Written by Max Sharp
The Black Jersey has held an annual vote for an all-time All Blacks XV, the lineup is determined by our followers' votes on Instagram stories. Firstly, followers will be asked to vote on wether they wish to have 22 players or 23 players, a lock or loose forward in jersey number 19, then which kinds of backs they want to wear jerseys 22 and 23.
After the votes for front-rowers are collected, locks will be the next position followers will be able to vote for. As there is a lock on the left-hand side and another on the right-hand side of a scrum, I has the misfortune of having to pick a top-16 All Black lock list, for you to vote on!
* denotes that the player is still active at professional level.
Loosehead Lock Nominees:
Brad Thorn (2003-11), 59 test caps
Brodie Retallick (2012-21), 92 test caps*
Andy Haden (1977-85), 41 test caps
Murray Pierce (1985-89), 26 test caps
Patrick Tuipulotu (2014-21), 41 test caps*
Ian Jones (1990-99), 79 test caps
Chris Jack (2001-07), 67 test caps
Luke Romano (2012-17), 31 test caps*
Although locks are tight-five forwards, the position does tend to receive more attention from fans these days, Pierce and Haden are the only two nominees from the amateur era in the number 4 jersey. The raw power of Tuipulotu, Jack, Romano and Thorn has earned them their place on this list; Jack was the New Zealand Rugby Player of the Year in 2002. Although no longer playing in career-best form, Retallick was World Rugby Player of the year for 2014, while Ian Jones was the second-to-most capped All Black at the time of his retirement. Four of these eight nominees are World Cup winners, including Pierce, a winner from 1987.
Tighthead Lock Nominees:
Robin Brooke (1992-99), 62 test caps
Colin Meads (1957-71), 55 test caps
Gary Whetton (1981-91), 58 test caps
Anthony Boric (2008-11), 24 test caps
Scott Barrett (2016-21), 48 test caps*
Ali Williams (2002-12), 77 test caps
Norm Maxwell (1999-2004), 36 test caps
Sam Whitelock (2010-21), 132 test caps*
There's a lot to like about the nominees for the number 5 jersey. Norm Maxwell is a previous winner of the Tom French Memorial Trophy, Whetton was the All Black captain at the 1991 Rugby World Cup, while Brooke dominated the lineout throughout the 90's. Boric was much-admired by the female fans throughout his career and on the other end of the spectrum, Scott Barrett is easily the most physical player of his family. Then, Boric's fellow World Cup winners, Williams and Whitelock are some of the first names who come to mind when thinking of a modern, athletic lock. Last but not least, Colin Meads was the first All Black to reach 50 tests, a huge milestone; he was so good that there is still footage of him available to this day.
Make sure you click the link to The Black Jersey's Instagram page, on this website, this way you will be able to cast your own vote!