Best of the rest: The greatest Lions of all-time

Ed Angeli

“If you get it right today, your lives will be different from this point on.”

— Sir Ian McGeechan

Being a British and Irish Lion is the pinnacle for a Northern Hemisphere rugby player; the ultimate honour, and reward to a player’s service to the game. As McGeechan said, winning a series puts you in the history books; changing your life forever.

The Lions is a unique squad for a number of reasons; mainly because those lucky enough to be selected usually resent one another, be it at international or domestic level.

This is why the cohesion and the togetherness of Lions’ squads over the years is so fascinating to observe. Intricacies on and off the field more┬áinteresting to follow than any other sporting team. And, over the years, some of Lions have got it absolutely bang on; the 1971 New Zealand, and 1974 South Africa winning series standing out over the Lions’ history more than any other.

It’s therefore no surprise that a lot of the players from those tours make the greatest Lions XV of all-time; who else joins the elite XV?

Noticeable mentions should go to the likes of Lawrence Dallaglio, Paul O’Connell and Gavin Hastings; the Northern Hemisphere may be regarded as being behind the Southern Hemisphere, but it’s produced some of the best players to grace the game.

Although this year’s touring team has started slowly, there is still enough quality in the side to test the All Blacks; however, only North is worthy of a slot in the greatest Lions team of all-time.

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