Matt Stevens' combined XV: The best of the British and Irish Lions combine with All Blacks' stars
Last Updated: 10/07/17 7:03pm
With the series shared and the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand complete, our attentions turn to those who shone for both sides during their battles as 2009 and 2013 tourist Matt Stevens selects his combined XV.
"What was great about this tour is that people did write the Lions off" the Toulon prop said. "Yes the All Blacks are still the best team in the world but Warren Gatland managed to build a side who were able to compete with them, which no one else is doing at the moment.
"What has been great about doing this combined team is that it has been quite difficult to do. At the start of the tour, how many Lions players would have made it into the combined side? Not many at all."
Read on to find who makes Stevens' star-studded line up... Do you agree? Tweet us your views @SkySportsRugby.
15. Jordie Barrett (New Zealand)
He was epic in the third Test and really produced a brilliant performance. Liam Williams started one of the best tries the Lions have ever scored so I would have him on the bench to cover full-back and wing.
14. Anthony Watson (Lions)
He was one of the players of the whole series for me. He made some really strong runs and also put pressure on the opposition with a great chase game. Looked for work and also took one heck of knock from Sonny Bill Williams.
13. Jonathan Davies (Lions)
Just an outstanding performance from Jonathan Davies. Not just a line breaker, but also had the awareness to link up with support players or put a clever kick through. Very good on defence as well.
12. Ben Te'o (Lions)
A controversial call but I would have Ben Te'o in there and was really unlucky not to start all three Tests. When he played he carried well and caused a lot of problems for the opposition in both attack and defence.
11. Elliot Daly (Lions)
He brings just so much to the party with his pace, his long boot and his aerial game.
10. Beauden Barrett (New Zealand)
May not have had the best series kicking for posts but all other aspects of his game was spot on. He really seems to control the game and pull the strings and his awareness was exceptional. If he can sort his goal-kicking out he will be one of the greats.
9. Conor Murray (Lions)
Conor Murray is a definite choice here - Smith was good but I think that Murray had more impact on the games he played in.
1. Mako Vunipola (Lions)
I didn't think we player cam Mako enough - he does just so much around the park. Joe Moody may have had the slight edge in the scrum but no one else does what Mako does. He is a world beater.
2. Jamie George (Lions)
He had a few wayward throws in the last game but played well throughout the series.
3. Owen Franks (New Zealand)
A very good scrummager and he is also good around the park.
4. Maro Itoje (Lions)
The second row was the easiest to pick. I think Maro Itoje is on another level - he's not quite on the level as Retallick but I think he will get there. Took on the lineout responsibilities very well and was immense with ball in hand and at the breakdown area.
5. Brodie Retallick (New Zealand)
One of the best players on the park throughout the series. We are used to see him shine in the loose but in the third Test he really had to knuckle down and do the hard yards.
6. Jerome Kaino (New Zealand)
Always seems to be making tackles and getting into the rucks and mauls. I thought he gave the All Blacks a real edge.
7. Sam Warburton (Lions)
I have mixed the back row up a bit and stuck Sam Warburton at 7. I think Warburton played that typical No 7 role and was outstanding at the breakdown and slowing the ball down. I would have Sean O'Brien on the bench. Does not get enough credit for what he does on the ground. Showed excellent leadership skills as well.
8. Kieran Read (New Zealand)
A real tough one here as Taulupe Faletau was excellent but it has to be Kieran Read for me. His performance in the first Test after being out for so long was quite exceptional.
I would want Joe Moody, Cody Taylor and Tadhg Furlong on my bench. Sean O'Brien would also come on and make an impact as would Liam Williams, Julian Savea, Sam Whitelock and Courtney Lawes.