Jono Ross finds himself in some illustrious company in the back row department at Sale Sharks.
But there’s no novelty in that for the former Harlequins, Bulls, Saracens and Stade Francais no.8 now flanked by the Curry and du Preez brothers.
Here, the Sale captain picks at XV of the best of the best he has faced as an opponent or played alongside.
1 Joe Marler
We were in the Quins academy together and he’s a physical player, very good scrummager and high-quality around the field.
2 Bongi Mbonambi
We played at the Bulls together and it was brilliant to see him star in South Africa’s World Cup win. Destructive carrier and aggressive defender.
3 Rabah Slimani
The best scrummaging prop I’ve ever seen. Destroyed many scrums during my time at Stade Francais and has been a standout performer for France.
4 Victor Matfield
Probably the best lineout operator there’s ever been in South Africa and his leadership and understanding during my time at the Bulls was massive.
5 Brodie Retallick
Could you imagine him playing alongside Matfield? What a pairing that would be! One of the best in the world, hands like a back and he is physical.
6 Thierry Dusautoir
A really hard-tackling flanker with a high work-rate, I admired him hugely and he was one of the great leaders for France, especially at the 2011 World Cup.
7 Tom Curry
Massively physical defender, provides good cover over the ball and now one of the best 7s in the game, as he proved at the World Cup.
8 Sergio Parisse
At Stade Francais he was a massive ball carrier with huge leadership quality – almost an icon there.
9 Faf de Klerk
The energy he brings to a team is huge and how he can turn a game on its head with one flash of genius is incredible. Key to any team, we’re glad to have him at Sale.
10 Dan Carter
In my opinion, the best No.10 to play rugby. Achieved everything there is to achieve and beat my Stade Francais side single-handedly when he was at Racing 92.
11 Akona Ndungane
Extremely good under the high ball and his longevity at the Bulls is to be admired. Was part of the South Africa squad that won the 2007 World Cup.
12 Matt Giteau
Unbelievable player, so tough to play against and one of the most skilful I’ve seen. Helped turn Toulon into a very good team.
13 Geoffrey Doumayrou
Huge talent who often pulled a rabbit out a hat for Stade and helped us win games we probably shouldn’t have.
14 Waisea Nayacalevu
Genius winger and another unbelievable player who made something happen out of nothing. Destructive ball-carrier and great finisher.
15 Cheslin Kolbe
Had a wonderful World Cup and last year he stepped about ten of our Sale players in a Champions Cup match against Toulouse. One of the best in the world who has now reached his full potential.
Tagged Bulls, Jono Ross, Sale Sharks, Stade Francais
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