1. Cian Healy – British & Irish Lion who’s been top of the game for a while and part of an awesome Leinster front row. Developed into one of the best loose-heads in the world.
2. Rory Best – Irish captain and great leader. He was a big talker in the Ulster team when we played them. He’s got a really good throw, is good around the field and very durable.
3. Tomas Francis – Played with and against Tom and his development over the last five years is through the roof. Fantastic tight-head who gets through a lot of work for a big guy.
4. Brad Thorn – Played against him once when he was 40 and to get to that age playing
pro rugby is a feat in itself. Awesome player who I watched through Rugby League into Union.
5. Dean Mumm – Awesome leader who spoke really well and you’d always want him out there. Not the biggest second row but really got his frame about and was deceptively quick.
6. Dave Ewers – Big ball carrier, big hitter, big work-rate – should be capped by England. Creates momentum in defence and attack and a player I’m happy not playing against! 7. Hugh Perrett – My captain at Eastwood, Australia, and the most fantastic back row I’ve ever met. Rapid, built like an outhouse and a great leader for a young guy coming through. 8. Billy Vunipola – Hard man to stop and the way he throws himself about and
attacks for a man of his size, he’s almost impossible to put down. Will win many more England caps.
9. Morgan Parra – I’ve played against Clermont four times and he’s never had a bad game. Controls his team, talks well and really leads from the front as a captain. I respect that.
10. Johnny Sexton – B&I Lion, world player of the year, top of his game and pulls the strings for Leinster and Ireland. You’re in awe of what he’s achieved and the way he plays.
11. Nemani Nadolo – Big, ballcarrying wing who’s rapidly fast and has the size to bump anyone off and finish. Kicks goals as well – what more do you want from a winger?
12. Kurtley Beale - Skill-set is
second to none and another great talker who can lead a side around. Not afraid to put in shots and a great all-rounder in attack and defence.
13. Manu Tuilagi – Size, pace, loves carrying into contact… just what you want from your outside-centre. Very physical, puts in massive hits in defence and attack.
14. Jack Nowell – Never seen a player like him who always beats the first defender, which gives backs great running opportunities and the forwards those extra few metres.
15. Rob Kearney – Great under the high ball and pace to burn in the outside channels. Solid full-back who commands back field and alarm bells ring when he gets the ball.