With the league done and dusted, and the playoffs to come, the All Out Rugby team debate which pack monsters were the greatest in Super Rugby history!
The NZ Herald used the Elo rating system – designed to measure the relative merits of chess masters – to name the unbeaten 2002 Crusaders as the greatest Super Rugby team to walk the planet.
Their pack looked like this: 8 Scott Robertson, 7 Richie McCaw, 6 Reuben Thorne (c), 5 Chris Jack, 4 Norm Maxwell, 3 Greg Feek, 2 Mark Hammett, 1 Greg Somerville.
Job done? Perhaps not so fast. A real team may indeed be about making the whole greater than the sum of the parts, but we have the opportunity to just look at the parts, and NOT make it work as a whole!
So my GOAT Super Rugby pack is …
Front row: Beast Mtawarira, Bismarck du Plessis, Carl Hayman
Locks: John Eales, Victor Matfield
Back row: Richie McCaw, Jerry Collins, Kieran Read
Leaving out the Franks brothers seems criminal. They ate scrums (and squat machines) for breakfast for the Saders, but as individuals, Mtawarira and Hayman had more of an impact on the game. And together with Du Plessis, this front row on their own could take on most packs!
Which would be key, given the athletic lock pairing I have gone with. This in honour of their out and out domination come lineout and kick receipt time.
McCaw owns the open side spot as the ideal fetcher. In Collins I have gone with a proper thumper with ball in hand, while Read balances the trio perfectly as a ball carrying link man who offers plenty as a lineout option.
In essence, I went with players who would be used in a rugby dictionary to define the number on their backs.
Close but no cigar: Keven Mealamu, Dane Coles, Wyatt Crockett, Ben Franks, Owen Franks, Olo Brown, Chris Jack, Ali Williams, Bakkies Botha, Michael Jones, George Smith, Liam Messam, Duane Vermeulen, Bob Skinstad, Zinzan Brooke.
CLICK HERE to see the pack that Zelim Nel picked …