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Dream Team: Bristol Bears and former All Black John Afoa

John Afoa

1 Mako Vunipola

Scrummaging has improved and the stuff he does around the field ticks all the boxes. Passing, tackling, running and the metres he makes are off the charts.

2 Keven Mealamu

Tough hooker who played the game hard. Started as a loose forward at Auckland so he always backed his footwork and made line-breaks.

3 Adam Jones

Far more skilful player than people gave him credit for. Great scrummager who could also play first receiver.

4 Johann Muller

This guy was a superstar during my time at Ulster. Did the basics really well and was the glue who held our side together when it got tough.

5 Ali Williams

Not the biggest lock but when I think of Ali he was a bit of a wild child who backed himself to do anything, even the kicking. Great character with loads of skills.

6 Stephen Ferris

Had a few bad injuries which was unfortunate but big Stevie was an amazing athlete. One of the biggest guys but could run like a back and was unstoppable.

7 George Smith

Bristol colleague who’s still got the razzle about him at 38. In his early days, his link play and ball-playing skills were ridiculous for a back rower – and still are!

8 Jerome Kaino

Went to school with Jerome and he was always a great player with bags of skill who was a fearsome prospect to tackle. Going strong with Toulouse.

9. Fourie du Preez

Won the World Cup in 2007 and was the heartbeat of the great Super Rugby-winning Bulls side of the Noughties. Big running threat, kicked well, great skills.

10 Carlos Spencer

Could have gone for Carter or Wilkinson but in the early 2000s Carlos really was ‘The King’. No one could touch him in training and he’d just rip sides to shreds.

Carlos Spencer
Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

11 Joe Rokocoko

Good friend who played so many Tests and scored so many great tries. One-on-one he had all the moves and was one of New Zealand’s most devastating finishers.

12 Isa Nacewa

We used to call him ‘Mr Fixit’ at the Blues because he could cover any position from 10 to 15 and be outstanding.

13 Juan Martin Hernandez

Had to get this guy in because he could do whatever he wanted on a rugby field. Balls out the back, no look passes, a monster boot – had the lot.

14 Rupeni Caucaunibuca

In my first year he was still around the Blues after helping them win Super Rugby in 2003. Legs the size of tree trunks, lightning pace and unstoppable.

15 Chris Latham

Huge left boot, tough bloke and used to make huge dents over the gain-line. I was a big fan of the Aussie back-line he was part of in the early Noughties.

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