Only two players have played in six consecutive tests for the Lions in the last 20 years.
Martin Johnson, the all-encompassing legend, and Tom Smith the talismanic Scottish loosehead prop. It is this consistency of performance and the fact he kept a myriad of rather good props, including Jason Leonard and Graham Rowntree out of the starting line-up that puts Smith into ours.
He turned up in Africa very much expecting to be a dirt-tracker, part of the support crew. His performances suggested he was anything but a dirt-tracker. They were in fact so good that he forced his way up the perceived pecking order and into the test team. With the undeniable domination of the Springboks in 1997 you get the impression that Smith is one of the more underrated players to have worn the famous jersey.
The All Blacks most capped prop is our choice on the loosehead side of the scrum. After 118 tests, including a remarkable 102 victories, Tony Woodcock is out in front when it comes to loosehead props that New Zealand has produced in the professional era. Like many of his contemporaries, he has an array of trophies to his name, including back-to-back World Cups.
Injury ruled him out of a fitting finale at Twickenham in October of 2015, but his legacy was assured when he crashed over to score the All Blacks only try in their 2011 World Cup Final victory.
The professional era teams to date…
1. Tony Woodcock
1. Tom Smith
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Author: Steven Prescott
I am a total sports fanatic; it is as simple as that. I love all sports, and when I’m not sitting at my computer living my dream with The 1014, I am planning adventures. The last time I did this I ended up convincing my wife to cycle 26,125km across three continents, and 22 countries with me as part of the Pedalling Prescotts.