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Only one non-All Black or Springbok named in fan-voted all-time XV

By Sam Smith
Georgia's Mamuka Gorgodze leaves the Test rugby field one last time in Japan (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

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In a team dominated by All Blacks and Springboks icons, you could be excused for raising an eyebrow to see the only non-New Zealand or South African player in the RugbyPass Hall of Fame Fan 1st XV hails from Georgia.

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However, that is exactly how things have transpired since the launch of the RugbyPass Hall of Fame, home to the greatest rugby players of all-time, two weeks ago.

The RugbyPass Hall of Fame acknowledges the outstanding efforts of the trailblazers from the amateur era through to the global stars who light up the sport to this day, with only those with the most votes in each position making the Fan 1st XV, a team made up of only the best players ever to have played rugby.

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As things stand, the best players to have graced the game from New Zealand and South Africa have largely dominated the make-up of the Fan 1st XV.

Three Springboks and four All Blacks have been included in the forward pack, while Kiwi stars Aaron Smith and Dan Carter currently occupy the halves positions, with the rest of the backline available to vote for from next week onwards.

As such, the duopoly of New Zealand and South African talent is clear to see as the fans continue to flock to the polls, but one player stands out from the rest of his teammates in the composite XV.

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That player is Georgian rugby great Mamuka Gorgodze, widely-regarded as the best player to have ever played for The Lelos, who has been voted into the RugbyPass Hall of Fame Fan 1st XV at No 8.

Not only has he been voted into the team alongside some of rugby’s greatest names, but he has dominated the polls to the point where he now stands as the most-voted for player in the entire Hall of Fame with 1508 votes, at the time of writing.

That figure more than triples the number of votes second-ranked No 8, current Springboks star Duane Vermeulen, has received, and has almost 100 more votes than what two-time World Cup-winning All Blacks captain Richie McCaw has attained.

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By reaching pole position in the No 8 slot, Gorgodze – who enjoyed a 75-test career with Georgia between 2003 and 2019 and attended four World Cups before retiring two years ago – has out-voted an array of rugby greats.

That includes World Cup-winners such as Vermeulen, Zinzan Brooke, Kieran Read, Lawrence Dallaglio, Sir Wayne Shelford and Bobby Skinstad, as well as former Italian captain Sergio Parisse and French cult hero Sebastien Chabal.

With the current number of votes, Gorgodze joins an all-star forward pack comprised of Os du Randt, Sean Fitzpatrick, Owen Franks, Eben Etzebeth, Victor Matfield, Jerome Kaino and McCaw.

The door remains open for other players to become RugbyPass Hall of Famers, so register now to have your say and vote for your favourite inductee in the Fan 1st XV.

Current RugbyPass Hall of Fame Fan 1st XV

1. Os du Randt (South Africa, 1994-2007)
2. Sean Fitzpatrick (New Zealand, 1986-1997)
3. Owen Franks (New Zealand, 2009-2019)
4. Eben Etzebeth (South Africa, 2012-present)
5. Victor Matfield (South Africa, 2001-2015)
6. Jerome Kaino (New Zealand, 2004-2017)
7. Richie McCaw (New Zealand, 2001-2015)
8. Mamuka Gorgodze (Georgia, 2003-2019)
9. Aaron Smith (New Zealand, 2012-present)
10. Dan Carter (New Zealand, 2003-2015)
11. Induction 13.12.20221
12. Induction 14.12.2021
13. Induction 15.12.2021
14. Induction 16.12.2021
15. Induction 17.12.2021

Coach: 20.12.2021
Referee: 21.12.2021
Stadium: 22.12.2021

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