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Christian Cullen

Known as the "Paekakariki Express" Cullen was considered to be one of the most potent running fullbacks rugby has ever seen. With 46 tries scored in 58 Tests, Cullen is the 9th-highest try-scorer in international rugby.

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Dan Carter - The Greatest?

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Sportal.co.nz     30 Sep 2009     Getty Images

Fullbacks Christian Cullen, wing Doug Howlett, second five-eighths Tana Umaga, first five-eighths Dan Carter, flanker Richie McCaw and tighthead prop Carl Hayman were all included.

Carter headed off England World Cup hero in 2003 Jonny Wilkinson and Australian Stephen Larkham.

Planet Rugby wondered if Carter was the greatest first five-eighths in Test history.

"A three-way tie between Carter, Wilkinson and Stephen Larkham if we were honest. But the team needed a goal-kicker as well as a playmaker, so Carter's total points were just higher than the other two," it said.

High praise was also laid on McCaw who the website said was 'the greatest exponent of openside player there has been'.

"George Smith deserves a mention, and maybe Heinrich Brussow will eclipse McCaw in a few years, but until then the All Black captain is in a class of his own."

Of Cullen it said: "Nobody has yet mastered the art of surreptitiously slipping into an attacking line and then tearing out of it for a score like the former Hurricane and Munsterman. Unbelievable pace was hidden in this long and languid stride that left you gaping every time."

Howlett's appeal was short and simple: "The record Super 14 try-scorer, New Zealand's record try-scorer...that's the kind of guy you want on the wing."

An interesting aspect of the selection was the pairing of Tana Umaga and Brian O'Driscoll in the centres, ironic given the fallout after Umaga's involvement in the injury of his captaincy rival in the first Test of the 2005 series against the British and Irish Lions.

But the website acknowledged that it was the same Umaga who aided Colin Charvis when he had been knocked out in a Test against New Zealand.

And of Hayman it said: "Hayman has been peerless at tighthead for some time now – New Zealand still miss him."

The team was: 15 – Christian Cullen, 14 – Doug Howlett, 13 – Brian O'Driscoll, 12, Tana Umaga, 11, Rupeni Caucaunibuca, 10 – Dan Carter, 9 – Gus Pichot, 8 – Lawrence Dallaglio, 7 – Richie McCaw, 6 – Richard Hill, 5 – Martin Johnson, 4 – John Eales, 3 – Carl Hayman, 2 – John Smit, 1 – Rodrigo Roncero.