The Over-Rated XV


Before we start, let’s set the precedent.

The meaning of over-rated is that to have a higher opinion of someone or something than is deserved. With that in mind, There is no denying these are very good rugby players, but maybe not quite as good as they are made out to be.

1. Tendai Mtawarira: Just because stadiums shake with his nickname any time he’s on the ball does not make him a superstar. In his last international against Wales he made six carries for a measly six metres and was part of a front row that conceded three penalties. A blip, you say? No. Against England a fortnight earlier his stats were even worse with two carries for one metre and conceded two penalties himself and against Ireland in the autumn he made just the one run for no gain whatsoever.

2. Rory Best: Most of us would give a limb to pull on a Lions jersey. Maybe two to walk out as captain. The Ulsterman was given that privilege in 2013 against a third-string Brumbies outfit, but led his side to a 14-12 defeat after a lineout horror show. Analysing the defeat, he said the Australians “just wanted it more”. Some leader.

3. Euan Murray: Gone are the days where a tighthead’s only job is to hold up a scrum. But Murray didn’t really do that. In his last international outing against Ireland, his front row lost 50% of their scrums while Ireland won all 10 of theirs. In the loose, he made just one tackle. That was it. Against England he lost two scrums and conceded a penalty while against Italy – a game the Scots lost – he made no carries, made three tackles and missed one, lost two scrums and the front row conceded three penalties.

4. James Horwill: When you’re looking at locks, you want someone who is going to put their head down and smash rucks for 80 minutes, carry when they are asked to and be a lineout option. Horwill is ok at all of these, but nothing more, and was handed the Wallaby captaincy. Hopefully his move to Harlequins will shine a light on his mediocrity.

5. Ryan Jones: Maybe a bit unfair now because he’s plying his trade in the Championship, but even in his pomp he was infuriatingly average for an international captain. In the 2009 Autumn Internationals, he made 10 carries against the All Blacks for 15 yards and six carries for five yards against Argentina. Effectively falling over for a man of 6’3”.

6. Tom Croft: Quite possibly the most over-rated of them all. It’s easy to look good when you’re taking spectacular balls at the back of a lineout and cruising in for tries on the wing.

7. Schalk Burger: If you shaved Burger’s hair, would you notice him on the pitch? Looks impressive when he goes about his abrasive business with blonde locks being thrown from side to side, which is why he picks up plaudits. And finger in Luke Fitzgerald’s eye in 2009 – unforgivable.

8. Jamie Heaslip: Another of the Tom Croft mould. Looks pretty on a hard track in the wide channels in front of a pack going forward. Something he’s been gifted at Leinster for years. Fell out of favour on the Lions tour to the superior Toby Faletau when the pack creaked.

9. Fourie Du Preez: Widely regarded as the best scrum half in the world at his peak. And rightly so. But let’s look at his competition. In 2007, he won the World Cup by beating England in the final. England’s trio of scrum-halfs for the tournament were Andy Gommersall, Peter Richards and Shaun Perry. Hardly the who’s who of the world’s greatest. He got lucky in a generation of average nines and then ran off to Japan.

10. Johnny Sexton: In the autumn he was being talked up as the best 10 in the world in many quarters. This is the very definition of being over-rated. He is a very good fly-half. Inspired for Leinster in the Heineken Cup Final against Northampton, manoeuvres Ireland nicely around the park, but is nowhere near the worlds best. Kicking crumbled a number of occasions under pressure and struggles without a certain O’Driscoll outside him.

11. Jonny May: One try against New Zealand – and it was one hell of a try – and people ignored the fact there was nothing much to his game aside from languid hips and some pace. People saw through Ashton’s defensive frailties. The same will become of May. The club scene is very different to the international one.

12. Gordon D’Arcy: Anyone can look good inside Brian O’Driscoll. D’Arcy made a living from people doubling up and tripling up on BOD, which opened doors for him in attack. Used by Schmidt a lot as a decoy runner or simple pivot man in his Leinster days and later with Ireland.

13. Billy Twelvetrees: An international centre who cannot finish a two on one. His skillset for a supposed distributing midfield man is appalling. This isn’t the only example of his blundering moments in attack

14. Alex Cuthbert: Everything that’s wrong with modern rugby. Can’t pass. Can’t kick. Can’t kick. Can’t read a game. Can’t defend. But he’s tall and can run really fast.

15. Leigh Halfpenny: The best kicker in the world. Brave as brave can be in defence. Solid as you like under a high ball. But the modern game has evolved and a 15 needs to offer more. After his untimely injury against Italy, Liam Williams switched to fullback and Wales ran riot to score 47 second half points. Halfpenny has scored the bulk of his 12 tries on the wing. His counter-attacking game has improved vastly over the last year, but picking lines off centres like your Folaus, Le Rouxs, Browns and Kearneys of this world is still a way off.



