The Rugby World Cup 2019 will soon be with us!
So we have decided to put together a series of “favourite fifteens” of players past and present for a different country going to Japan.
These are purely opinion and we hope they will strike up a bit of a debate. There is nothing better in the lead up to a RWC than discussing past greats, so here is our NZ favourite fifteen, we look forward to hearing if you agree or not? NB – We will still be correct
This month we are starting with current World Champions New Zealand!
1. Tony Woodcock.
118 caps and a World Cup winner in 2011 and 2015, Woodcock is known as the best Loosehead prop ever. He is also the only NZ prop to score in a World Cup final (2011).
2. Sean Fitzpatrick.
Now a pundit often seen on our TV screens, he was a legendary captain. 92 caps and a Rugby World Cup winner in 1987.
3. Owen Franks.
The first rugby player to reach 100 caps without scoring any points! Franks is the best tighthead of his generation. Double World Cup winner (2011 & 2015) and moving to Northampton Saints next season.
4. Colin Meads.
Regarded as New Zealand’s greatest ever player, Meads was nicknamed “Pinetree” due to his physical resemblance to one! Received 55 caps over 14 years of playing for the All Blacks.
5. Brodie Retallick.
Still only 27 and with a World Cup winners medal (2015) and 73 caps already we think Retallick will end up as an All Black legend, if he isn’t already? A real loss for this RWC.
6. Michael Jones.
Once called “almost the perfect rugby player” Jones would have received many more than 55 caps if it hadn’t been for injury. Rugby World Cup winner 1987.
7. Richie McCaw.
The most capped player ever with 148 caps, McCaw has played in four World Cups and was a winning captain in two (2011 & 2015). Retired after winning the final in 2015, a perfect exit.
8. Keiran Read.
Another double World Cup winner (2011 & 2015) Read took over the captaincy of the All Blacks from McCaw. Big boots to fill but can he go one step further in Japan 2019?
9. Justin Marshall.
He won pretty much everything else with NZ but never a World Cup. However, he was one of the most talented and dangerous All Black nines ever, scoring an awesome 24 tries in 81 games.
10. Dan Carter.
Two World Cup wins (2011 & 2015), The most points ever scored by an international player (1,598), 112 caps, 3-time player of the year and numerous other medals. Carter is still playing, the man is a legend.
11. Jonah Lomu.
One of the most well-known rugby players ever, Lomu changed how rugby was played and was the first “household name” in the game. Taken too early but remembered forever.
12. Sonny Bill Williams.
Probably the most talented rugby player you can watch, He has played Union, League and Sevens and won medals in all codes including 2 World Cups (2011 & 2015). He has also boxed professionally.
13. Ma’a Nonu.
The All Blacks have had some amazing centres but Nonu’s tough, abrasive, hard carrying style epitomises great centre play. Oh, and he has won 2 World Cups (2011 & 2015)
14. Doug Howlett
The leading All Black try scorer with 49 tries in 62 matches must be in the team! His attacking game wasn’t his only skill. Howlett was an exceptional rugby player with great defensive skills and fitness.
15. Christian Cullen.
One of our favourite rugby players to watch. Cullen could score from anywhere and often did! Second only to Howlett in All Black tries scored he was impossible to defend against.
Finishers: Carl Hayman, Joe Rokocoko, Zinzan Brooke, Tana Umaga, Dane Coles, Olo Brown.