When compiling the list of players fighting for each position in our hypothetical team there were four players that inked their names in for the All Blacks without so much as a mild debate here in The Shed.
Left Wing is one such position.
Julian Savea has been so dominant since his inclusion into the team that his try scoring record is almost embarrassing, and aside from the odd occasion when he has “gone missing” in matches, he has largely owned the jersey since his hat-trick debut against the Irish in 2012. In most other parts of the world, he would be a walk-in to their professional era team.
Rococoko and Sivivatu, the Fijian flyers who can trace their New Zealand roots back to the Counties-Manukau area were also remarkable players.
Both were try-scoring phenomenons; Rocokoco picking up 27 tries in his first 23 tests and Sivivatu helped himself to 125 tries in 192 first-class matches. These statistics and the sheer joy of watching them means, like Savea they really do need to be mentioned. But like Savea, in this instance, they are only mentioned in passing.
That is because the number 11 jersey belongs to one man, and one man only.
The late, great Jonah Lomu; a man who brought more joy to the New Zealand rugby-mad public than possibly any other player in the history of the game. There is nothing that can be written, said or thought that hasn’t gone before; superlatives are not enough. It really was a case of sit back and enjoy!
Options for the Lions
Jason Robinson is the prince of Lions Left Wings in the last 20 years, of that there is no doubt; but we feel it necessary to consider him at Fullback in our selection due to the lack of really world class performances in the Lions number 15 jersey to date.
Starting with the Scottish centre Alan Tait, who Ian McGeechan entrusted with the Left Wing duties in Africa in 1997 and passing through names such as Underwood, Thomas, Williams, Lewsey, Monye, and Fitzgerald you finally get to our selection – George North.
The most famous sight of George North in a Lions jersey is of him carrying Israel Folau down the field on his shoulders in an attempted tackle. This said, North was the scorer of two tries and played a significant role in helping dismantle what was, in hindsight a truly woeful Australian side.
From a New Zealand point-of-view, come the 9th July I think it would be best if the most famous sight of George North in a Lions jersey is still of him carrying Israel Folau down the field on his shoulders.
The reality is that if North can keep his fitness and most importantly stay away from any serious concussions in the Northern season he is going to prove to be a real handful as he showed when touring with the Welsh last season.
If the series is as close as I am expecting, then George North has the goods to make the difference.
The professional era teams to date…
1. Tony Woodcock
2. Dane Coles
3. Carl Hayman
4. Brodie Retallick
5. Sam Whitelock
6. Jerry Collins
7. Richie McCaw (c)
8. Kieran Read
9. Aaron Smith
10. Dan Carter
11. Jonah Lomu
1. Tom Smith
2. Keith Wood
3. Phil Vickery
4. Martin Johnson (c)
5. Paul O’Connell
6. Lawrence Dallaglio
7. Richard Hill
8. Jamie Heaslip
9. Matt Dawson
10. Jonny Wilkinson
11. George North
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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.