Rugby Union Commentator
Miles Harrison's Rugby Fantasy Land: The 10s - Barry John vs Carlos Spencer
Last Updated: 03/04/20 8:11am
Tune in for the first instalment of Miles Harrison's rugby fantasy land. A XV of Golden Oldies in the era pre-1994 before Sky Sports began covering rugby, vs a XV of 'Young Ones' that Miles commentated on. First up, it's the fly-halves...
These are teams with players who raise the spirits, ones that get you out of your seat. This could be down to their flair, skills and speed or because of their power, strength and physical presence.
These fantasy teams are not claiming to have the very greatest players in their positions although in all cases they are inevitably truly great players, the selection is about making sure that these teams would play the most amazingly entertaining rugby that the selector could possibly dream of.
First up its our respective playmakers, the fly-halves: Prodigiously talented Welshman Barry John, who represented Wales and the British & Lions between 1966 and 1972, winning a Triple Crown, Championship, Grand Slam and Test series in New Zealand before retiring at just 27.
And opposite him is former All Black Carlos Spencer, who featured for New Zealand between 1995 and 2004, and travelled the world at club level, consistently wowing with his supreme skill-levels.
I hope you have a great trip to Fantasy Land and that, at least for a moment or two, it takes your mind off what's happening in the world at this time. Stay safe and healthy, Miles.
The Golden Oldie: Barry John
10. John - I remember a pair of Barry John-style boots almost as much as the player himself. When you start wanting to replicate the kit of your heroes, then you know you are totally smitten. What a ridiculously good player he was, one of those you had to see to believe.
When years later I went on to work with Barry on my first live Five Nations commentary for the BBC, I think I was in my rugby fantasy land. Yes, again, this choice could so easily have been another and I'm thinking of Phil Bennett here. Just imagine having two as good as that back-to-back.
What a joy to commentate on the pair of them it must have been. The brilliant Wallaby, Mark Ella, was the one in my mind to push the great Welsh pair closest.
The Young One: Carlos Spencer
10. Spencer - Don't get me wrong, I can understand why New Zealand for the large part went with Andrew Merhtens, boy could Merhts play. Dan Carter then came along and '10s' don't get any better than that. Beauden Barrett has been wonderful to watch in recent times and been incredibly versatile. But, in Carlos Spencer, we are talking about pure unadulterated box office.
Yes, his adventure would cause him to get some things 'wrong' but the point of this fantasy game is to try, try and try again, in order to produce the gems that we'll never forget. Spencer had more than his fair share of those. Jonathan Davies was post-rugby league when I got to call his name and what a great talent he was in both codes. Stephen Larkham was a rare and stunning talent too.
Also, if I may, an honourable mention to Paul Turner, not with the top international pedigree of others but, in his club playing days, he produced Spencer-like magic and was a player I loved to watch try his tricks. But, it's King Carlos for the match in Fantasy Land.
Selection is by its very nature a very personal choice and, coupled with that thought, is the fact that you can't look back over all the years and not miss a few. This is where you come in. I want your selections and for you to tell me who I might have missed and exactly why you have made your choices? @skysportsmiles
Tell me the stories that make your picks so special to you. The possibilities are endless so let your imagination run riot. But, remember, when making your selections for this match, the players selected must make your heart sing.
Once both teams are selected, including the 'super-sub', we will select the head coaches. Then, we'll select the venue, the referee and a memorable kit for the teams to 'run out' in.