About Gareth Davies

Captain and fly-half of Hove RFC in London One South. Previous clubs include Glamorgan Wanderers (Welsh Premiership), Llantrisant (Wales 2 East), Penarth (Wales 2 East) and Worcester Students RFC (BUCS Premiership North). Full-time news reporter for The Argus newspaper in Sussex and shortlisted for the 2015 Young Journalist of the Year at the Regional Press Awards.


  1. Brett Johan Birkenstock

    What a joke…

    – Skalk, Fourie, Leigh, Jonny, Gordon. …

    Please, all class!

  2. If you watch Rory best on a regular basis playing for ulster he wouldn’t be in this team. A lot of his work goes unseen and is a fantastic team player and leader for ulster. Looking forward to cj stander becoming irish qualified to take the 8 shirt off Heaslip for Ireland though. And in the case of jonny sexton, if you take him out of the Ireland team they are nowhere near as good, mark of a great player I think. D’Arcy is not overrated as I don’t think anyone has ever rated him, he spent so long in the Ireland team simply because there was virtually no one else to pick from. That’s my two cents as an Irishman, agree with most of the other picks

  3. This is a joke, convinced the morons that write this have no exposure to rugby.

  4. This page is a joke now, what a stupid list.

  5. This is a disgrace

  6. Maybe the author should cut back on the ale?
    I already knew he was a back with no idea of what forward play is, but this time even the backs get hit with the bs.

    From this list only Beast, Heaslip and May sort of belong here. And even Beast and Heaslip would be hotly debated, and rightfully so.

    Everyone can have a game, a tour or even a year off form, and they wont be overrated hacks because of it. Is a guy a lesser player because he plays alongside one, if not the best center in the history of rugby? Anyone would look good alongside BOD? More like nobody would look as good as BOD with him on the team. Also, if the world suffers from a shortage of quality in a certain position, does it diminuish you being the best? A bit, but you’re certainly not overrated, you don’t even need to be the best in the world to be good or a hero of the game. Also, talking about IRB player of the year Schalk Burger and calling him overrated proves nothing other than you know nothing about rugby. He is an all time great of the game and a stand up gentleman and person, who has overcome more than most. Sexton is a game changer and with the injuries to Carter, he is currently the best in the world. Who do you rate is currently better than him? Farrel? Cruden? Biggar? Don’t make me laugh. What’s next? Calling Dan Carter overrated because of his injury woes? Calling O’Connell overrated because he never won a WC?

    I suggest you get out of your parents’ dusty basement and actually use your computer to watch some rugby, instead of this tripe.

    This is the last article I’ll read on intheloose. Not because it offended me too much, but because it’s the final sign of the rapidly decaying quality of its articles and writers

  7. Garth Davis write about cat stuck in tree for local paper and thinks he’s a real writer. Lol Hacko.

  8. Jamie Heaslip is not over-rated. Just because he doesn’t do all the flashly work doesn’t mean he over-rated. His work rate is one of the best in world is always up there in the leading tackler every game.

  9. Ashley Schoeman Jnr

    Hahahah this is the biggest joke ever… A monkey could run a better page than these brainless bafoons. I hope the admin realises how stupid they actually are because it’s beyond the point of funny now. U know less than nothing. Idiots

  10. You must have been high when writing this, well that or you are trying to get some attention. poorly written, and so inaccurate. What a joke

  11. *Runs through England halfback options who were indeed totally shit in comparison*

    Did you forget Piri Weepu, Byron Kelleher, Peter Stringer and the great Augustin Pichot were there? Even Fiji’s Mosese Rauluni was better competition that year!

    du Preez is even today only second to Aaron Smith, and by no means overrated – oh wait, let’s run through England’s current halfback options and then call Aaron Smith overrated when the All Blacks next hammer England..

  12. What a joke of an article.

    Firstly you argue Rory Best as overrated by using an example of one lions game 3 years ago, the man has been key in Ireland 6 nations for the last 2 years. Secondly you’re calling Schalk Burger overrated, he made over 60 carries and 30 gain line breaks in the 2015 world cup. Thirdly you’re calling Fourie Du Preez arguably the 2nd best scrum half in the world at the moment overrated?! He carried south africa to the WC semi finals. Finally you dare to call Gordon D’arcy over rated? One of Irelands best centres in the last 10 years, he has an unbelievable skillset for a man his size and always put his body on the line for Ireland.

  13. You gotta be joking with this stupid article. Or you dont know to much about rugby. Fourie du Preez by far the best scrumhalf ever, if you talking about all aspects of a game. A step above Joost with his positional play, tactical thinking & kicking at the right time. Joost was only faster & bigger. No other scrumhalf has ever ruled & controlled a game like Fourie has. With the 2009 Lions series, it was him that worked those games, and because of stupid and untimely sub changes by an incompetent coach led the Lions in the back door to make it look close. You must be From the British Isles reading this article

  14. Utter Bollix as we Irish would say

  15. yawn, clickbait article….dont rise to this!

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