Dream Team: Leicester Tigers centre Matt Smith




1. Marcos Ayerza – Consistently one of the best in the world for the last ten years. A true gentleman of the game who represented club and country with huge pride.

2. Tom Youngs – I played at centre with him and how he turned himself into a Lions hooker was truly inspirational. Never a backward step taken with the team’s interests always put first.

3. Dan Cole – Unbelievable work-rate for a tight-head prop, truly world class. It’s a shame he’s dull as dishwater off the field and he really needs to smile more.

4. Louis Deacon – First name on the team sheet. Always put you at ease when you looked over and saw him running out with you.

5. Tom Croft – Had to get him in somehow and I know how much he dislikes pushing in the row. On his day one of the best lineout forwards in the world and had pace to burn. Such a shame he’s had to retire early.

6. Craig Newby – Great over the ball, around the park, 100 per cent in everything he did. Could have played in the backs and indeed he did in one European game.

7. Lewis Moody – One of England’s great opensides. Fearless, with absolutely no respect for his personal safety. Went to a decent school (Oakham) as well!

8. Martin Corry – My first Leicester captain so he was always going to make an impression. Made ball carrying look very easy and great at getting the best out of his players.

9. Ben Youngs – Been the barometer of the Leicester team for years. When he plays well the team generally wins.

10. Dan Carter – The ultimate fly-half. One of those who always has time on the ball and with decision-making skills people can only dream of.

11. Vereniki Goneva – The closest player I have seen to being unplayable. Pace and power with ball skills to match. Makes very good defenders look extremely ordinary.

12. Anthony Allen – I played with Pat Howard and Aaron Mauger but this guy’s sheer class edges it. Should have got 50 caps, made the whole team better and everyone else’s job easier.

13. Manu Tuilagi – Very glad he plays at Leicester and it will be great to see him have a long run of games. The most destructive player I have seen with ball in hand and defensively not someone you want to be running at.

14. Alesana Tuilagi – Lightning quick with unbelievable ball skills and as destructive as Manu with ball in hand. One of the best finishers I have seen, from anywhere on the pitch.

15. Geordan Murphy – The most skilful player I have come across by some distance. Changed the outcome of a game single handedly on many, many occasions.

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