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Banded Brothers XV

Before the Battle of Agincourt, according to Shakespeare, King Henry addressed his troops, calling them  "We few, we happy few, we band of brothers".

We are going to set out to pick our team of brothers – really brothers, blood brothers, not just a close team going to play – and we shall start at the present and then pick some sides from the past.

We have basic selection criteria – international players who are brothers and at least two brothers in each team.

We could also pick band of multiple brothers, of whom five may be the most.

There are even brothers who have played for different countries – three different countries seems the most.

There are lots of Brothers XVs we could choose.

We shall choose 23 players, which gets some onto the bench and makes selection just a little easier. But because it is, like 15, an uneven number, it is important to choose one set of three brothers.

We have chosen three other teams – an amateur team of after World War II, an ancient team from 1871-1938, a team in which brothers have played for different countries and then a team that may possibly be a best-ever team.

Here and there we have excised a bit of licence in picking players out of position, but pretty near to their genuine positions.

There are also some sad commissions, mainly because of the need to have two brothers in a team and one may not perhaps be as good as somebody left out.

Modern Brothers XV: 15 Rob Kearney (Ireland), 14 David Kearney (Ireland), 13 Charles Piutau (New Zealand), 12 Manu Tuilagi (England), 11 Mirco Bergamasco (Italy), 10 Felipe Contepomi (Argentina), 9 Ben Youngs (England),  8 George Whitelock (New Zealand), 7 Luke Whitelock (New Zealand), 6 Mauro Bergamasco (Italy), 5 Sam Whitelock (New Zealand), 4 Richie Gray (Scotland), 3 Paul Wallace (Ireland), 2 Bismarck du Plessis (South Africa), 1 Ben Franks (New Zealand).

Replacements: 16 Tom Youngs (England), 17 Jannie du Plessis (South Africa), 18 Owen Franks (New Zealand), 19 Jonny Gray (Scotland), 20 David Wallace (Ireland), 21 Manu Contepomi (Argentina), 22 Alex Tuilagi (Samoa), 23 Siale Piutau (Samoa).

Hard luck: The Vunipolas, the Armitages, the Timanes, the Fainga'a twins, the Bests, the Evanses, the Fernandez Lobbes, the Quinnells, the Lamonts and three more Tuilagis.

Amateur Brothers after World War II

Amateur Brothers XV: 15 Ian McCallum (South Africa), 14 André Boniface (France), 13 Guy Boniface (France), 12 Michael du Plessis (South Africa), 11 Carel du Plessis (South Africa), 10 Naas Botha (South Africa), 9 Lilian Cambérabéro (France), 8 Zinzan Brook (New Zealand), 7 Robin Brook (New Zealand), 6 Stan Meads (New Zealand), 5 Colin Meads (New Zealand), 4 Gordon Brown (Scotland), 3 Jaap Bekker (South Africa), 2 Robert Cockrell (South Africa), 1 Campese Ma'afu (Fiji).

Replacements: 16 Charlie Cockrell (South Africa), 17 Salesi Ma'afu (Australia), 18 Martiens Bekker (South Africa), 19 Peter Brown (Scotland), 20 Roy McCallum (South Africa), 21 Guy Cambérabéro (France), 22  Willie du Plessis (South Africa), 23 Darius Botha (South Africa).

Hard luck: The Goddards, the Deanses, the Clarkes and the Whettons of New Zealand, the Prats of France, the Underwoods, the Ellas of Australia, the Bachops, one of New Zealand and one of Samoa, the Thornetts of Australia, the Littles, one of New Zealand and one of Fiji, the Calder twins and the Hastingses of Scotland.

