My Ultimate Team: Jamie Langley selects his best 1-13 including England, Bradford Bulls legends

Aaron Bower

Our My Ultimate Team feature is back for another edition – and this time, it’s former Bradford Bulls, Hull KR and England forward Jamie Langley.

A key component of the Bulls‘ success in the early-2000s, Langley is now a well-respected figure in rugby union, working on the coaching staff of Premiership side Sale Sharks alongside another former Bulls player in Paul Deacon.

Langley spoke to Love Rugby League to give us his ultimate line-up of players he’s played alongside – and it’s full of Super League legends..

1. Leon Pryce (Bradford Bulls)

I’ve tried to pick a team based on the lads I played with, the abilities and talent I thought they had – and also how I thought that would transfer into the modern game.

Based on that my fullback is Leon. It may not have been the position he played most of but it’s a position that’s evolved a lot over the last 10 years. You require really good instincts and you’ve got to think quickly. He’d be similar to a Tom Trbojevic in the modern game: very tall, rangey and knows the game inside out.

2. Tevita Vaikona (Bradford Bulls)

He was almost unstoppable back then, TV. Bradford’s whole game-plan was based around the power game and while we had the Awesome Foursome in the pack, we had TV on the wing as part of some big bodies in the back. If you took TV now and put him in the modern game – look at how the NRL plays now, their outside backs are big and powerful – he’d be outstanding. What a player!

3. Steve Menzies (Bradford Bulls)

As a coach, I think about how do I get my best players on the field, regardless of the position they’re playing. Steve for me was a player who could slot in a few places, and he’s one of the best players I’ve ever played with.

He had speed, he could step off both feet, he was tall and elusive. When you’ve played over 200 games in the NRL, you’re pretty good, aren’t you? He’s a very humble, down to Earth bloke too. Whether it’s back-row or centre, he’d be a great fit in any team.

4. Shontayne Hape (Bradford Bulls)

Lesley Vainikolo, Shontyne Hape, Leon Pryce

He had it all, Shonny. Champagne Shontayne! Very similar to Steve Menzies in that he could step off both feet, he wasn’t afraid to do the tough stuff and he was really aggressive defensively: he’d always try and put his mark on the opposition’s centre early with his aggression.

He came over to Bradford as a young man, nowhere near his prime, but he soon built a reputation as one of the best centres in Super League. All those tries Lesley Vainikolo scored, the majority of them came from Shonny’s brilliant ability. Speaking of which..

MORE ULTIMATE TEAM: Joel Tomkins names his greatest 1-17 from players he played alongside

5. Lesley Vainikolo (Bradford Bulls)

What can you say? An unbelievable character with a brilliant personality that was infectious. He was like a celebrity around Bradford and rightly so. He scored tries for fun, he broke records non-stop and he was simply unstoppable. He’d break tackles, put fear into defences and his ability to finish was incredible. His speed for a big man? Phenomenal. That back three of Leon, TV and Lesley I’d say, in their prime, would be as good as any in the world!

6. Danny McGuire (England)

Danny McGuire, Leeds Rhinos, 2015

I was really fortunate to play with Danny at a number of age groups at England. He was a little bit older, but we played England Academy together and I was fortunate enough to play with him at senior level for England too.

I remember touring Australia and New Zealand with England’s under-18s, and Danny had a whole heap of NRL clubs clamouring for him. He was an electric player, he broke onto the Super League scene with style and he was rivalling Big Les for tries scored at one stage. He had everything you’d want from a six.

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7. Rob Burrow (England)

Rob Burrow Leeds Rhinos Alamy

A very similar situation to Danny. I was fortunate to play with Rob in age grades and again at international level. Rob and Danny were an unbelievable pairing; we saw that with Leeds for so many years. Look at the spine they had, with Rob, Danny and Kevin (Sinfield).

He was the first name on the team-sheet you had to prepare because he was so elusive, he was tough as nails.. all the things that have said to him are fully deserved. I’ve never seen a player like him since, and I don’t know if we will again.

8. Stuart Fielden (Bradford Bulls)

Stuart Fielden Bradford Bulls PA

A nailed on pick for me. Undeniably the best prop in the world for a certain time. You want your best players to have an impact on the game and Stu could do that every single week for 80 minutes. There was a period of time where he was unstoppable, teams couldn’t deal with him.

If he was playing now, I reckon he could still do 80 minutes in the middle now, similar to Luke Thompson at Wigan. Stu was 6″4, 110kg and doing what your top props can do now. He used to knock blokes from pillar to post!

9. Josh Hodgson (Hull KR)

I’d give some honourable mentions to Jimmy Lowes and Terry Newton here but I’ll go for Josh. I played with him for a year at Hull KR, and he was named captain at the age of 23 – and you could see why.

Even at that young age, with how competitive he was, he was the first in and the last to leave. You knew he had something. He went to the NRL and starred for Canberra for many years. He was rated as the best hooker there alongside Cameron Smith. Now that basically says it all for me.

MORE ULTIMATE TEAM: Luke Gale selects his best 1-17 including Castleford, Leeds, England stars

10. Jamie Peacock (Bradford Bulls)

He played his early years in the back row, but he had his best years when he transitioned into the front row. JP would be the first to admit he wasn’t the most talented player but do you know what? He’s the toughest player I’ve ever played with. The most resilient player I’ve ever played with, too.

Just to see him develop as a young man and see him morph into the leader he was at Bradford, Leeds and then England and Great Britain.. he’s a legend.

11. Gareth Ellis (England)

Gaz is someone I played with at international level but I also played against him plenty of times when he was at Leeds and Wakefield. Unbelievably professional, everything he did was intentional and 100 per cent whether it was training or playing. To go to Wests Tigers and win their player of the year twice on the trot sums it up.

MORE ULTIMATE TEAM: Paul Sculthorpe selects his best 1-17 including St Helens, Great Britain stars

12. Adrian Morley (Bradford Bulls)

Adrian Morley Great Britain Alamy

I played with Moz at international level and had a few games at Bradford with him in 2005 when he came in and won the Super League title. His career speaks for itself. Regarded as the best English import alongside Mal Reilly and Sam Burgess and rightly so.

Hard as nails, put fear into his opponents with his aggression. Such a nice bloke off the field but such an imposing character on it. Probably my favourite player growing up, I used to love watching Moz play.

13. Sam Burgess (Bradford Bulls)

I played with him in his younger years at Bradford and you knew what a special talent he was straight away, and what sort of a career he’d go on to have. I was fortunate to enjoy those early years with Sam.

I still see him occasionally now he’s back coaching here with Warrington – what a career. Unbelievable player, you can put him in that bracket as Stu Fielden, Moz, Jamie Peacock.. their competitiveness made them what they were.

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