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International Rugby: The ‘Winners’ XV

Who are the players with the most wins in the history of Test rugby? We look at the fifteen men who would make up a team of winners.

It’s no real surprise that a large number of All Blacks are in this side, but the dominance of Test rugby in recent years is evident through the number of recent and current players to have donned the famous black jersey.

Altogether, eight out of fifteen of the team were part of the World Cup winning squad last year. This just shows the magnitude of the side and helps to provide further evidence that they are the greatest team in the history of any sport. Mils Muiliaina, now plying his trade in the PRO rugby competition with San Francisco, is the other All Black in the side.

Yet what is more shocking is that only one player from the northern hemisphere makes the team. France’s Fabien Pelous, one of only four players to have won four grand slam titles (1997, 1998, 2002 and 2004) along with England’s W J A Davies, Ronald Cove-Smith, Jason Leonard and France’s Olive Magne. He won 79 games, with his nearest rival being England World Cup-winning captain Martin Johnson on 71.


Wasps’ George Smith, now 35, won 65 of his 111 caps – having announced his retirement in 2010 before making a return for the Wallabies in the British and Lions Test series of 2013. Imagine how many caps and potentially wins he could have achieved if he had not take that hiatus.

Two more Australians make the line-up in veritable legends George Gregan and David Campese.

South Africa is represented by second row giant Victor Matfield and winger Bryan Habana who has an incredible 64 Test tries, level with Campese.

Altogether this side almost reads like an all-time World XV and given their success rates, it’s not hard to see why.

The World ‘Winners’ XV

1) Tony Woodcock (102/118)
2) Kevin Mealumu (114/132)
3) Owen Franks (68/78)
4) Victor Matfield (79/127)
5) Fabien Pelous (79/118)
6) George Smith (65/111)
7) Richie McCaw (131/148)
8) Kieran Read (73/84)
9) George Gregan (93/139)
10) Dan Carter (99/112)
11) Bryan Habana (77/117)
12) Ma’a Nonu (91/103)
13) Conrad Smith (84/94)
14) David Campese (67/101)
15) Mils Muiliaina (84/100)

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About Paul Wassell

Paul Wassell
Paul is an English teacher by day and an avid rugby fan the rest of the time. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook, or contact him at [email protected]