All-time SANZAR XV – second row

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 next installment of this series looking at the locks: tell us which lock pairing you think should make the team, we'll add up the votes and publish the all-time SANZAR XV, as selected by the fans. [more]

All-time SANZAR XV – second row

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 next installment of this series looking at the locks: tell us which lock pairing you think should make the team, we’ll add up the votes and publish the all-time SANZAR XV, as selected by the fans.

At first glance ‘Nobody’ is hardly a nickname befitting the stature of Australia legend John Eales – but as the old saying goes, Nobody’s perfect.

Eales bowed out of the international stage as the most-capped lock of all time and, inevitably, a victory over the Lions suitably topped off that glittering career in 2001.

The two-time World Cup winner was embroiled in a titanic tussle with Martin Johnson – who is cut from the exact same cloth as the former Aussie skipper – and ultimately hauled his side to glory by two Tests to one.

But a second-rower with just as much folklore trailing in his wake is Andy Haden, who quite astonishingly won seven out of eight Tests over two successive Lions Tours to New Zealand in 1977 and 1983.

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An outspoken man who could be just as controversial on the field, Haden nonetheless formed the bedrock of one of the All Blacks’ most successful eras.

However, for all of Haden’s prestige there are plenty more Kiwis in contention who deserve a say in any all-time list.

Colin Meads is arguably the most vaunted forward of them all and cajoled his troops to a series success in 1966.

Nicknamed ‘Pinetree’ for obvious reasons, the ground shook every time Meads swayed into a melee, though the Lions managed to exact their revenge against the big man five years later.

His brother, Stanley, was no lightweight either as an able deputy alongside him in the All Blacks’ class of ’66.

New Zealand seemingly churn out ball-carrying forwards with consummate ease and a modern-day descendant is Ali Williams.

Though he may not quite have achieved the heights of his predecessors, he left the Lions just as sore in the ‘Blackwash’ of 2005 after crashing over the try-line twice.

South African representation does not pale in comparison, however. Just throw in the names of Bakkies Botha and Victor Matfield.

Either lock is a giant of the game in his own right but it may be unwise to break up the bone-shuddering duo – though Botha’s winning contribution in 2009 was marked by a two-week ban for a dangerous charge in the second Test.

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