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Dream Team: Coventry and former Northampton Saints forward Ben Nutley

Ben Nutley

Ben Nutley is gearing up for his second season at Butts Park Arena, after joining ambitious Coventry from Northampton Saints in 2018.

The former England Under-20s back row was part of the Saints side which lifted the Premiership in 2014. Here he picked a starting line-up to be reckoned with based on who he has played with and against.

1 Marcos Ayerza

In terms of scrummaging he was the best out there whether it was in the league, Europe or for Argentina. Not always legal but changed the way people scrummaged.

2 Schalk Brits

Stats were incredible and a league above anyone else’s. Can’t argue with his success and he was like having an extra back row, centre or full-back – could play anywhere.

3 Ethan Waller

A loosehead at heart but I have to have him because he’s one of the best props in the country. One of the most skilful fat blokes I played with, deserves an England chance.

4 Christian Day

The most underrated player but without him calling the shots Saints’ lineout would not have run as well as it did. Wonderful servant who was crucial to Saints’ success.

5 Courtney Lawes

World-class lock and top bloke. Went from strength-to-strength to represent England and the Lions and he’s just getting better with age and all of his experience.

6 Samu Manoa

Unknown when he arrived at Saints but went from laying concrete to destroying people, making breaks and winning a Premiership. One of the hardest hitters ever.

7 Steffon Armitage

Was one of my idols growing up with his ability over the ball and ability to play with it. Was always in England contention and an exceptional player I learnt a lot off.

8 Louis Picamoles

Only a short spell at Saints but the guy won games on his own and was world-class. People just bounced off him and his ability to offload was second to none.

Kahn Fotuali'i
Pace-setter: Samoa international Kahn Fotuali’i spent three seasons at Franklin’s Gardens. David Rogers/Getty Images

9 Kahn Fotuali’i

Any player who can control a game from No.9 is exceptional and he was like another back row with the tackles and turnovers he made. Everything was world-class.

10 Danny Cipriani

Off-field stuff has overshadowed some of his on-field stuff but he’s showed his best for Gloucester and he dominates games like he’s playing in schoolboy rugby.

11 Nemani Nadolo

Tackled him playing against Montpellier once and he still managed to offload for a try. Scores tries, kicks goals and for a big man he moves incredibly quickly.

12 Sam Tuitupou

Was a pleasure to play with him at Coventry because he’s one of the biggest tacklers ever. Top bloke on and off the field, you just don’t want him running at you!

13 George Pisi

In his prime was a crucial part of Northampton’s Premiership-winning team. Defensively always got things right and he had a good connection with his brother, Ken.

14 Andy Bulumakau

Coventry teammate who punches way, way above his weight. Quick, skilful and an exceptional player who’s really caught my eye since joining us last year.

15 James Wilson

Hugely underrated player who has a hell of a boot on him, is very skilful and can play anywhere across the back-line. Great team man off the field as well.

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