Sam Warburton has snubbed two All Black greats in his ‘best international team he’s faced’ XV.


The former Welsh backrow – who retired last year – named the team in his new autobiography – Open Side.

However, there was no room for two of New Zealand’s all-time greats, Dan Carter or Richie McCaw.

Instead Warburton plumped for David Pocock at 7, who he described as ‘the single hardest player I ever faced’.

Instead of Carter, he opted for England legend Jonny Wilkinson at flyhalf.

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“One of my all-time heroes. I wanted to be like him – I saw how hard he trained, and I modelled myself on that,” he wrote.


Both Carter and McCaw do make the subs bench, so shouldn’t feel too down-hearted, as both made the replacements bench.

Elsewhere in the team there was room for plenty of other New Zealanders – with nine of the final 23 having represented the land of long white cloud.

Warburton previously admitted to having an unwillingness to bow before All Black great McCaw, last year admitting he never wanted to swap jerseys with the New Zealander.

“I don’t want to give them, or give them the perception, that I’m giving them respect,” he said.


“If they want my shirt, they can ask me, but I’m not asking them for a shirt.

“I want to be this young guy who doesn’t care, who just wants to play and who just wants to knock his head off.”

Sam Warburton’s best international team he’s faced:

Israel Folau (Australia), Bryan Habana (South Africa), Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland), Ma’a Nonu (New Zealand), Julian Savea (New Zealand), Jonny Wilkinson (England), Will Genia (Australia), Kieran Read (New Zealand), David Pocock (Australia), Jerome Kaino (New Zealand), Sam Whitelock (New Zealand), Paul O’Connell (Ireland) (c), Carl Hayman (New Zealand), Bismarck du Plessis (South Africa), Andrew Sheridan (England).


Guilhem Guirado (France), Cian Healy (Ireland), Tadhg Furlong (Ireland), Maro Itoje (England), Richie McCaw (New Zealand), Aaron Smith (New Zealand), Dan Carter (New Zealand), Stuart Hogg (Scotland).


A changing room reminder about team values and expectations encourages the squad to train with consistency but mistakes start to creep in.

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