Miles Harrison’s Rugby Fantasy Land: No 13 – Danie Gerber vs Brian O’Driscoll

Tune in for the fifth instalment of Miles Harrison’s rugby fantasy land XVs as he picks a pre-1994 Golden Oldie outside-centre to take on a ‘Young One’.

  • Miles Harrison’s Rugby Fantasy Land: The 10s
  • Miles Harrison’s Rugby Fantasy Land: No 8
  • Miles Harrison’s Rugby Fantasy Land: Full-backs
  • Miles Harrison’s Rugby Fantasy Land: No 4
  • Miles Harrison’s Rugby Fantasy Land: Scrum-half
  • Miles Harrison’s Rugby Fantasy Land: No 1

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.

Next up, it’s the first of the centres, the 13s: Danie Gerber. Springbok back who featured for South Africa between 1980 and 1992, but only garnered 24 caps due to his nation’s sporting isolation due to apartheid, severely restricting his career. Yet, in 2007 he was still inducted International Rugby Hall of Fame.

And opposite him is former Ireland skipper Brian O’Driscoll. The Leinsterman picked up some 133 caps for Ireland between 1999 and 2014, and was a British & Irish Lion on four separate tours (2001, 2005, 2009, 2013). Filled with an abundance of talent, he finished his career littered with honours.

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: Danie Gerber

13. Gerber – I can’t mention all the ‘near misses’ for selection in these teams, otherwise this would be a book (now there’s an idea!) but I’m going to have to make an exception here. Jim Renwick would normally be my choice for a fantasy team of days gone by at ’13’.

Yet, as I’ve said, a key part of all of this is about moments in time that have changed your view on how you saw the game. So, that’s why I’ve gone for the South African centre because I’ll never forget seeing Danie Gerber play for the first time – that power, that pace, that presence.

He was one of the rare breed in sport who confirmed greatness on first viewing.

The Young One: Brian O’Driscoll

13. O’Driscoll – the best Northern Hemisphere player I’ve ever commentated on. I have said that for a long time now and I stand by it to this day.

Why? Because Brian was the complete player, he had everything, just like Gareth Edwards in that sense. But, as we know, that in itself is not the main reason for selection for this team. But Brian, like Gareth, also had the key ingredient of that ability to make things happen in a way that would very much fit in with this side.

Take Brisbane 2001 and I can assure you that was one day when I didn’t just get out of my seat, I nearly hit my head on the commentary roof! And, BOD gets the captaincy too.

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

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