone as the greatest All Black No.9 – Sid Going.
One of the few men to have played the Lions twice, Going and Gareth Edwards had some wonderful duels in 1971 when the Welshman and his Lions won for the first, and so far only, time in the land of the long white cloud.
And the free-running half-back was still around for the 1977 tour, announcing his retirement after playing the first two Tests as the Kiwis gained revenge.
Fast forward to the modern era and there are three Australians that stand out as Lion tamers, first there is the World Cup winner Nick Farr-Jones.
The skipper emerged bloodied but unbowed from the Battle of Ballymore on the 1989 tour and never gave up as his side fought valiantly but could not reverse the Lions’ momentum in their 2-1 series defeat.
After him there is George Gregan, he of the 139 international caps, who was a thorn in the Lions’ side in the 2001 tour that saw the Wallabies come from behind to seal a magnificent series win.
His successor appears to be Will Genia and the current Aussie No.9 was extremely impressive this summer, particularly with his tormenting display in the first Test in Brisbane.
And while his knock-on at the start of the third and final Test helped the Lions to their historic series win, there is no doubting the half-back’s class.
Another of the current scrum-halves, Fourie Du Preez is a World Cup winner and he was superb for the Springboks in 2009.
Currently plying his trade in Japan, the No.9 returned to the international arena this autumn for the Boks and slotted straight back as if he had never left.
But the greatest Bok scrum-half of all is undoubtedly the great Joost van der Westhuizen, and while he could not lift his country to a Lions series victory in 1997, it was not for a lack of class.
Taller than average for a scrum-half, van der Westhuizen inspired the Boks to their historic World Cup win in 1995, scored a try in their third Test win against the Boks and racked up 89 caps in a ten-year Test career.