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 hookers: 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.
The British & Irish Lions have faced some fearsome All Black props over the years and, on a thrilling tour of New Zealand in 1971, Brian ‘Jazz’ Muller was exactly that.
His occasional streak for ill-discipline at the breakdown allowed Barry John to help kick the tourists to victory but the man nicknamed ‘Jazz’ was a tough customer in the scrum.
John Ashworth inherited Muller’s shirt and played his part in the New Zealand team that brushed all aside in 1983, beating the touring Lions 4-0.
Ten years later the Lions returned and it was Craig Dowd, just making his way in international rugby, who donned the No.1 shirt in another victorious series for the All Blacks.
Dowd went on to play 60 times for his country, with the All Blacks winning almost 50 of those clashes, and featuring in two World Cups.
Finally, it was Tony Woodcock who welcomed the tourists in 2005 – and almost ten years later he is still going strong.
The Auckland-born loosehead has more than 100 caps but a second Lions series in 2017 may prove to be a stretch too far for the 33-year-old.
When you talk about South African loosehead props, Os du Randt is the first name that springs to mind and the 6ft3in bulldozer was wearing No.1 in 1997.
However, the legendary prop, whose Afrikaans nickname ‘Os’ means ‘Ox’, was part of a losing side that year – something that was not the case for either Richard Prentis or Tendai Mtawarira.
Prentis was part of the Springbok side that clinched the series in 1980, while Zimbabwe-born Mtawarira was just making his way in international rugby when South Africa beat the Lions in 2009 – he now has more than 50 caps to his name.
And finally the Wallabies candidates, led by their captain for the 1966 series, John Thornett – despite losing both games in charge against the Lions Thornett cemented his status as an Australia legend.
Mark Hartill featured twice in Australia’s unsuccessful series on 1989, before Nick Stiles assumed the role in 2001, as the Green and Gold triumphed 2-1.