We’re officially in Six Nations mode with the tournament kicking this day next week. A few newspaper outlets have had a crack at putting together their all-time Six Nations XV in recent days so we thought we’d have a go at it ourselves.
Four Irishmen make our list along with four Welsh, five English and one each from France and Italy, with the Scots missing out.
15. Jason Robinson
The Rugby league convert was in his day one of the very best. Dazzling speed and unbelievable feet. Easy decision.
14. George North
The Welsh giant has 55 caps for his country already and he’s still only 23. A lot of wingers to choose from but for us North has to make the list.
13. Brian O’Driscoll
Don’t really need to explain this one. One of the world’s very best.
12. Will Greenwood
Bagged 15 tries in 24 starts in the tournament. England’s greatest 12. Gordon D’Arcy, Jamie Roberts and Yannick Jauzion were his closest challengers.
11. Shane Williams
Former IRB World Player of the Year, Williams was one of the world’s deadliest finishers and still holds his country’s record for tries scored.
10. Jonny Wilkinson
Really tough decision here between Wilkinson and O’Gara. O’Gara’s success spanned longer but if you had the decision between either of the two at the peak of their powers, Wilkinson wins every time.
9. Fabien Galthie
In 2002 Galthie won IRB World Player of the Year award, succeeding Keith Wood, after his side had swept to a Six Nations Grand Slam. France’s greatest ever scrumhalf played at four World Cups.
8. Sergio Parisse
One of the world’s greatest number 8’s. Would make it into almost any World XV.
7. David Wallace
One of the very best out and out 7’s the world has ever seen. An absolute human wrecking ball who’s work at the breakdown was unrivalled.
6. Lawrence Dallaglio
Regarded as one of the world’s greatest ever back row forwards. He played 85 times for England in an international career which lasted from 1995 to 2007.
5. Paul O’Connell
One of sport’s most inspirational captains. Led from the front for many years with Ireland and will forever be remember as one of, if not the greatest ever second-row the world has ever seen for both his leadership abilities and amazing lineout skills.
4. Martin Johnson
Famously led England to the World Cup in 2003. In a glittering career Johnson was also part of two Grand Slam-winning England sides in 1995 and again as captain in 2003. He also captained the Lions both 1997 and 2001.
3. Adam Jones
One of the best scrummagers the game has ever seen. Started all five of Wales’ games in their 2005 Grand Slam-winning campaign. Jones also played in four of Wales’ games on their way to the Grand Slam in the 2008 Six Nations. He became a triple Grand Slam winner in 2012 and went with the Lions to Australia in 2009 and 2013.
2. Keith Wood
In 2001 he beat the likes of George Gregan, Brian O’Driscoll, Jonny Wilkinson and George Smith to the IRB World Player of the Year award. One of the best hooker’s the game has ever seen. He currently holds a world record of 15 Test tries scored by a hooker, in his 58 appearances for Ireland.
1 Gethin Jenkins
Wales’ most capped player, regarded as one of the world’s greatest looseheads, Jenkins featured on three Lions tours and picked up three Grand Slams with front-row partner Adam Jones.