The British and Irish Lions take over a month of the summer every four years for many rugby fans, and that doesn’t take into consideration the months of speculation over squads, starting XVs, coaches, and everything else possible. But what if the shoe was on the other foot? What if there was a representative side for the Southern Hemisphere that toured Britain and Ireland every four years?
For the purposes of this exercise, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and the Pacific Islands are included. For the sake of debate, it is not just an All Black XV
Loosehead:Embed from Getty Images
The big ginger Bok has overtaken the Beast for the South African loosehead jersey. A great ball-carrier, and hard worker, he is a weapon at scrum time.
Hooker: Dane ColesEmbed from Getty Images
A tight contest here with Malcolm Marx, but the South African’s set-piece difficulties see him take a bench spot. He was out of the game a while, but is hitting his pre-injury form again.
Tighthead: Owen Franks.Embed from Getty Images
The All Black wont score many tries, but he won’t let you down at scrum time, and his work rate in the loose sees him take this spot ahead of Sekope Kepu, or their South African counterparts.
Lock: Brodie RetallickEmbed from Getty Images
A former world player of the year, his all round game is second to none. Astounding work rate and a quality lineout operator sees him get in ahead of Eben Etzebeth
Lock: Leone NakarawaEmbed from Getty Images
The Flying Fijian is astonishingly athletic for a second row. One of, if not the only lock in world rugby equally at home on the Sevens circuit. One of the best at offloading in the tackle in the game.
Blindside: Michael HooperEmbed from Getty Images
Normally on the other side of the scrum, he takes the 6 jersey in a new take on the Pocock-Hooper axis that dominated RWC 2015
Openside: David PocockEmbed from Getty Images
To many, he is the best in the world. After taking a year out, he is back with the Brumbies and Wallabies and doing what he does best.
Number 8: Ardie SaveaEmbed from Getty Images
Kieran Read may be one of the most skilful forwards ever to play the game, but he is getting older, and struggling for form. Ardie Savea on the other hand, has finally seemed to have cracked international rugby, transferring his dominant form for the Hurricanes to the world stage
Scrum-half: Aaron SmithEmbed from Getty Images
The only half-back duo in the world that rivals Murray and Sexton. Tight call between him and TJ, but form dictates the winner.
Out-half: Beauden BarrettEmbed from Getty Images
Maybe a better option at full-back after the emergence of Richie Mo’unga, but for this team you want all your best players on the field
Wing: Rieko IoaneEmbed from Getty Images
He’s the best winger in the world and that’s just that.
Inside Centre: Sonny Bill WilliamsEmbed from Getty Images
Prone to the odd brain fade, but he is a classy operator, rock solid defensively with a great offloading game to compliment his centre partner. SBW seems to be hitting a run of good form at exactly the right time for the All Blacks
Outside Centre: Tim Nanai-WilliamsEmbed from Getty Images
Sonny’s cousin, the Samoan is one of the most talented backs in the world, equally adept anywhere from 10-15. Running onto Sonny Bill’s offloads, Tim would do serious damage
Wing: Istrael FolauEmbed from Getty Images
Regardless of his personal views, Folau is one of the most complete athletes not just in rugby but in the world. An absolutely ridiculous aerial leap, wicked step, and searing pace; when he’s on, he is unplayable.
Full-Back: Damian McKenzieEmbed from Getty Images
There is quite simply nobody more exciting than the Chiefs’ little dynamo. You just never know what could happen when DMac sees a gap.
16. Malcolm Marx
17. Joe Moody
18. Sekope Kepu
19. Eben Etzebeth
20. Sam Cane
21. TJ Perenara
22. Jack Goodhue
23. Cheslin Kolbe
Munster Confirm Three New Signings
Munster Rugby and the IRFU are pleased to confirm the signing of Oli Jager from the Crusaders with the tighthead prop signing a contract until the summer of 2027.
Hooker Eoghan Clarke is rejoining Munster on a short-term contract with back three player Colm Hogan also returning on a short-term deal.
Jager will join the province in the coming weeks with his contract beginning at the start of December.
Born in London, Jager started out at Naas RFC before playing schools rugby at Newbridge College and Blackrock College. He lined out for the Ireland U18 Schools team in 2013 before moving to Canterbury in New Zealand at the age of 17.
