The Best All Black XV Playing In Europe

The Best All Black XV Playing In Europe

1. Ben Franks (London Irish, 47 Caps) - The 2015 World Cup final was the last of his 47 caps for the two-time World Cup winner. Ben joined London Irish from the Hurricanes after the RWC 2015. With over 100 Super Rugby games, he spent six years at the Crusaders before moving to Wellington in 2012.

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2. Hika Elliot (US Oyonnax, 4 Caps) - Hika inked a two-year deal with Top 14 newcomers Oyonnax in May. Vastly experienced, he played 125 Super Rugby matches, 10 for the Hurricanes in 2008, before joining the Chiefs - as well as nine matches for the Maori, to go with his four games for the All Blacks between 2010-2015.

3. Charlie Faumuina (Stade Toulousain, 50 Caps) - The giant Blues prop had been an established part of the All Blacks game day squad since 2014 joined Toulouse in the Top 14 after the drawn Test series with the Lions. Faumuina racked up half a century of caps and the ball-playing, agile prop was regularly called upon in the last 30 minutes of games to close out victory.

4. Jeremy Thrush (Gloucester, 11 Caps) - The former Hurricane notched a century of caps for the club in the summer of 2015 and after missing out on selection for the 2015 Rugby World Cup through injury, he made the switch to Premiership side Gloucester, Thrush has brought world-class leadership and presence to the Cherry & White pack.

5. Jason Eaton (Stade Rochelais, 15 Caps) - Eaton made 15 appearance for the AB's between 2005-2009 and arrived at La Rochelle from Japan after a lengthy spell with the Wellington-based Hurricanes. Promoted from the Pro D2 in 2014, Eaton led them to their first French championship semi-finals last season after they topped the Top 14 after 26 rounds, finishing unbeaten at home.

6. Steven Luatua (Bristol, 15 Caps) - The 15-Test Aucklander joined Bristol in the Championship and has helped Pat Lam's men to the top of England's second-tier. Luatua has recently stated that he will likely try to reclaim his All Black jersey for the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

7. Tanerau Latimer (Bayonne, 5 Caps) - Latimer brings more than 10 years of Super Rugby experience to Bayonne, the five-Test All Black signed on a two-year deal in June 2016. He played five games for the Crusaders and 109 for the Chiefs.

8. Victor Vito (Stade Rochelais, 33 Caps) - A two-time World Cup winner with the All Blacks, Vito was named Top 14 Player of the Year for 2017 after guiding La Rochelle to their first French championship semi-finals and has started the 2017-18 in devastating fashion.

9. Tawera Kerr-Barlow (Stade Rochelais, 27 Caps) - Third in the pecking order behind Smith & TJ, the 27-year-old Test veteran signed for La Rochelle in March after being limited to only a handful of starts since breaking into the national team in 2012. TKB left the Chiefs to link up with former All Blacks Jason Eaton & Victor Vito in France.

10. Aaron Cruden (Montpellier, 50 Caps) - The 2011 World Cup winner's 50th and final cap came in the third Test against the British & Irish Lions before he made the switch to Montpellier, signing on a three-year deal. Cruden scored 322 points for the All Blacks and won two Super Rugby titles with the Chiefs in 2012 & 2013.

Honourable mention to the highest point scorer in Super Rugby history, Dan Carter (112 Caps), the two-time World Cup winner joined Racing 92 in 2015 and won the Top 14 in his debut season. Carter will join Japanese Top League side Kobe Steelers next season on a two-year contract.

11. Rene Ranger (Stade Rochelais, 6 Caps) - Blues and former All Blacks utility back signed a two-year deal with La Rochelle in July. Ranger made 76 appearances for the Blues, previously played for Montpellier in France from 2013-2015 before returning to Auckland in 2016 to rejuvenate his All Blacks career. Ranger played six Tests for the All Blacks between 2010-2013.

12. Ma'a Nonu (RC Toulon, 103 Caps) - Nonu joined Toulon after the 2015 Rugby World Cup where he helped the All Blacks to back to back titles. The 103-Test centre has moved around in his career following a lengthy spell with the Hurricanes, Nonu spent a season with the Ricoh Black Rams in Japan before returning to New Zealand to line out for the Blues, Highlanders and a final cameo in Wellington with the Canes.

13. Malakai Fekitoa (RC Toulon, 24 Caps) - Fekitoa grew up in Tonga before moving to Auckland after gaining a scholarship to Wesley College. He was a key member of the Highlanders title-winning Super Rugby team in 2015 & a World Cup winner the same year. After originally missing out on selection for the British & Irish Lions series, Fekitoa confirmed a two-year deal with Toulon, where he links up with former centre partner Nonu.

Honourable mention to Conrad Smith, 94-times capped, back-to-back World Cup winner and regarded as one of the world's finest outside centres. Smith is playing for Pau in the south-west of France in the Top 14. Under the tutelage of Kiwi Simon Mannix, Smith has found a new challenge for his playing career and is loving every minute of it.

14. Joe Rokocoko (Racing 92, 68 Caps) - Joe joined Racing 92 after four seasons with Bayonne in the summer of 2015, signing on a three-year contract. Rokocoko's 46 tries from 68 Tests places him second-equal in New Zealand's all-timelist, he ended an eight-year international career when he signed for Bayonne in 2011.

15. Charles Piutau (Ulster Rugby, 16 Caps) - Having represented both Tonga & NZ U20's along with NZ 7's side, Piutau made 16 appearances for New Zealand before leaving to join Wasps in September 2015. The following season, he joined Ulster on a two-year deal winning the domestic league's Players' Player of the Season in his debut year. Piutau will become the world's highest paid player next season when he joins Bristol.

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