Four-time tourist and former British and Irish Lions skipper Brian O'Driscoll has revealed the XV he believes is capable of defeating the World Champion Springboks next year.
The 2005 Lions captain went on four tours with the famed touring side and was infamously dropped by Warren Gatland for the 2013 series decider against Australia, has opted for an England-dominated selection for a 2021 series with eight of Eddie Jones' men making the XV with an even spilt between the backs and forwards.
The former Ireland captain revealed his XV on the Off The Ball radio show in Ireland. O'Driscoll has gone for plenty of tall timber in his lineup with Maro Itoje picked on the side of the scrum to negate the impact of World Player of the Year in 2019, Pieter-Steph du Toit.
Commenting on the selection O'Driscoll said: "The back row aside from Billy is very difficult, I'm going to go from a size aspect and it makes another decision easier. I'm going to go with Maro Itoje at six. That size will matter, particularly against South Africa who we have seen decimate teams physically.
"You look at Pieter Steph du Toit playing at six, you have got to match him, Itoje is someone who is capable of doing that."
Itoje forms an all England back row with Sam Underhill at openside and Billy Vunipola at no.8. Commenting on the openside role O'Driscoll named three probably contenders in Justin Tipuric, Hamish Watson and Underhill saying that "I don't think there's a huge amount between the three of them" before conceding that the Underhill or Tipuric where just ahead of Watson but that he'd '"be happy with any of the three of them."
In the front five, O'Driscoll picked fell countryman James Ryan to partner Alun Wyn Jones. He went on to say that he did question whether Jones was capable of delivering in South Africa but said "I know the warrior that's in him, the fitness animal he is, the appetite he has for work so I think he'll still be able to piece himself together."
Another Englishman features O'Driscoll's front row with Jamie George joining Rory Sutherland and Tadhg Furlong with Ellis Genge mentioned as a player that 'will push' Sutherland for a spot in the side.
Onto the backs and O'Driscoll has gone with Welshman Tomos Williams to link up with Owen Farrell in the halfback with Manu Tuilagi and Jonathan Davies in the centres.
"Garry Ringrose is going to need a huge, huge year but the hard ground could suit him, but I think Jonathan Davies is the man in possession. I think that's working in his favour even though he hasn't shown any form because he hasn't played since the World Cup." - O'Driscoll said.
Stuart Hogg is flanked by two further Englishman to complete O'Driscoll's XV with Anthony Watson and Jonny May taking the wing spots.
"I'm going to go with Hogg instead of Liam Willimas at full-back, you are not losing a lot either way." - O'Driscoll said on his call at fullback.
Brian O’Driscoll’s Off The Ball Lions XV: Stuart Hogg (Scotland); Anthony Watson (England), Jonathan Davies (Wales), Manu Tuilagi (England), Jonny May (England); Owen Farrell (England), Tomos Williams (Wales); Rory Sutherland (Scotland), Jamie George (England), Tadhg Furlong (Ireland), James Ryan (Ireland), Alun Wyn Jones (Wales), Maro Itoje (England), Sam Underhill (England), Billy Vunipola (England).
🏉 @BrianODriscoll, McCaw and more!— Ultimate Rugby (@ultimaterugby) July 22, 2020
A XV of players who have scored the most test tries 🔥