Top 10 Rugby Legends
With the introduction of professionalism in 1995, it heralded a new breed of rugby star. Who are bigger, stronger, faster, and more dedicated than ever before. We pick the ten best of the best rugby legends in the history of the game.
Rugby has also seen the emergence of true modern sporting heroes. There are and were players who have thrilled us, raised the bar and made the difference at the very highest level. Rugby is one of the most famous sports, hence the game itself saw the greatest players ever to walk on the field.
The game has changed so much over the 24 years. The odd one out, weirdly, seems to be Gareth Edwards because he comes from a generation before most of the other players in the list.
Today we summoned the Top 10 Rugby Legends. It’s designed to stimulate and promote a debate that has and will continue forever. You could argue the toss over a few cold beers with your best mate, or a steaming hot cup of coffee with your rugby-supporting family at home, so please enjoy this list of all time ten best players ever.
Jonny Wilkinson – ENGLAND
Wilkinson’s CV includes he played for Newcastle Falcons and Toulon and represented England and the British and Irish Lions. Wilkinson won 91 caps for England and his country won 61 of these when he played. Wilkinson holds the Rugby World Cup points record with 277 and is the only player to score points in two Rugby World Cup Finals. He is probably best remembered for scoring the winning drop goal in the last minute of extra time against Australia in the 2003 World Cup final against Australia.
He was a legendary number 10 in attack, kicking, and defence, injury proneness was his only weakness.
Gareth Edwards – WALES
Former Welsh rugby union player Gareth Edwards is “arguably the greatest player ever to don a Welsh jersey” according to the BBC.
He played 53 matches for Wales’s national team and scored 88 points from 1967 to 1978 and also played 10 matches for the British Lions and scored 3 points. He played 12 seasons of his career for Cardiff RFC in his club career and scored 69 tries in 195 games.
He was voted the greatest player of all time in a poll of Rugby World magazine in 2003. Gareth was also named the greatest ever on the list of “50 Greatest Rugby players,” compiled by former England captain Will Carling in The Telegraph in 2007.
He received the Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in the 2007 New Year Honors for his contribution to international rugby.
David Campese – AUSTRALIA
Campese is considered to be the greatest winger in rugby history and he was a great athlete who ran a lot throughout his career. He is also known for his trademark called ‘Goose step’ which is a hitch kick motion he used to avoid tackles from his opponents. He played for Australia’s national rugby team where he played for Australia in the 1987, 1991 and 1995 Rugby World Cup. In 1991, he won the World Cup with Australia.
Due to his many achievements, he has been inducted into several Hall of Fames so there is no doubt that Campese is one of the best rugby players of all time.
Martin Johnson – ENGLAND
Tough and uncompromising.
Johnson is regarded as one of the greatest locks in the history of rugby. He led his England national team to victory in the World Cup in 2003. He is also the only man to captain the British and Irish Lions on two separate tours. He led his club team Leicester Tigers to the victory of the league six times and also won the Heineken Cup consecutively. He earned 84 caps in England national rugby team in which he scored 10 points and also earned 362 caps in Leicester Tigers where he scored 90 points. After his retirement, he became the team manager for the 2011 Six Nations of the national England rugby team in April 2008.
Gary Teichmann – SA
Gary Teichmann played 42 tests for the Springboks, leading the national team on 36 occasions and establishing a reputation as a hard-working, committed, courageous and fair player throughout the rugby world.
While he was captain of the national team, the Springboks won 26 of 36 matches including a world record equalling 17 tests in succession. These wins include victories over New Zealand, Australia, France, England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland away from home. They also included a first-ever Tri-Nations title for South Africa in 1998 when they swept Australia and New Zealand.
He proved that there is room for gentlemen in the game of rugby.
Brian O’Driscoll – IRELAND
When O’Driscoll burst on the scene, he was fast, elusive and weighed in with plenty of tries. As time went on he adapted his game, as the game itself changed too. His defending and strength really came to the fore as did his offloading ability.
His popularity and fan support were so vast that his admirer attended his matches wearing T-shirts bearing the motto “In BOD We Trust.” He captained Ireland’s national rugby team from 2003 to 2012 and also captained the British and Irish Lions during the New Zealand tour in 2005. Besides international appearances, Brian also played for Irish provincial team Leinster. He played 141 test matches for Ireland, which includes 83 matches as the captain and played 8 for the British and Irish Lions, which, in total, made him the most-capped player in rugby union history. He was the highest try scorer of all time in Irish Rugby, and the 8th highest try scorer in international rugby history.
Jonah Lomu – NEW ZEALAND
The youngest man to wear the black jersey and the most unstoppable force ever seen in rugby. Became the first global rugby sensation – and single handedly ran through entire teams. Terrifying.
Not much more needs to be said about this gentle giant who is sadly no longer with us. Rugby’s first-ever global superstar and arguably no one has made a bigger impact on the game than this New Zealand born winger of Tongan heritage.
Physically as big as, if not bigger than most forwards, but with the ability to leave defenders in his wake too. Didn’t win a World Cup medal but left all fans with many enduring memories.
The simplest choice in a best-of-all-time XV.
Dan Carter – NEW ZEALAND
New Zealand rugby union player Dan Carter is the highest points scorer in Test match rugby and widely regarded as the greatest ever first-five eighth. He earned 100 caps for New Zealand’s national team the All Blacks and scored 1,442 points. He played for Crusaders in Super Rugby where he earned 128 caps and 1,581 points. He also played for Canterbury provincial team and scored 289 for them. Carter won six Tri-Nations and Rugby Championships with the New Zealand national team and four Super Rugby titles with the Crusaders. He also led his national team to victory of the 2011 Rugby World Cup. He was named player of the year by the International Rugby Board in 2005 and 2012. He was also named Super Rugby player of the year by Rebel Sport in 2004 and 2006.
Richie McCaw – NEW ZEALAND
We can’t have a list like this without adding Richie McCaw to it. He was a captain for the All-Blacks and played in the 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cups. He is the only player to win the Rugby World cup two times as a captain in the 2011 and the 2015 World Cups. Besides this, he is one of the best openside flankers when it comes to breakdowns and he is a great leader, both on and off the field.
Therefore it is no surprise that he has been named the world rugby player of the year three times, in 2006, 2009 and 2010 – in addition to being named the ‘World Rugby Men’s player of the decade’.
Philippe Sella – FRANCE
The flashy fullback’s international career with France saw him achieve different feats of skill while winning Five Nation Grand Slams in 1981 and 1987, as well as four more trophies.
An attacker so stunning that few realised his defensive strength. A weaving magician who had the “strength of a bull and the touch of a piano player.” Sella had an outstanding all-round game. He briefly held the record as the world’s most capped international player.