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Ranking Rugby Union's 395 greatest players

Jonah Lomu was the youngest ever All Black, and there were never any questions over his ability. (AP Photo/Ross Setford)
Roar Guru
1st September, 2016
180
3383 Reads

Like many Australians right now, I’m hurting terribly given the pathetic showing the Wallabies made during this year’s Bledisloe Cup.

This Wallabies effort ranks with the depths of the 1972 Wallabies that toured New Zealand. Currently this season is worse than the 2005 season that got Eddie Jones fired.

How am I dealing with this grief? When the Wallabies aren’t playing well I immerse myself in rugby history, and I watch old rugby tapes and DVDs. I also read books about the game’s greats.

So here’s my outpouring of grief. I’m listing:

100 Great New Zealand Players
100 Great Australian Players
95 Great South African Players (I couldn’t think of five more!)
100 Great Northern Hemisphere Players

100 Great New Zealand Players
1. Ken Gray / Sir Wilson Whineray / Steve McDowell / Tony Woodcock / Johnny Simpson / Craig Dowd

2. Sean Fitzpatrick / Has Catley / Kevin Mealamu / Ron Hemi / Andy Dalton / Bruce McLeod / Hika Reid

3. Olo Brown / Kevin Skinner / Carl Hayman / Gary Knight / Ian Clarke

4. Andy Haden / Richard “Tiny” White / Robin Brooke / Stanley Meads / Brad Thorn / Todd Blackadder

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5. Colin Meads / Ian Jones / Gary Whetton / Ali Williams / Chris Jack / Peter Whiting

6. Kel Tremain / Ian Kirkpatrick / Maurice Brownlie / Jerome Kaino / Mark “Cowboy” Shaw / Alan Whetton

7. Richie McCaw / Michael Jones / Waka Nathan / Josh Kronfeld / Graham Mourie / Leicester Rutledge / Charlie Seeling / Cyril Brownlie

8. Zinzan Brooke / Sir Brian Lochore / Wayne “Buck” Shelford / Keiran Read / Murray Mexted / Jerry Collins / Peter Jones

9. Dave Loveridge / Sid Going / Chris Laidlaw / Graham Bachop / Justin Marshall / Aaron Smith / David Kirk

10. Dan Carter / Grant Fox / Andrew Mehrtons / Earl Kirton / Mark Nicholls / Billy Stead / Wayne Smith / Carlos Spencer / Nicky Allen

11. Jonah Lomu / Ron Jardon / Joe Rokocoko / Bernie Fraser / Sitiveni Sivivatu / Billy Wallace

12. Bert Cooke / Walter Little / John Schuster / Ma’aa Nonu / Warrick Taylor / Jimmy Hunter / Aaron Mauger

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13. Frank Bunce / Joe Stanley / Bruce Robertson / Tana Umaga / Conrad Smith / Fred Allen / Steve Pokere

14. John Kirwan / Jeff Wilson / Stu Wilson / Doug Howlett / Brian Williams / Ben Smith

15. George Nepia / Christian Cullen / Don Clarke / Bob Scott / Mils Muliana / John Gallagher / Fergie McCormick

100 Great Australian Players

1. Topo Rodriguez / “Wild” Bill Cerruti / John Thornett / Sir Nicholas Shehadie / Benn Robinson

2. Phil Kearns / Tom Lawton Jr / Peter Johnson / Stephen Moore / Jeremy Paul

3. Jon White / Ewen McKenzie / Andy McIntyre / Patricio Noriega / Ben Darwin / Tony D’Arcy

4. Rob Heming / Steve Cutler / Graham Cooke / Tony Miller / Nathan Sharpe

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5. John Eales / David Giffen / Steve Williams / Peter Crittle

6. Willie Ofahengaue / Owen Finegan / Simon Poidevin / Jules Guerassimoff / Tony Shaw / Matt Cockbain / Rocky Elsom / David Codey

7. Col Windon / George Smith / David Pocock / Greg Cornelson / David Wilson / Greg Davis / Tom Richards / Wylie Breckenridge / Ray Price / Chris Roche

8. Mark Loane / Toutei Kefu / Steve Tuynman / Tim Gavin / Dick Thornett / Paddy Morgan

9. Ken Catchpole / Nick Farr-Jones / John Hipwell / Des Connor / George Gregan / Wally Meagher / Cyril Burke / Chris McKivatt / Syd Malcolm

10. Mark Ella / Michael Lynagh / Stephen Larkham / Tom Lawton Sr / Phil Hawthorn / Paul McLean / Arthur Summons

11. Brendan Moon / Joe Roff / Johnny Wallace / Charlie Eastes / Jim Boyce

12. Tim Horan / John Brass / Beres Ellwood / Brett Papworth / Rod Phelps / Michael Hawker / Lloyd Walker / Matt Giteau

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13. Trevor Allan / Cyril Towers / Sterling Mortlock / Michael O’Connor / Jason Little / Daniel Herbert / Adam Ashley-Cooper / Andrew Slack / Geoff Shaw / Dick Marks

