2. Dane Coles – He’s just an awesome player who was at the top of his game last season, whether that was for the Hurricanes or the All Blacks. Incredible ball carrier in the outside channels.
3. Martin Castrogiovanni – He’s had a great career playing many games for Leicester and Italy before going to France. One of the best tightheads in the game when he was at Welford Road.
4. Maro Itoje – Such a good player despite his age. At his best in the second row, but what impresses me the most is his speed and his ability to play in the back row.
5. Paul O’Connell – A great leader who’s had an outstanding career for Munster and Ireland. Where he went, his team followed.
6. George Smith – The perfect link between the forwards and the backs with his great handling skills. Very hard to get off the ball once he’s locked in at the breakdown.
7. Richie McCaw – Won a lot of trophies over the years with two World Cups and many Super Rugby titles with the Crusaders. Another great leader who always keeps his cool.
8. Billy Vunipola – Carries hard and very tough to tackle. He’s already playing at the very highest level but he’s still young and I’m sure he’ll get better.
9. Greig Laidlaw – Very good to marshall the troops around especially his pack of forwards at Gloucester. Controls the game really well and can kick at goal too.
10. Dan Carter – Like McCaw, he seems to always keep his cool which makes him very hard to play against. Even if you put a shot on him, it doesn’t rattle him and he just keeps going.
11. Jonny May – Very fast and will run around you every time he wants. Very smart player who scores a lot of tries for club and country.
12. Rohan Janse van Rensburg – Superb season for the Lions in Super Rugby and ended up playing for South Africa. Very young but a powerful ball carrier and always takes his team forward.
13. Brian O’Driscoll – Another great leader but he’s also very skilful. An Ireland and Leinster legend and definitely one of the best outside centres to have played the game.
14. Bryan Habana – Lethal finisher who is always a handful to play against. Very fast and his record proves he knows where the try line is. The ultimate try scorer!
15. Mike Brown – Not a bad kicker from full-back but his running is what makes him dangerous. Hard to tackle and always tends to get over the gain line to put his team on the front foot.
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