Over the years players have come and gone in rugby. Some will be remembered forever whilst others will be rapidly consigned to the history books. There are however some players who have left their lasting mark on the game as we know it today.
This isn’t a list of the best players to have ever taken to a rugby field, simply just players who have had a wider impact on the game than just the results they helped their teams achieve. Here I take a look at the 5 players who have changed the game forever;
These days the site of giant wingers rampaging down the wing is all to common (especially in Cardiff) however the first and in my opinion still the best was Jonah Lomu. The huge All Black winger completely changed the perception of wingers being the small quick players as he bundled over World Class players countless times. Lomu really has become the blue print that many modern wingers aspire to replicate.
Zinzan Brooke proved that forwards can be more than just bosh merchants charging it up the centre of the field. His ball handling skills were outrageous whilst he also had a decent boot on him. The skills he displayed have seen the rise of the play-making loose forward who can fit seamlessly into the pack or the backs. Unfortunately it still seems most forwards are some way off Brooke’s ability to hit drop goals.
World Cup winner and British & Irish Lions tourist Phil Vickery has helped to redefine the way in which modern props play the game. His ball carrying and all round-fitness ensured he was always involved in a game, even outside of the scrum. This has seen a number of props come through in recent years who may not be the strongest scrummagers but offer so much more around the pitch.
Brian O’Driscoll is not only one of the stand-out players of his generation, but has also provided a template for all modern centres to follow. He perfectly combines pace, power and excellent running lines with solid defence and a rarely matched ability at the breakdown. O’Driscoll’s ability to play almost as an additional loose forward at rucks has seen many modern centres develop their work at the breakdown.
Gareth Edwards was quite simply the player who proved the scrum halves can do much more than just whine and snap at the ankles of the forwards. Edwards was the complete package, able to kick, tackle, run and pass. He is the kind of player that would still look World Class even if he was to be playing today and really helped add more athleticism into the game of rugby.
Let us know who you think has had the biggest influence on the world of rugby…