With the 2015 Rugby World Cup among us, questions about this current All Black squad have swirled around the media.
Can they win back-to-back? Will they choke away from New Zealand? Are they really title favourites?
Every question you can ask, this team has been pressured into answering. They have handled every obstacle thrown at them. People are now asking that if this team can do the unthinkable and win back-to-back titles, will they be the greatest All Black side ever?
There are many reasons to believe that this team just may be that but it’s all gossip until the World Cup, where they will need to bring their A game against a hungry pack of competitors.
With this being said, I decided to compile a list of the ‘Greatest All Black XV’. Years and years of talented players and athletes of their own generation crunched down to one team.
The job was difficult, with so many contenders, but I believe I have compiled the greatest team possible.
To make it fair to tight contests, I have bracketed the player who I believe would be next in line to create a ‘Second XV’.
1. Tony Woodcock – 113 Tests (Craig Dowd)
2. Sean Fitzpatrick – 92 Tests (Keven Mealamu)
3. Carl Hayman – 45 Tests (Olo Brown)
4. Ian Jones – 79 Tests (Brodie Retallick)
5. Sir Colin Meads – 55 Tests (Ali Williams)
6. Michael Jones – 55 Tests (Jerome Kaino)
7. Richie McCaw (c) – 142 Tests (Josh Kronfeld)
8. ZinZan Brooke – 58 Tests (Kieran Read)
9. Sid Going – 29 Tests (Justin Marshall)
10. Daniel Carter – 106 Tests (Grant Fox)
11. Jonah Lomu – 63 Tests (Julian Savea)
12. Ma’a Nonu – 97 Tests (Walter Little)
13. Frank Bunce – 55 Tests (Tana Umaga)
14. Sir John Kirwan – 63 Tests (Jeff Wilson)
15. Christian Cullen – 58 Tests (Mils Muliaina)
This list was very hard to compile, as you can see classy players who I have placed in the ‘Second XV’, who would all most likely start in any other country. Thus, this is the rich history of the All Blacks jersey. So many great players to don the one jersey, over such a long period of time.
Stalwart names like Greg Somerville, Joe Stanley, Andrew Mehrtens, Brad Thorn, Doug Howlett, Joe Rokocoko and the late, great Jerry Collins are just a few of the greats to miss the cut.
Overall, I do believe this is the ‘Greatest XV’ that would be assembled for the All Blacks. From what each player did while in the jersey, to their skills and to their demeanour off the field, this is the best side of all time.
For noted sake, Zinny would lead this Haka, and he would do a bloody great job at it. Let’s go bring Bill home!