14. David Campese / Ben Tune / Dally Messenger / Jim Douglas

15. Matt Burke / Chris Latham / Roger Gould / Russell Fairfax / Alec Ross / Jim Lenehan / Dick Tooth

95 Great South African Players
1. Chris Koch / Os du Randt / Boy Louw / Mof Myburg / Flippie van der Merwe / Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira

2. Uli Schmidt / Jan Lotz / Gys Pietzer / Bismarck du Plessis / John Smit

3. Jaap Bekker / Okey Geffin / Hannes Marias / CJ van der Linde / Cobus Visagie / Phil Mostert

4. Frik du Preez / Mark Andrews / Victor Matfield / Phillip J Nel / Ian Kirkpatrick

5. Johan Claasen / “Salty” du Randt / Louis Moolman / Bakkies Botha / Moaner van Heerden / Schalk Burger Sr

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6. Jan Ellis / Ruben Kruger / Andre Venter / Rob Louw / Theuns Stofberg / Juan Smith

7. Piet Greyling / Schalk Burger / Martin Pelser / Paul Roos / Heinrich Brussow / Francois Pienaar

8. Hennie Muller / Doug Hopwood / Mourne du Plessis / Tommy Bedford / Gary Teichmann / Daan Retief / Duane Vermeulen / Pierre Spies / Bobby Skinstad

9. Joost van der Westhuisen / Danie Craven / Fourie du Preez / Dawie de Villiers / Fonnie du Toit / Frederick Luyt

10. Nass Botha / Bennie Osler / Keith Oxlee / Henry Honiball / Piet Visagie / Hannes Brewis / Basie Viviers / Joel Stransky

11. Carel du Plessis / Jannie Engelbrecht / Gerrie Germishuys / Japie Krige / Tom Van Vollenhoven

12. Mannetjies Roux / John Gainsford / Michael du Plessis / Jean de Villiers / Willie du Plessis / Ferdie Bergh

13. Danie Gerber / Joggie Jansen / Japie Mulder / Andre Snyman / Robbie Fleck / Jaque Fourie

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14. Ray Mordt / Bryan Habana / Gert Muller / James Small / Chester Williams / Syd Nomis / Paul Johnstone

15. H.O. de Villiers / Andre Joubert / Gysie Pienaar / Gerry Brand / Johan Heunis / Percy Montgomery / Johnny Buchler

100 Great Northern Hemisphere Players

1. Robert Paparemborde / Ian McLaughlin / Christian Califano / Jason Leonard / Ray McLaughlin / David Sole

2. Bryn Meredith / Keith Wood / Colin Deans / Peter Wheeler / Raphael Ibanez / Peter Jackson / Daniel Dubroca / Brian Moore

3. Fran Cotton / Graham Price / Jean-Pierre Gauret / Iain Milne / Phil Vickery / Jeff Probyn

4. Martin Johnson / Gordon Brown / Bill Beaumont / Simon Shaw / Wade Dooley

5. Willie John McBride / Lucien Mias / Paul Ackford / Benoit Dauga / Rhys Williams / Roy John

6. Ivor Jones / Richard Hill / Abdelatif Benazzi / Finlay Calder / Michel Celaya / Mike Teague

7. Peter Winterbottom / Jean-Pierre Rives / Fergus Slattery / Michael Crauste / John Jeffrey / Jean-Claude Skrela / David Leslie

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8. Walter Spanghero / Mervyn Davies / Laurent Rodriguez / Lawrence Dallaglio / Sergio Parisse / Scott Quinnell / Dean Richards / Jim Telfer

9. Gareth Edwards / Rob Howley / Haydn Tanner / Dickie Jeeps / Jerome Gallion / Jacques Fouroux / Gary Armstrong

10. Jack Kyle / Cliff Morgan / Barry John / Phil Bennett / Ollie Campbell / John Rutherford / Jonathan Davies / Johnny Wilkinson

11. Tony O’Reilly / David Duckham / Shane Williams / J.J. Williams / Emile N’Tamack / Ian Smith

12. Mike Gibson / Jo Maso / Dider Codorniou / Dennis Charvet / Bleddyn Williams / Claude Davey / Will Greenwood

13. Philippe Sella / Jeff Butterfield / Brian O’Driscoll / Scott Gibbs / Gwyn Nicholls / John Dawes / Jeremy Guscott

14. Gerald Davies / Ieuan Evans / Rory Underwood / Peter Jackson / Simon Geoghegan

15. Serge Blanco / J.P.R. Williams / Andy Irvine / Gavin Hastings / Pierre Villepreux / Ken Scotland / Jason Robinson / Terry Davies

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Who have I missed? Who should be included? Who shouldn’t? Open to your thoughts, Roarers.