Initially attending the Crusaders International High Performance Unit, he earned a place in the Crusaders Academy in 2014. After impressing with New Brighton RFC, he earned a place in the Canterbury squad for the Mitre 10 Cup in 2016.
Jager made his Super Rugby debut for the Crusaders in 2017 and has been a key member of their squad for the past seven years, winning seven consecutive Super Rugby titles.
Eoghan Clarke spent three years in the Munster Academy before departing for Jersey Reds in March 2021. A former Ireland U20 international, Clarke won the English Championship with Jersey Reds last season before the club went into liquidation last month.
Colm Hogan, who has lined out for Ireland U20 and Munster A in the past, played his schools rugby with Glenstal Abbey. He captained Dublin University in the AIL and also had a spell with Colomiers in the PRO D2 while studying in France.
The 26-year-old played for Leinster against Chile last year and lined out with recent Munster arrival Alex Nankivell for Tasman Mako in the NPC this year.
Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography
Key All Black announces sabbatical to play in Japan
All Blacks captain Sam Cane will take up a sabbatical option in his New Zealand Rugby (NZR) contract in 2024 to play a season for Suntory in Japan League One.
The 31-year-old, 95-Test loose forward will miss the 2024 DHL Super Rugby Pacific season with the Chiefs, but will return to New Zealand in June to be available for selection to the All Blacks for the 2024 Steinlager Series and Rugby Championship campaign.
Cane, who is contracted to NZR through to the end of 2025, said he was looking forward to experiencing a new playing environment with Suntory and learning more about a new culture in Japan.
“When the opportunity to play for Suntory in 2024 came up it felt like the right time following the Rugby World Cup to try something new and also a great chance to continue to grow and learn in my rugby and life journey. I’m grateful to New Zealand Rugby for their support to take this opportunity.
“It wasn’t an easy decision to skip a season with the Chiefs, but I know the team is in a great place and has an incredible group of leaders in the squad and the coaching group to have a successful 2024, and I’m really pleased to be able to return in time to put my best foot forward for selection in the All Blacks.”
NZR CEO Mark Robinson said:
“Sam’s decision to take a sabbatical in 2024 has our full support and we wish him and his family all the best for their time in Japan. There are very few players who have given as much as he has to the jerseys he’s worn in his career to date and it’s a mark of his commitment to the All Blacks that he will return and make himself available for the Test season.”
Gallagher Chiefs Head Coach Clayton McMillan said:
“Sam has given everything to this team on and off the field and deserves to take this opportunity to experience something different. He is an exceptional player and influential leader who has been an integral part of the Gallagher Chiefs for many years. We wish him and his family all the best and hope they enjoy their time in Japan after a full-on year.”
Key All Black commits to Gallagher Chiefs until 2025
Dominant loose forward Luke Jacobson has extended his contract with the Gallagher Chiefs, Waikato and New Zealand Rugby until the end of 2025.
The 18-test All Black was a consistent starter for the Gallagher Chiefs this year and a key element of their outstanding DHL Super Rugby Pacific performances. He consequently went on to be named in the All Blacks squad to travel to France.
Gallagher Chiefs head coach Clayton McMillan is delighted to have Jacobson sticking around for another two seasons.
“Luke is an outstanding player; he’s a workhorse, a consistent performer and considered a real warrior within our group. Luke leads by example both on and off the field. He isnt one to waste words and prefers to let his actions speak for themself. In the absence of some senior players who have moved on, I have no doubt Luke will play an integral part providing the leadership and guidance our younger players will be looking for”.
Jacobson has impressed throughout his career, playing for the New Zealand U20s team twice and captaining them in his second season to win the 2017 U20 World Championship title. This aptitude for leadership has seen him pull on the Gallagher Chiefs captain’s armband on multiple occasions.
Waikato Rugby head coach Ross Filipo is excited about Luke extending his career with Waikato. “He is a great man and a great leader who continues to make huge contributions on and off the field and always represents the region with pride.”
Speaking on his signing Jacobson said: “I’m stoked to signing on with the Waikato, Chiefs and NZR for another two years. I love representing these teams and am very proud to be able to call myself a Waikato/Chiefs man and also and All black. I’m hungry to succeed with these teams and tick off a few unticked boxes.”
The 2024 Gallagher Chiefs squad will be named later this year ahead of assembling for pre-season training.