It's that time of year again - list-making season! - where every man and his podcast names their International Rugby Team of the Year.

It causes the usual debates. How many All Blacks made the team? How could they possibly have snubbed Local Player X? Why isn't MY favourite player in the XV?

And so on it goes for each entity's efforts, as we crave to see what overseas pundits think of the All Blacks. Even if it's, New Zealand rugby fans simply must be alert to any potential snub.

Thankfully, the most recent addition to the summer of list-making content comes from a reputable source, the BBC's "Rugby Union Weekly" podcast.


BBC rugby correspondent Chris Jones and former England winger Ugo Monye picked their XV, and we can pass along that four All Blacks made the team.

Codie Taylor, Brodie Retallick, Rieko Ioane and Ben Smith were all selected in the hypothetical starting XV.

Brodie Retallick, Rieko Ioane, Codie Taylor and Ben Smith all made the BBC's World XV. Photos / Getty
Brodie Retallick, Rieko Ioane, Codie Taylor and Ben Smith all made the BBC's World XV. Photos / Getty

"I feel we get a lot of criticism when there's not at least five or six All Blacks in this team" said Monye, but this year, that's unlikely, with their four selections being more than most of the other "World XVs" selected by pundits.

The BBC team is dominated by Irishmen, with eight making the cut, while former Blues player Hadleigh Parkes made the side after a strong season with Wales.

Taylor edged out Malcolm Marx for the hooker spot, Retallick was an easy pick at lock for the pair, while Ioane was shifted to the right wing to include both he and Ireland's Jacob Stockdale - both "world class" players.

The only other All Blacks to get honourable mentions were Jack Goodhue - "The next Conrad Smith - maybe we need to see a little bit more at the highest level," said Jones, while Kieran Read was mentioned only to point out how he wasn't at his best.

"Kieran Read's a legend of the game, but he's nowhere near playing at a level which we've got used to - he doesn't even come into the equation for me," said Monye.

Jack Goodhue impressed critics globally. Photo / Getty
Jack Goodhue impressed critics globally. Photo / Getty

The most notable praise was left for Smith, with Monye effusive in his description of the veteran utility back, calling him "a sensational player".


"He's 32 years old and he looks 34 - is he the quickest? No. Does he have more power than a [Waisake] Naholo or a Ioane? No, but there's no-one who reads the game better at 15, or even the back three, than Ben Smith.

"What he does for back threes is not obvious to see on TV. If I was the All Blacks coach, I'd build my back three around him. Damian McKenzie's a wonderful player, but Smith does it in his own way. He would be my first choice in the back three in any team."

The 'Rugby Union Weekly Podcast' Team of The Year

1. Steven Kitshoff (South Africa)
2. Codie Taylor (New Zealand)
3. Tadhg Furlong (Ireland)
4. James Ryan (Ireland)
5. Brodie Retallick (New Zealand)
6. Peter O'Mahony (Ireland)
7. Dan Leavy (Ireland)
8. CJ Stander (Ireland)
9. Faf de Klerk (South Africa)
10. Jonathan Sexton (Ireland)
11. Jacob Stockdale (Ireland)
12. Hadleigh Parkes (Wales)
13. Garry Ringrose (Ireland)
14. Rieko Ioane (New Zealand)
15. Ben Smith (New Zealand)