Wed 20 May 2020 | 09:27

Brutal brothers: Who are the best?

Brutal brothers: Who are the best?
Wed 20 May 2020 | 09:27
Brutal brothers: Who are the best?

SPOTLIGHT: Rugby like any other sport is certainly a family affair.


@rugby365com‘s Leezil Hendricks takes a look at three sets of brother who represented their countries at a World Cup(s) together.

She looks at the top three teams in the World – South Africa, New Zealand and England – and highlights a set of their most recent high-profile ‘brutal brothers’!

Looking at these sets of siblings, it is evident that family plays a key role in a child’s introduction and participation in the sport.

Not only are these brothers playing the sport they love so much, but they also had the honour of featuring in a world cup together.

* Let us know who you feel has the best set of ‘brutal brothers’ that featured together in a World Cup!

1 Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis

The pair along with Tendai Mtawarira were one of the most feared front rows in the world. The pair made their Test debut during a then Tri-Nations match against Australia in 2007. They became the 23rd set of brothers to earn caps for South Africa in Rugby Union.

Neither Jannie nor Bismarck was named in the Springboks’ original squad for the 2007 Rugby World Cup, but both eventually joined the squad. Nonetheless, the pair’s legendary performances for the Sharks made sure they made the 2011 and 2015 World Cup squads.

The Du Plessis brothers are prominent figures in South Africa and they have set the bar for a set of siblings.
Not so famous brother is Francois ‘Tabbie’ Du Plessis, who just like Bismark plays hooker. Du Plessis was part of the Free State Under-19 squad in 2010 before joining the Eastern Province Kings, where he played three senior matches.


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2 Mako and Billy Vunipola

Billy was born in Australia and Mako was born in New Zealand, and the two are the sons of former Tongan captain Feʻao Vunipola.

They were raised in Wales, making both players eligible to play for Tonga and Wales, but they opted to play for England after starring in the youth teams.

Billy began his senior career at Wasps before joining his older brother Mako at Saracens in 2013. Since then the pair have emerged as two dangerous options at No.8 and prop for the Premiership side.


The pair played a key role in Eddie Jones’ 2019 World Cup squad who made the Final.

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3 Scott, Beauden and Jordie Barrett

Beauden, Scott and Jordie Barrett were the first sibling trio to play together for the All Blacks during the World Cup 2019 since Elisi Vunipola, Manu Vunipola, and Fe’ao Vunipola all played for Tonga in 1995

Beauden, the oldest of the trio, gained fame as a flyhalf at the Hurricanes. He was a key member of the 2015 World Cup-winning team and won the World Rugby Player of the Year award in 2016 and 2017.

Jordie, the youngest of the trio, is a utility back. The 22-year-old has not quite reached the success of his older brothers and he has certainly been struggling to cement himself in the All Blacks starting XV. Nonetheless, Jordie is still young and with new coach, Ian Foster he will certainly have ample time to reach those heights.

While Jordie and Beauden are both backline players, Scott is a forward who plays lock for the Crusaders. Being a part of the most successful New Zealand Super Rugby side, the 26-year-old has had a lustrous career thus far.

There is no denying that this family certainly has the sporting gene. Other brother Kane, the current dairy farmer, was well on his way to the top when he was forced to retire in 2014.

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Other sets of siblings worth mentioning are Ben and Tom Youngs of England who made the 2015 World Cup squad. The pair’s father Nick was a former England scrumhalf.

Scotland has the Gray bothers namely Jonny and Richie. According to reports,  it was Jonny, the younger sibling, who first took up rugby, sparking Richie to then follow suit.



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