Hi and thanks for reading this thread. After watching the Tri-Nations this week, I have been having doubts whether or not Richie McCaw, George Smith and Schalk Burger are the best openside flanker's in the world anymore. Please dont be confused when i say Burger because no. 6 in South Africa and the USA i think is openside whereas usually no. 7 is openside everywhere else. This Saturday Springbok Heinrich Brussow supposedly outplayed All Black McCaw in the breakdown, something that Wallaby Smith and fellow Bok Burger could never do. Which means Heinrich Brussow must be better than Schalk Burger. Despite the fact Burger won the 2004 irb player of the year, he has had an appaling super 14 season. I also believe Dewald Potgieter has played better than him at openside. I know McCaw will not be at his best coming back from injury but Brussow also outplayed him when the Cheetahs played the Crusaders in the Super 14 this year. George Smith is a brilliant player but he was never able to beat McCaw and I hear there are two competitors for his jersey, Force players Matt Hodgson and David Pocock. Pocock outplayed McCaw in the 08 season of the Super 14 when the Force played the Crusaders. And Hodgson was the Force player of the season with Pocock coming third. Although Hodgson prefers the blindised jersey that may be competed with by Richard Brown and the returning Rocky Elsom who is known as the most influencial player in world rugby. And I think soon Smith and Burger will disappear out of the picture, I think Burger already has. But with McCaw, i still think he is the best New Zealand openside. I hear Luke Braid is a one to watch (Chiefs?). He is Daniel Braid's (ex all black openside now plays for reds) younger brother. Is there any other competitors after McCaw is finished? However i doubt that will be anytime soon. Thanks very much and please leave your opinions. And another thing where are Lelia Masaga and Victor Vito. They are better than Rokocoko and So'Oialo.