DREAMTEAM

The Rugby Paper - - Views - ALEX CROCKETT, THE FOR­MER BATH AND NEW­CAS­TLE CEN­TRE, CHOOSES THE BEST XV HE HAS PLAYED WITH OR AGAINST...

1. David Flat­man – He would get you six or nine points per game just by talk­ing to the ref­eree and could talk his way out of any penal­ties against him, too. 2. Jonathan Humphreys – I’m sure he wouldn’t mind me say­ing he wasn’t at his phys­i­cal best when he came to Bath in the later part of his ca­reer but as a leader he was out­stand­ing.

3. Matt Stevens – Matt was very fast for a prop and a strong ball-car­rier. Strong at the scrum but could do things in the loose other props sim­ply couldn’t.

4. Steve Borthwick – He dom­i­nated the li­ne­out re­gard­less of who was throw­ing. His at­ten­tion to de­tails was amaz­ing to see and I’m not sur­prised he’s now gone into coach­ing.

5. Danny Grew­cock – He com­ple­mented Steve well in the en­gine room. He was an an­i­mal and peo­ple were just ter­ri­fied of him. Be­came a men­tor in terms of my coach­ing ca­reer, too.

6. Andy Beat­tie – He did a lot of the un­seen work at the break­down and that al­lowed other play­ers to flour­ish in the team. Ev­ery team need a guy like Andy to suc­ceed.

7. Michael Lip­man – He wouldn’t take a back­ward step. A good mix be­tween ball-car­ry­ing and tack­ling but also a good scavenger.

8. Isaac Fea’unati – He’d com­plete that back row and that pack per­fectly, burst­ing holes. His ball­car­ry­ing abil­i­ties were just un­be­liev­able. 9. Mar­tyn Wood – It was a tough call with Michael Claassens but Mar­tyn was bril­liant at gov­ern­ing his for­ward pack. He’d get ev­ery­body where he wanted them.

10. Butch James – I only played for a cou­ple of sea­sons with Mike Catt so Butch gets the nod here. A phys­i­cal fly-half who played so flat on the gain line. As a cen­tre he was a dream to put you into space. 11. James Simp­sonDaniel – He had out-and-out pace but I re­ally liked the way he set up tries for other peo­ple. So much so that I reckon he’s got more as­sists than tries over his ca­reer. 12. Tim Ho­ran – I played one of my first games against Saracens and he taught me a few lessons. No weak­nesses. 13. Brian O’Driscoll – Not the big­gest chap in the world but un­be­liev­ably hard to de­fend against. Great part­ner­ship with Gor­don D’Arcy and, just like a good back rower, im­pos­si­ble to get off the ball at the break­down.

14. An­drew Hig­gins – He was my house­mate but he was also a very good player. In­cred­i­bly strong and very in­tel­li­gent de­spite not get­ting the recog­ni­tion he de­served. He was fan­tas­tic. 15. Nick Aben­danon – Close one with Matt Perry but Nick is one of the best at­tack­ing full-backs around. He should def­i­nitely have had more caps be­fore go­ing to Cler­mont. On his day he’s un­stop­pable.

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