Rugby is one of the most popular sports worldwide, so, we try to answer the big question among its fans: “Who are the best rugby players in history?”.
At PledgeSports, we have helped many players and clubs from rugby union, league, 7’s and touch, raise money for their sport through crowdfunding. We felt it time to weigh in on the near-impossible debate that is naming the best rugby players ever.
5. David Campese (Australia)
Former Australian rugby union player David Campese is widely considered as the greatest winger and fullback of rugby history. He is also widely popular for his hitch-kick motion called the “goose-step” which is superior for avoiding tackling of the opponents.
He achieved 101 caps in the Australian national rugby team The Wallabies and scored 315 points. He also played for New South Wales in his club career and earned 56 caps and 114 points.
After his incredible journey of nine tries in tests and six in rugby world tournament, he was voted as the player of the tournament at the 1991 Rugby World Cup.
He was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1997 and into the IRB Hall of Fame in 2013. He was also inducted into the Australian Rugby Union Hall of Fame in 2007.
4. Michael Jones (New Zealand)
New Zealand former rugby union player Michael Jones also served as the coach of Samoa rugby team from 2004 to 2007 after his retirement from the professional rugby.
He was one of the most offensive players during his career and nicknamed The Iceman for his need of ice packs for injuries during gameplay. He is “almost the perfect rugby player” according to his first coach John Hart.
He played for New Zealand All Black as the most successful Flanker and earned 55 caps with 56 points. He was voted as the third best All Black of the 20th century by Rugby World magazine.
He was inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame in 2003. Besides his sports career, he was also honoured with New Zealand Medal for service to the Pacific Island community in 1990.
3. 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 in the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
He was named the player of the year by the International Rugby Board in 2005 and 2012, and was also named Super Rugby player of the year by Rebel Sport in 2004 and 2006.
2. Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland)
Former Irish professional rugby union player Brian O’Driscoll is widely regarded as the best outside center in rugby history. 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 Lion during New Zealand tour in 2005.
Besides international appearances, Brian also played for Irish provincial team Leinster, starting their run as one of the most successful rugby clubs in Europe. 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 is the highest try scorer of all time in Irish Rugby and the 8th highest try scorer in international rugby history.
1. 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 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 the international rugby.