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‘He’s freakish’: The Dallaglio vs Vunipola Immortals XV verdict

By Liam Heagney
(Graphic by BT Sport)

Eleven Gallagher Premiership players have had their say on whether Billy Vunipola or Lawrence Dallaglio should be selected on the BT Sport Immortals XV team. The sports broadcaster has been getting fans to select their Immortals XV before the selection culminates in a round-table debate show on May 27 featuring Ugo Monye, Dallaglio, Ben Kay and Austin Healey.


Marcos Ayerza, Schalk Brits, Martin Castrogiovanni, Maro Itoje, Martin Johnson, Joe Worsley and Neil Back have all topped fan polls in recent days and with a vote for the No8 position currently taking place online, BT Sport have now added the views of numerous high profile current players to the past versus present debate.

Saracens’ Jamie George, who came second to Brits in the vote at hooker, said: “Vunipola. Dallalgio was obviously an unbelievable player who won a lot, but so has Billy. He is just an all-round package – I don’t think there are many better.”

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Dallaglio vs Vunipola – Who is the greatest Number 8 in Premiership rugby history?
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Dallaglio vs Vunipola – Who is the greatest Number 8 in Premiership rugby history?

Bath’s Charlie Ewels, who is currently in South Africa chasing match fitness with the Currie Cup Bulls, added: “Just because I played with him, I would go with Billy. I have watched Lawrence and watched him dominate as he did, but I played with Billy and have seen it first-hand. I felt it.”

Sale No10 George Ford reckoned specialist No8 Vunipola even has the skills to play in the back line. “Vunipola. I just think the impact Billy has on the game, especially against the packs and the players he plays against these days who are as big and as powerful as him, his consistency in the way he does it. With Billy’s skillset, he could be a back as well, so he is the best of ball players really.”

Harlequins’ scrum-half Danny Care was conflicted by having to choose between Vunipola and Dallaglio. “It’s so hard, so hard,” he pleaded. “The game is different. I don’t think I can split them. Both of them are incredible and were incredible in their time. Playing together, that would be a hell of a back row.”

Final thoughts to Alex Goode, the Saracens full-back. “With the way the game has gone, for Billy to do what he has done, not just the pure physicality but how many carries he makes and then ball playing off the back of that and how he had developed, he is freakish.


“If you ask any teams we play, they mention that when Billy is not playing the relief… he is a difference-maker. I’m a bit biased. Both are world-class but I can’t sit on the fence, so I am going to go prime Billy Vunipola because of how he has taken his game to another level.”

  • BT Sport’s Premiership Immortals celebrates the greatest players in the history of Premiership Rugby. From May 4 until the Premiership final on May 27, fans will be able to have their say on who they think deserves to have a spot in the competition’s all-time team. Cast your vote


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