Leon Schusterâ€™s Dream XV
23 Mar 2006
In the last issue of SA Rugby magazine, our king of comedy picked his ultimate rugby team.
15 JPR Williams
He knew exactly when to join his famed backline, and he did so effortlessly. His skills were impeccable and he was superb under the high ball.
14 Jonah Lomu
Although he played on the left throughout his professional career, you just cannot leave Jonah out. He was both a trendsetter and a revolutionary, where he built the concept of a powerful wing able not only to run around but also run over his opposite number, as Mike Catt knows all to well.
13 Jeff Butterfield
I could not have chosen this superb centre without picking his fellow Lions around him. It was difficult to leave out my good friend and hero Danie Gerber, but once Butterfield received the ball, he could easily beat his man on the outside or make a gap appear for an inside runner from nothing. The Lions three-quarter backs of 1955 were a team within a team, and in combination with Cliffie Morgan and Tony Oâ€™Reilly, Butterfield exemplified the term lethal.
12 Mannetjies Roux
Though I played in the forwards my whole life, Mannetjies served as an inspiration because of his sheer guts and determination. He was a small man and probably would not have played international rugby today, but he always drove men twice his size back in the tackle. I watched almost all of his performances against the All Blacks, British Lions and France live. Letâ€™s not forget, he was unbelievably fast, with plenty of flair.
11 David Campese.
How windgat can a rugby player be to invent his own â€˜goose stepâ€™? Campese was arrogant, but supremely skilful. He was the complete wing and I will never forget his darting runs throughout the 1991 World Cup. He did have a defensive weakness and always needed a good klap to sort him out!
10 Cliff Morgan
Like Phil Bennett, his Lions successor, Morgan could send his line away before any of his flyhalf contemporaries. He had a ruthless sidestep and pure speed. I donâ€™t like kicking flyhalves, especially those from Blue Bull country, and Morgan was the perfect running general.
9 Gareth Edwards
You go ask any top scrumhalf who was the most complete scrumhalf of all time, and 99% of the time your answer will be Gareth Edwards. He had the longest pass of all time, and could find Bennett even when he was 30 yards away. Greatest of all his traits, Edwards could snipe through any gap around the fringes and was able to create massive space for his outside backs.
8 MornÃ© du Plessis (c)
The undisputed king of his era! This Vrystaat boytjie had all the talent to play any position on the field, but his crucial characteristic was leadership. My boet played under him at Stellenbosch University and said there was no better person in the world to lead the Springboks. Having Doc Craven mentor you through varsity speaks volumes about the respect MornÃ© commanded. He was, and still is, the perfect gentleman. Oh ja, that tackle on Naas was legal (and beautiful).
7 Jerry Collins
Brute strength, power and class. He is a ball-chaser with quality that supersedes Schalk Burger. I remember one Test, Schalk went in for the tackle and simply bounced off Collins. Such is the manâ€™s strength. He is unstoppable defensively and will win you the ball in any situation.
6 Martin Pelser
During one conversation I had with the legendary Frik du Preez, Pelser was described as the single player Frik would least like to go up against if the going got tough. He may not have had the modern touch of a Bob Skinstad, but Pelser could send you out of a game with a single, deadly tackle.
5 Frik du Preez
Frik was my gunstelling vaste voorspeler and he could run like a centre, kick and knock back any man.
4 Colin Meads
â€˜The Pinetreeâ€™ was an immovable force â€“ a true legend of the amateur era.
3 â€˜Mighty Mouseâ€™ Mclauchlan
He was the famous Lions prop who scrummed the hell out of the Boks in â€™74, when I watched every Test live. Strong as an ox, â€˜Mighty Mouseâ€™ drilled Hannes Marais and anyone else who forced a confrontation in the tight exchanges.
2 Gys Pitzer
As a hooker myself [Schuster represented Shimlas and the Free State Cheetahs], this position means a little more in terms of my selection. I regarded Pitzer as the king of the tight forwards. He epitomised the strong Blue Bull and was skilled. He, like the later champion Uli Schmidt, revolutionised the concept of a hooker as a fourth loose forward.
1 Chris Koch
He had a keen ball sense for a prop, which we seldom see even in todayâ€™s professional era. Koch was fast and powerful, and opposition players were full of fear and trepidation when running in his direction. He commanded respect not only for his try-scoring ability but also his supreme work rate.
- SA swimming star Ryk Neethling picks his Dream XV in the April issue of SA Rugby magazine, on sale Monday, 27 March.