Dream Team: Bedford Blues and former Northampton scrum-half Lee Dickson




1. Soane Tonga’uiha

Gentle giant. Carried, tackled and ran, but an absolute animal as well. Brilliant bloke who I once saw make an interception and almost go the length.

2. Dylan Hartley

Rugby-wise he leads from the front. Great captain who can’t do enough for you and expects a lot in return. Gets unfairlycriticised.

3. Carl Hayman

Multi-capped Kiwi whose scrummaging was on a different level. Came to Newcastle as a big name and took the club to a different level.

4. Courtney Lawes

Raw athlete who just used to hit people, but adapted his game and is now world-class. Great carrier and superb lineout man.

5.Victor Matfield

Played against him for England and he was always a big name that popped up in our analysis. Was the glue of a great Springbok pack alongside Bakkies Botha.

6. Samu Manoa

Came to Northampton as an American nobody but left us as a legend. Phenomenal athlete and what he could do in attack and defence was unique.

7. Willem Alberts

Big ball-carrying No.7 who was unreal. An absolute beast who pretty much ran over the entire England team on our three-match tour of South Africa in 2012.

Springbok: Willem Alberts (photo: Getty Images)

8. Louis Picamoles

He ran over me six times playing for France, so imagine how pleased I was when he joined Saints! Incredibly strong from a standing start and amazing sleight of hand.

9. Aaron Smith

Danny Care runs him close and both have great kicking and running games, but Smith’s buzz, bounce and ability to change a game just gives him the edge… for now!

10. Jonny Wilkinson

Hardest working bloke I ever met. I was a young, up-and-coming No.9 but his work ethic changed my career. For a 10 to hit as hard as he did was phenomenal.

11. Chris Ashton

The arch poacher was the fittest bloke I ever saw. Tracked the ball better than anyone and a brilliant finisher.

12. Owen Farrell

Came into an England camp aged 20 and ran the show straight away. Has led teams from an early age and is now one of the best players in the world.

13. Brian O’Driscoll

Pains me to say it, but tore Saints apart in the second-half of the 2011 Heineken Cup final. One of the true greats who changed the face of Irish rugby.

Demon: Brian O’Driscoll (photo: Getty Images)

14. George North

Different specimen of a wing who could run round you, over you or step you. Brings tremendous energy and has achieved so much for a young man.

15. Matt Burke

Class act who embodied everything good about rugby. Was always a shining light at Newcastle when it came to goal-kicking, tackling and our attack.

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