The ‘Greatest Amateur XV’ as voted by the public

The Greatest Amateur XV as voted by the public
Sport, Rugby Union, Five Nations Championships, Paris, France, 27th March 1971, France 5 v Wales 9, JPR Williams of Wales evades a tackle from France's Roger Bourgarel during the match at the Colombes Stadium (Photo by Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images)

The public voted in our polls for the greatest amateur XV side and the results are in! From one to fifteen, and reserves in every shirt, Robert Rees takes you through the team that you voted for.

The final count: Greatest amateur XV

1. Os du Randt

Despite playing a large chunk of his career, domestic and international, post ’96, when professionalism entered the game du Randt was a destructive scrummager, who’d fearlessly take on any man who opposed him.

His boxy frame was enough to elevate South Africa to the 1995 World Cup and he pushed on from there.

RESERVE: Fran Cotton

2. Sean Fitzpatrick

A favourite of Auckland before the game turned pro, Fitzpatrick seals his spot at the best starting hooker of the amateur era for his work as the centre of the All Blacks pack for over a decade.

A runner-up in 1995, one of du Randt’s front row opposition, Fitzpatrick proudly led his nation for five years before retiring, ’95 being one of the highlights despite the painful loss to a Joel Stransky drop goal in extra time.

RESERVE: Bobby Windsor

3. Graham Price

The sole player from the ‘Pontypool Front Row’ triad to make a starting jersey in this list, alongside Charlie Faulkner and Bobby Windsor he helped dominate rugby in Wales both on a domestic and international level throughout the 1970s and ’80s.

Capped for the British and Irish Lions on 12 occasions, Price is known as one of the best props in rugby history.

RESERVE: Jason Leonard (could play both sides)

4. Martin Johnson

Johnson most famously lifted the Webb-Ellis trophy above his head in 2003, but held a glittering career at Leicester way before his World Cup triumph with England. A supreme leader, the totemic front man of the Tigers pack throughout the ’90s led Tigers to Courage league’s, Pilkington Cup’s and England’s Grand Slam in 1995.

His leadership qualities shone through and his gritted determination gave Leicester one of their most successful periods in history.

RESERVE: John Eales

5. WJ McBride

An all-time Ireland great, McBride featured on five separate Lions tours, including the extremely successful 1974 tour of South Africa. He captained his country on 11 occasions and was a magnet for the ball at the set piece.

He scored his one and only test try in his final outing for Ireland against France at Landsdowne Road and is attributed to bringing the aggression to the ‘Boks on the ’74 tour.

RESERVE: Colin Meads

6. Mike Teague

The Kingsholm legend, who could played at blindside or eight, made his name in the late ’80s, into the 1990s. Capped for both England the Lions, touring with the latter to both Australia and New Zealand.

His rugged style ensured no breakdown was left unturned when it came to hunting down the ball, matched with uncompromising power when he took the ball in hand.

RESERVE: Graham Mourie

7. Michael Jones

Born and raised in Auckland there was never any doubt in who his provincial team would be. Capped once for Samoa and 55 times for the All Blacks Jones was a relatively big flanker by the standards of the 1990s.

His powerful stature, and brickhouse frame claiming many a vital turnover for his side who could rely on a grimace-making tackle whenever he was near the ball. Now Sir Michael Jones, he is honoured with a statue outside his famed Auckland NPC ground, Eden Park.

RESERVE: Francois Pienaar

8. Zinzan Brooke

Another All Black from the crop that came so close in 1995, Brooke personified a hard-nosed ball carrier, who’d carry through, or around you. Staring down Brooke on game day was like staring down a thousand raging bulls.

His agile attributes and kicking ability made him one of the most dangerous players to walk the earth and he managed to slot over three drop goals in his career.

RESERVE: Mervyn Davies

9. Gareth Edwards

With nearly 200 appearances for Cardiff throughout the 1960s and ’70s, Sir Gareth Edwards is rugby royalty in Wales. Notching up 53 caps for Wales alongside 10 for the Lions his greatness has been recognised in several polls down the years.

He could pick a pass out and had the vision of a player playing well before his time. He was boosted by playing alongside the two fly halves who feature in our team.

RESERVE: Joost van der Westhuizen

10. Barry John

Barry John had the privilege of playing for both Cardiff and Llanelli in his prime, both of whom were the leading clubs back in the day along with Newport and Swansea. Paired up with Gareth Edwards made for a silky and often untouchable duo.

His running lines were sublime and wouldn’t go amiss in modern HD colour, partnered with some of his blissful interlink play and kicking have given John his spot in our team.

RESERVE: Phil Bennett

11. David Campese

With 64 tries in 101 tests, Campese held the record for most test tries until Brian Habana came on the scene around a decade or so later. Spending the majority of his domestic career at Randwick and New South Wales, Campese soon found his eye for the whitewash.

Despite overcoming several niggling injuries throughout the 1987 World Cup the Aussie winger never reached his full potential in the tournament, but nevertheless, looked a potent threat.

RESERVE: Gerald Davies

12. Philippe Sella

Ok, I can hear fans screaming at me now. “HE WAS AN OUTSIDE CENTRE!” Hear me out. Sella did manage to play inside throughout his career, but was most prolific at outside, thus where he made his name.

A powerful, yet agile runner, Sella marked up 111 tests for France. In 1999 he was inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame, such was his impact on the game.

RESERVE: Mike Gibson

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13. Jeremy Guscott

The former Bath, England and Lions centre was always a dangerous weapon for any side to have in their arsenal. Notching up over 850 points for his three team, Guscott burst on to the scene with a hat-trick on his debut.

With a smooth running style and deadly finishing Guscott takes the 13th spot in our side, and was also recognized by World Rugby, who inducted him into their Hall of Fame in 2016.

RESERVE: Danie Gerber

14. Jonah Lomu

Perhaps the most recognizable face in all of world rugby. Despite playing a large chunk of his career after the ’96 cut-off, Lomu fires his way into the side with his brute strength, awesome firepower and intelligent rugby brain.

Thrust upon the international World Cup scene in 1995, he fired in seven tries in just five matches and was unfortunate to not end up on the winning side. A true icon of the game, he’s even had Playstation base a game around him.

RESERVE: Rory Underwood

15. JPR Williams

Many a fine full-back has adorned the three white feathers on the Welsh jersey, none better than ‘The Surgeon’. With his trademark sideburns and thrusting assertion in attack, Williams (see main photo) made over 50 appearances for Wales, capped eight times by the British Lions, and was admired by his opponents as much as by his fans.

He chose not to travel on the 1977 Lions tour due to medical grounds and retired four years later. In 1997, the IRB [World Rugby] inducted him into their Hall of Fame.

RESERVE: Serge Blanco

 

“Main photo credit”

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