Former Wales & Lions Captain Sam Warburton Picks The Best XV He Played Against

Best of the best.

Former Wales and Lions captain Sam Warburton has had a go at picking an XV of the best players he has ever played against in his new book ‘Openside’ – and it’s one hell of a team.

Two Irishmen make the cut with Brian O’Driscoll named at 13 and Paul O’Connell named in the second-row. The former Munster and Ireland lock is also listed as Warburton’s captain.

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Elsewhere he’s gone with Jonny Wilkinson at 10 over Dan Carter who has to settle for a spot on the bench. Warburton says the Englishman is one of his “all-time heroes.”

“One of my all-time heroes. I wanted to be like him – I saw how hard he trained, and I modelled myself on that.” Warburton wrote.

His decision to leave Carter and Richie McCaw has caused a bit of a stir in New Zealand, with Stuff claiming Warburton “snubbed” the legendary All Blacks pair.

Plenty of All Blacks make his team though with Ma’a Nonu, Julian Savea, Carl Hayman, Sam Whitelock, Jerome Kaino and Kieran Read all in his starting XV.

Sam Warburton’s best international team he’s faced:

15. Israel Folau (Australia)
14. Bryan Habana (South Africa)
13. Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland)
12. Ma’a Nonu (New Zealand)
11. Julian Savea (New Zealand)
10. Jonny Wilkinson (England)
9. Will Genia (Australia)

1. Andrew Sheridan (England)
2. Bismarck du Plessis (South Africa)
3. Carl Hayman (New Zealand)
4. Paul O’Connell (Ireland) (c)
5. Sam Whitelock (New Zealand)
6. Jerome Kaino (New Zealand)
7. David Pocock (Australia)
8. Kieran Read (New Zealand)

Replacements: Guilhem Guirado (France), Cian Healy (Ireland), Tadhg Furlong (Ireland), Maro Itoje (England), Richie McCaw (New Zealand), Aaron Smith (New Zealand), Dan Carter (New Zealand), Stuart Hogg (Scotland).