We pick our Su­per Rugby Dream XV.

THE LIONS GET TO DO IT EV­ERY FOUR YEARS – PICK THE BEST FROM FOUR NA­TIONS. SEEMED TO WORK FOR THEM SO WE HAVE GIVEN IT A TRY – SE­LECT­ING THE BEST OF THE BEST FROM THE AVAIL­ABLE SU­PER RUGBY TAL­ENT.

NZ Rugby World - - Contents -

15 IS­RAEL FO­LAU [Waratahs]

He’s had a sab­bat­i­cal, in which time he also got mar­ried. So he’s likely to be in a great head space, well rested and supremely con­di­tioned. That will make him su­per dan­ger­ous and when this guy is in the mood, the re­sults are dev­as­tat­ing.

14 BEN SMITH [High­landers]

He prefers full­back and will play there for the High­landers. But he’s just as good on the wing and for the pur­poses of this Dream Team we want him and Fo­lau in tan­dem.

Smith is an all-round foot­baller who, like Fo­lau, is com­ing back af­ter an ex­tended break and is ex­pected to be in great shape. We all know what he can do.

13 JACK GOOD­HUE [Cru­saders]

We like Jack Good­hue. He’s a mea­sured, smart player who is ac­cu­rate and dogged. He doesn’t over­play his hand, he doesn’t un­der­play it ei­ther and he didn’t get enough credit last year for straight­en­ing the Cru­saders’ at­tack.

12 NGANI LAUMAPE [Hur­ri­canes]

This was a three-way choice be­tween Kurt­ley Beale, Sonny Bill Williams and Ngani Laumape. We have gone with the lat­ter on the ba­sis that last year he scored 15 tries and, at this level, he’s quite lethal.

There isn’t much sub­tlety to his game but so what – he’s pretty ef­fec­tive at storm­ing over the gain­line and us­ing his enor­mous power to blast over the top of de­fend­ers.

11 RIEKO IOANE [Blues]

He wants to play cen­tre and we know he’s good at it, but we pre­fer Rieko Ioane on the wing where he can bet­ter use his pace, can pop up in un­ex­pected places and he can be un­leashed from deep.

All we re­ally know is that you would look ridicu­lously stupid if you didn’t have him in your team some­where. Our game­plan is to sim­ply give him the ball.

10 BEAU­DEN BAR­RETT [Hur­ri­canes]

There can only be one player to wear the No 10 shirt. Beau­den Bar­rett is head and shoul­ders the best first-five in the com­pe­ti­tion. He brings all the core skills, but he also brings an in­cred­i­ble abil­ity to pull off mir­a­cles.

His pace is dev­as­tat­ing at this level where there is a bit more space and he’ll launch a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of ef­fec­tive counter-at­tacks from all over the field.

9 AARON SMITH [High­landers]

Just as there was an ob­vi­ous choice at No 10, so too was it an easy se­lec­tion at half­back. Aaron Smith brings ev­ery­thing to the game.

His pass­ing is at the heart of his game but his kick­ing has in­creas­ingly been a weapon.

Smith’s tac­ti­cal con­trol and abil­ity to ig­nite those around him is out­stand­ing.

8 DAVID PO­COCK [Brumbies]

Bit of a strange one this as David Po­cock isn’t re­ally a No 8 de­spite the fact he’s played a num­ber of tests there. We will sac­ri­fice height at the li­ne­out to have Po­cock’s strength over the ball.

Look at the back­line – if Po­cock can win turnover ball imag­ine the car­nage that could en­sue.

7 KWAGGA SMITH [Lions]

There were plenty of can­di­dates for the open­side role in the Dream XV. Sam Cane and Ardie Savea were two, Matt Todd an­other and so too Michael Hooper and David Po­cock.

But we have given the job to Kwagga Smith whose en­ergy and never say die at­ti­tude swung him the se­lec­tion. He’s a No 7 who gets into ev­ery­thing and we find that im­pos­si­ble not to like.

6 PABLO MATERA [Jaguares]

We want real starch and pres­ence in our No 6 and no­body gives more of that than Pablo Matera. There is a real quiet hard­man sense about him that in­tim­i­dates.

He has an edge, a de­sire to im­pose him­self and he loves noth­ing more than a bit of post­tackle scuf­fling. Wins li­ne­out ball, makes tack­les and pinches the odd turnover, too.

5 SAM WHITE­LOCK [Cru­saders]

There’s no get­ting past the fact that Sam White­lock has to be in this Dream XV. He does ev­ery­thing – wins kick­offs and li­ne­outs, cleans out, tack­les, car­ries and these days he in­spires with his lead­er­ship.

Big Sam was such a prom­i­nent fea­ture of last year’s suc­cess­ful cam­paign that it is hard to imag­ine the Cru­saders could be the same team with­out him.

4 BRODIE RETALLICK [Chiefs]

If White­lock is the fish, then Brodie Retallick is the chips. These two are in­di­vid­u­ally bril­liant but col­lec­tively even bet­ter again.

Retallick has had an ex­tended break and will be fizzing to play. And we can only imag­ine what he’ll be like with a bit of pent-up en­ergy to re­lease. Does any­one carry the ball bet­ter up the mid­dle of the field?

3 OFA TU’UNGAFASI [Blues]

In­ter­est­ing choice this one but jus­ti­fied. Around the field Tu’ungafasi is a big con­trib­u­tor. He tack­les like a loose for­ward. Se­ri­ously, he’s ag­ile and ex­plo­sive and when he launches him­self at peo­ple, he re­ally hurts them.

He also car­ries well, can pass and catch – al­though he does need to tighten the ac­cu­racy – and he can scrum­mage.

2 DANE COLES [Hur­ri­canes]

This was a toss up be­tween Coles and Mal­colm Marx. Coles wins the se­lec­tion be­cause we feel he’s got more vari­a­tion in his game and a touch of un­pre­dictabil­ity.

Coles is also a strong leader and doesn’t much en­joy ever com­ing off se­cond in any­thing.

1 JOE MOODY [Cru­saders]

Easy choice this one be­cause Joe Moody has shown him­self to be quite the dy­namic force. The man has sur­pris­ing pace and he can get about the field.

In­creas­ingly he’s con­tribut­ing away from the set piece and we know he can off­load and do all sorts of other fancy pants things.

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