The first international rugby game was played on March 27, 1871. Since then, the game has attracted hundreds of gifted athletes and once-in-a-generation talents. So how do you compile a list of the top 5 players of all time? Well the simply answer is, you don’t...
The players below aren’t the top 5 greatest rugby players of all time (despite the clickbaity title). However, they are 5 of the greatest rugby players of all time. They are players that are immortalised in the conscious of rugby fans, players that dazzled and won accolade after accolade.
Dan Carter is considered by many to be the greatest fly-half of all time, if not the greatest rugby player of all time. Carter has won the IRB Player of the Year award three times and has been nominated for the award on two other occasions. As a fly-half for New Zealand, he won 9 Tri Nations (now The Rugby Championship) and two World Cups. Over his career, Carter would score 1,708 points in 141 games for the Crusaders (club side) and 1,598 points in 112 games for the national team.
There are few rugby leaders with the pedigree of Richie McCaw. The New Zealand openside flanker has captained two of the most dominate and successful teams in rugby’s modern era. In addition to the his leadership acumen, McCaw is generally regarded as one of the great flankers of all time and has made a name for being a menace in contact situations. Over his 16-year career, McCaw was awarded the IRB Player of the Year three times and New Zealand Player of the Year four times. As a part of the New Zealand national team, he won 2 World Cups and 10 Tri Nations.
Bryan Habana was known for his lightning quick speed and interceptions that led to runaway tries. During his career, the winger played for the Lions, Blue Bulls and Western Province at the club level and represented the his country in the national Under-21 team, the senior national team and Sevens national team. During the 2015 World Cup, Habana equalled the all-time tournament try-scoring record with 15 tries. Over his career, Habana was awarded the IRB player of the year once and won a World Cup, a Tri-Nations cup, and two Super Rugby titles.
The old man of the list. Tim Horan played for Australia at fly-half from 1989 to 2000 making his first appearance for his country at just 17. Horan was known as an all-round rugby Phenom for his attacking capacity, tough defence and play making prowess. During his career, he played 80 test caps for his country and was a part of both of Australia’s World Cup winning teams. Following his retirement, Horan was inducted into both the Rugby World Cup and the Australian Rugby Union Halls of Fame.
Possibly the most controversial player to make it onto this list, Brian O’Driscoll has spent his career stuck in teams not befitting his skill and plagued with injury. However, despite never really getting the chance to fulfil his potential, few would argue that O’Driscoll is not one of the great fly-haves of all time. During his career, O’Driscoll was feared for his formidable defence and mesmerizing attacking prowess. He would represent his country 141 times leading as captain more times than any other in history. If he had been given the opportunity to play in any of the teams the players above had, his list of accolades would be unimaginable.
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