But needs must at this time as the national sport closes down and minds drif' />

Picking any "best of " sides is subjective and a passport to debate.

But needs must at this time as the national sport closes down and minds drift back through 2010 recalling teams, players and special moments and comparing them to the rest of the decade.

Wheeling out an All Black side of the decade was done, now there were questions about how they would fare against the best of the rest. Who were those bods? Drum roll please.

Flicking through the international memory banks is not quite as easy as recalling those who have worn the black jersey with distinction in the last decade. You think of world greats like John Eales but remember he pulled the international pin in 2001. There are others, too, but here goes.

Leading the charge from the back will be Wallaby fullback Chris Latham. Unconventional, slightly flaky on defence maybe but he had tons of skill, lots of pace and a strong kicking game to beat out the claims of Jason Robinson, Percy Montgomery and Ignacio Corleto.

The Chiropractor slips on to the right flank. He went to five World Cups, was a devastating tackler while also being a rugged attacker. For those who have forgotten he was Brian Lima, the quiet Samoan who made such a noise on the international stage when his side got a chance to play.

On the other wing is another silent assassin, Rupeni Caucaunibuca. A wasted talent really, a freak of nature who fired and fizzled after seven tests for Fiji while producing a couple of years of unrepeatable brilliance for the Blues. An extraordinary watch who beats out the intercept specialist Bryan Habana and Shane Williams.

We need brilliance, power and stability in the middle of the park and Brian O'Driscoll and Jean de Villiers are going to provide that mix. Two fine athletes of high skill and sustained quality who ease ahead of Stirling Mortlock and Yannick Jauzion.

Wearing the all-important No 10 jersey is Jonny Wilkinson, a bloke whose style may not have always sat comfortably with Kiwis but who ran England exceptionally through their 2003 World Cup triumph and beyond. Reliable, tough, a sharp organiser and a points machine. No contest.

Not quite so easy at halfback with contenders such as the world's most capped player George Gregan and the Pumas' feisty Agustin Pichot, who led their countries with such distinction.

But for control and influence, aside from his classy all-round skills, the selection wand has touched Fourie Du Preez. He has been a massive part of the Springbok success and his injury absence this season left a huge hole in their effectiveness.

Looseforwards offer an array of talent. You could take a combo like Lawrence Dallaglio, Richard Hill and Neil Back who were so potent for England, a Bok trio like Pierre Spies, Schalk Burger and Juan Smit, or Sebastien Chabal, Serge Betsen and Olivier Magne from France. All of them world class.

My preference is for the leadership quality, power and abrasion from Italian No 8 Sergio Parisse, the unflappable courage and accuracy of George Smith on the openside and the heat Hill generated on defence combined with his massive engine.

World Cup winner Martin Johnson scowls into the power lock role and his springheeled partner will be Victor Matfield, the lord of the lineout and general all-round locking intelligentsia.

We want a gnarly front row. What other sort is there, you ask?

A swag of Pumas like Reggiardo and Castrogiovanni have claims but with a touch of sentiment the vote goes to Jason Leonard, the ageless Brit who hung on to 2003 and was such a part of their clout and belief. Another warhorse, Os Du Randt, wins the loosehead role. You can't argue with a bloke who won a winner's medal in 1995, retired and then returned to claim a second when he played the full 80 minutes in 2007.

The hooking duties would have gone to Ireland's Keith Wood but he was nailed by injury so the gong goes to Argentina's Mario Ledesma, still on the country's books. He was a superb technician at setpiece, had great mobility and an admiral swagger.