Who’s the strongest of them all?
In a world of blockbusting, gym-honed gladiators, who would make the most physically powerful XV in their respective positions?
And which XV out of the three sides would come out on top overall?
15. Israel Folau – (Australia) (1.93m, 102kg)
The genetically blessed Folau has it all: pace, skills and power. Scorer of 20 tries in 52 tests, he can glide through a gap but just as easily bump or brush off would-be tacklers.
He keeps out nuggety Scott Stuart Hogg, Frenchman Scott Spedding and Ireland’s Rob Kearney.
14. George North – (Wales) (1.94m, 109kg)
When George North’s game is on, he’s a fearsome weapon for Wales. Scorer of 32 tries in 72 matches for Wales, he blasts past Waisake Naholo (New Zealand) and Ireland’s Tommy Bowe.
13. Samu Kerevi (Australia) (1.86m, 105kg)
Kerevi has just one season of international rugby under his belt, but has made a real impact for the Wallabies with his ability to run around and mostly through and over players.
He recently steamrolled Jonathan Joseph of England and fellow Wallaby Tevita Kuridrani.
12. Manu Tuilagi (England) (1.85m, 110kg)
Unfortunately injuries and other misdemeanours have robbed fans of the thrill of watching Tuilagi fulfil his potential as an international player.
Part of the destructive five strong Tuilagi clan, Manu has scored eleven tries in 27 matches. He edges out Sonny Bill Williams of New Zealand and Ireland’s Robbie Henshaw.
11. Julian Savea (New Zealand) (1.92m, 108kg)
There’s some big competition for left wing, but ‘The Bus’ Julian Savea bumps off the other contenders, Nemani Nadolo (Fiji), Henry Speight (Australia) and Manuel Montero (Argentina).
Savea has scored an astounding 45 tries in 52 games for the All Blacks and will surely hold their try-scoring record before retiring ‘The Bus’ to the garage.
10. Tusiata Pisi (Samoa) (1.80m, 93kg)
Some real Samoan representation in this XV, and Tusi Pisi, as one of the bone-jarring Pisi brothers, provides power in a position not known for its grunt.
He edges Wales’ Dan Biggar and England’s Owen Farrell.
9. Conor Murray (Ireland) (1.88m, 95kg)
Murray’s instinct, size and strength near the tryline make him a lethal, world-class threat from scrum half.
Other scrum halves who mix power with zip include Gareth Davies (Wales) and TJ Perenara (New Zealand).
8. David Pocock (Australia) (1.84kg, 115kg)
A tricky position to select as the numerous contenders have different areas of strength. In the end David Pocock’s colossal strength in the breakdown winning turnovers is an invaluable quality, which carried the Wallabies to the World Cup final in 2015.
Other powerful contenders were Billy Vunipola (England), All Black captain Kieran Read, Italian legend Sergio Parisse, French butcher Louis Picamoles, Argentine prospect Facundo Isa and Georgian titan Mamuka Gorgodze.
7. Ardie Savea (New Zealand) (1.88m, 95kg)
Like big brother Julian, Ardie has enormous pace and power. Still relatively new to the international scene, he’ll be a star of the next World Cup.
Ireland’s combative Sean O’Brien, Wallaby Michael Hooper and Wales’ Sam Warburton were next in line.
6. CJ Stander (Ireland) (1.85m, 115kg)
Some fearsome contenders for blindside flanker in this power position. Ireland’s bullocking runner CJ Stander just edges All Black Jerome Kaino and Argentine Pablo Matera.
5. Maro Itoje (England) (1.98m, 116kg)
Lock is an England-dominated position with Itoje, Courtney Lawes, Joe Launchbury and George Kruis all powerful, athletic locks.
Sam Whitelock (New Zealand) and Pieter-Steph du Toit are other rugged strongmen in this position.
4. Brodie Retallick (New Zealand) (2.04m, 121kg)
Big Brodie features prominently in all three lists because he is simply that good. The aforementioned English locks are close behind, as is South African hardman Eben Etzebeth and the Scottish brothers Richie and Jonny Gray.
3. Tadhg Furlong (Ireland) (1.81m, 119kg)
Tadhg Furlong provided a huge 120kg headache for the All Blacks in Chicago last year, and he was part of the Irish scrum which stood up to the English challenge in the final Six Nations game. He outmuscles Wallaby Sekope Kepu and All Black regular Owen Franks.
2. Agustin Creevy (Argentina) (1.81m, 110kg)
Los Pumas captain Agustin Creevy mixes silky skills with brutal power and he outmuscles All Black dynamo Dane Coles and South Africa’s Adriaan Strauss for the rake position.
1. Mako Vunipola (England) (1.8m, 120kg)
Vunipola’s all round power ranks him ahead of All Black prop and former wrestler Joe Moody and beefy Argentine Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro.
Team count: Australia 3; England 3; Ireland 3; New Zealand 3; Argentina 1; Samoa 1; Wales 1.
Here are the three final teams. In a fantasy rugger match-up, who would come out on top?
Speed Flair/Skills Power
15.Israel Dagg (NZ) Ben Smith (NZ) Israel Folau (Aus)(Aus)
14.Jonny May (Eng) Nehe-Milner-Scudder (NZ) George North (Eng) (Wales)
13.Jonathan Joseph (Eng) Israel Folau (Aus) Samu Kerevi (Aus)
12.Wesley Fofana (France) Sonny Bill Williams (NZ) Manu Tuilagi (Eng) (Eng)
11.Antony Watson (Eng) Nemani Nadolo (Fiji) Julian Savea (NZ)
10.Beauden Barrett (NZ) Beauden Barrett (NZ) Tusi Pisi (Samoa)
9.Ben Youngs (Eng) Baptiste Serin (France) Conor Murray (Ire)
8.Facundo Isa (Arg) Sergio Parisse (Italy) David Pocock (Aus)
7.Ardie Savea (NZ) Justin Tipuric (Wales) Ardie Savea (NZ)
6.Liam Squire (NZ) Jerome Kaino (NZ) CJ Stander (Ire)
5.Joe Launchbury (Eng) Leone Nakarawa (Fiji) Maro Itoje (Eng)
4.Alun Wyn Jones (Wales) Brodie Retallick (NZ) Brodie Retallick (NZ)
3.Ramiro Herrera (Arg) Charlie Faumuina (NZ) Tadhg Furlong (Ire)
2.Dane Coles (NZ) Dane Coles (NZ) Agustin Creevy (Arg)
1. Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro (Arg) Mako Vunipola (Eng) Mako Vunipola (Eng)
Kaal Kaczmarek, Pundit Arena
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