Ancient Brothers XV: 15 Gerhard Morkel (South Africa), 14 Tuan Gould (Wales), 13 Arthur Gould (Wales), 12 Stanley Osler (South Africa), 11 Jan Stegmann (South Africa), 10 Bennie Osler (South Africa), 9 Freddy Luyt (South Africa), 8 Maurice Brownlie (New Zealand), 7 Cherry Pillman (England), 6 Robert Gould (Wales), 5 John Luyt (South Africa), 4 Cyril Brownlie (New Zealand), 3 Boy Louw (South Africa), 2 Paul Roos (South Africa), 1 Fanie Louw (South Africa).

Replacements: 16 Dougie Morkel (South Africa), 17 Somerset Morkel (South Africa), 18 Gideon Roos (South Africa), 19 Robert Pillman (England), 20 Frederick Stoop (England), 21 Adrian Stoop (England), 22  Jackie Morkel (South Africa), 23 Anton Stegmann (South Africa).

Multiple Brothers XV: 15 Alex Tuilagi (Samoa), 14 Richard Wallace (Ireland), 13 Manu Tuilagi (England), 12 Richard Luyt (South Africa), 11 Carel du Plessis (South Africa), 10 Mark Ella (Australia), 9 Freddie Luyt (South Africa), 8 Henry Tuilagi (Samoa), 7 Robert Neilson (Scotland), 6 Marc Lièvremont (France), 5 John Luyt (South Africa), 4 Walter Neilson (Scotland), 3 Paul Wallace (Ireland), 2 George Neilson (Scotland), 1 Jaap Bekker (South Africa).

Replacements: 16 Mathieu Lièvremont (France), 17 Martiens Bekker (South Africa), 18 David Wallace (Ireland), 19 Thomas Lièvremont (France), 20 Robert Neilson (Scotland), 21 Michael du Plessis (South Africa), 22  Willie du Plessis (South Africa), 23 Dolf Bekker (South Africa), 24 Glen Ella (Australia).

Four Neilsons played for Scotland. Missing are Ponty, Tuan and Jack Jones and the three Goulds. There could also have been two more Tuilagis in the side.

Different Country Brothers XV: 15 James So'oialo (Samoa), 14 Tana Umaga (New Zealand), 13 RL Aston England), 12 Walter Little (New Zealand), 11 Ferdie Aston (South Africa), 10 Nicky Little (Fiji), 9 Dimitri Yachvili (France), 8 Rodney So'oialo (New Zealand), 7 Donald Macdonald (Scotland), 6 Robert Barbieri (Italy), 5 Brent Cockbain (Wales), 4 Matt Cockbain (Australia), 3 Salesi Ma'afu (Australia), 2 Ace Tiatia (Samoa), 1 Campese Ma'afu (Fiji).

Replacements: 16 Giorgio Yachvili (Georgia), 17 Michael Barbieri (Canada), 18 Filo Tiatia (New Zealand), 19 Dugald Macdonald (South Africa), 20 Steven So'oialo (Samoa), 21 Manu Tuilagi (England), 22  Mike Umaga (Samoa), 23 Freddie Tuilagi (Samoa).

There are more Tuilagis available – Henry, Alex and Andy, all Samoan internationals.

All-time Brothers XV: 15 Gavin Hastings (Scotland), 14 Maurice Prat (France), 13 Scott Hastings (Scotland), 12 Stanley Osler (South Africa), 11 Carel du Plessis (South Africa), 10 Bennie Osler (South Africa), 9 Ben Youngs (England), 8 Zinzan Brooke (New Zealand), 7 Jean Prat (France), 6 David Wallace (Ireland), 5 Stan Meads (New Zealand), 4 Colin Meads (New Zealand), 3 Paul Wallace (Ireland), 2 Bismarck du Plessis (South Africa), 1 Boy Louw (South Africa).

Replacements: 16 Tom Youngs (England), 17 Jannie du Plessis (South Africa), 18 Fanie Louw  (South Africa), 19 Robin Brooke (New Zealand), 20 Lilian Cambérabéro (France), 21 Guy Cambérabéro (France), 22 Michael du Plessis (South Africa), 23 Richard Wallace (Ireland).

By Paul Dobson


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