Mark Cueto: My Greatest XV

It has now been two decades since Italy joined the Guinness Six Nations and the Championship has provided countless memorable moments in that time.

It has now been two decades since Italy joined the Guinness Six Nations and the Championship has provided countless memorable moments in that time.

As we reflect on the past 20 years, we are asking some of the great players who have played a part to select their Greatest XV.

And today we have former England winger Mark Cueto, a player who donned the Red Rose jersey 55 times and played a crucial role in their Championship-winning campaign of 2011.

You can join in too on the Guinness Six Nations app where you can pick your own ultimate team and compare it to Cueto‘s Greatest XV below.

15. Jason Robinson (England)

Jason was certainly the most naturally gifted attacking player of my era, and could create something from absolutely nothing.

He was a solid performer, and I’ve never really seen him have a bad game – he was solid, safe under the high ball, brave and had a good defensive technique.

14. Paul Sackey (England)

I think Paul was massively underrated as a player – I played against him a lot at club level and he was just an all-round solid player.

He had bones made of concrete, raw pace and did all the basics really well, while he could also pull something from out of the bag when it was needed.

13. Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland)

Brian was an elusive player – he was really canny, an all-round unbelievable athlete and while he wasn’t renowned for being rapid, he was rapid and had an engine on him so could run all day.

He was so smart, and would see gaps and lines to cause chaos in opposition defences, so would be a dream to play outside.

12. Manu Tuilagi (England)

I’m a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to centres, and I want my No. 12 and No. 13 partnership to be a bit old-school.

Manu is just sheer destruction, who can get his No. 10 out of trouble if he needs to and bash up a few hard yards if you give him the ball.

11. Shane Williams (Wales)

You want your wingers to score tries, and from a try record point of view – particularly in the Guinness Six Nations – I don’t think there’s anyone who can come near Shane.

He’s got to be in my team purely for his try-scoring ability.

10. Jonny Wilkinson (England)

It’s difficult not to go with Jonny, but I’ve played with guys like Ronan O’Gara, Stephen Jones and Charlie Hodgson, who are all great players.

But Jonny would just train, and train and train and also brought in a new era for fly-halves defensively, and if there was ever a penalty or a drop goal anywhere on the field, he was the only man you’d want nudging it.

9. Dwayne Peel (Wales)

Richard Wigglesworth is one of my best mates and I’m good friends with Matt Dawson, but I’ve got to go with Dwayne as my No. 9.

He was in the heart of that Wales team when I played a lot of my rugby, and he’s everything you want from a scrum-half – a live wire, fantastic distribution, and also a threat around the ruck himself.

Andrew was an absolute beast – he pretty much beat Australia on his own in the 2007 Rugby World Cup quarter-final in Marseille.

He was one of the strongest men I’ve ever seen in the gym, so he’s got to be my loosehead prop.

2. Sébastien Bruno (France)

Sébastien was a bit of a powerhouse, while his line-out throwing was always on the money and he was a real pocket rocket.

His scrummaging was fantastic and he was also fit and agile – he was almost like another back, and perhaps should have even got more France caps than he ended up with.

3. Tadhg Furlong (Ireland)

Tadhg is an obvious one – he’s a mobile player and your classic, modern-day prop.

His set-piece ability is exceptional, around the park he’s capable of getting the odd turnover, while his fitness means he has the ability to play for 80 minutes.

4. Paul O’Connell (Ireland)

I know Dean Schofield very well, but it’s difficult to ignore Paul, whose international career overlapped a lot with mine.

He’s led the British & Irish Lions and was a real enforcer, and was a bit of a line-out technician too.

5. Alun Wyn Jones (Wales)

Unfortunately I never played with Alun, but I played against him a lot and he was unbelievable.

He has a fair bit of creativity around the park, and could carry the ball, offload it and also possessed great handling.

6. Jason White (Scotland)

I played a lot of rugby with Jason at Sale Sharks, and while he would be close with guys like Joe Worsley for my No. 6 spot, I’ve never seen anyone tackle like he did.

He was a bit of a silent assassin and defensively, in his prime, I don’t think there was anyone better in world rugby.

7. Lewis Moody (England)

Lewis was a mental bloke – if you were about to get run over by a bus, Lewis would get in front of you and take that hit first.

He’s just a crazy man, so I’d have to have him as my No. 7.

8. Lawrence Dallaglio (England)

This is a difficult one as I also played a lot of rugby with Sébastien Chabal at Sale, but I’d pick Lawrence purely for his longevity in the game.

He was a World Cup winner in 2003, has almost 100 Test caps and was a real leader, so I’d have to go with him as my No. 8.


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