British and Irish Lions' legend Sir Ian McGeechan has named his all time World XV with eight players from the North and seven from the South.
The highly regarded former Scotland International and Lions coach, McGeechan has tapped into his knowledge of the game to select what he feels is rugby's ultimate dream team - a truly star-studded XV made up of the greatest players he has come across.
McGeechan has snubbed South Africa when selecting his team with one Irishman, six New Zealanders, three Englishmen, two Welshmen, a Scot, an Aussie and a Frenchman all being selected. McGeechan chose his best of the best in a special feature in his role as a columnist for the Telegraph, picking segments of the side each day over a period of a week.
In his sixth and final part of the series, McGeechan revealed the back row with Richie McCaw (NZ), Richard Hill (England) and Zinzan Brooke (NZ) completing his team.
The trio completed McGeechan's pack that includes legendary captains John Eales (Australia) and Martin Johnson (England) in the second row with Jason Leonard (England) and Tom Smith (Scotland) either side of former All Blacks captain Sean Fitzpatrick (NZ) at hooker.
Dan Carter pairs up with legendary Welshman Gareth Edwards (Wales) at scrum-half with a thrilling centre partnership of Philippe Sella (France) and Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland). All Blacks Sir John Kirwan and Jonah Lomu link up with Welshman JPR Williams to form a back three that any defence would struggle to contain.
Earning the most praise was Richie McCaw … the former British and Irish Lions coach labelled the Kiwi ‘peerless’ and ‘quite possibly the greatest’.
‘Like all the greats, he changed the parameters of what was possible, of what a seven could do,’ McGeechan added.
‘Apart from his physical attributes, which were significant, it was his understanding of the game, his knowledge of the laws, which made him such a brilliant player. It ensured that at key moments of the game, when others might hesitate, he could make decisive contributions.
‘He knew exactly what he was allowed to do, and crucially so did the referee. His communication with the referee, and with his team, was first class. Some felt it went too far, that New Zealand got away with murder. But that was part of his strength as a captain and a leader – he knew how far to push and when he was penalised he adapted.’
Sir Ian McGeechan’s XV
Fullback: JPR Williams (Wales)
Wings: John Kirwan (NZ), Jonah Lomu (NZ)
Centres: Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland), Philippe Sella (France)
Flyhalf: Dan Carter (NZ)
Halfback: Gareth Edwards (Wales)
No 8: Zinzan Brooke (NZ)
Flanks: Richie McCaw (NZ), Richard Hill (England)
Locks: John Eales (Australia), Martin Johnson (England)
Props: Jason Leonard (England), Tom Smith (Scotland)
Hooker: Sean Fitzpatrick (NZ)