We take a look at 23 of the greatest rugby quotes from and about the players who make this game so great…

1.”Remember that rugby is a team game; all 14 of you make sure you pass the ball to Jonah.”

FAX to All Blacks before 1995 World Cup semi-final.

2.”You’ve got to get your first tackle in early, even if it’s late.”

Ray Gravell

Welsh hardman explains his rugby philosophy.

3.”The relationship between the Welsh and the English is based on trust and understanding. They don’t trust us and we don’t understand them.”

Dudley Wood

English RFU secretary on Anglo-Welsh relations, 1986.

4.”A player of ours has been proven guilty of biting. That’s a scar that will never heal.”

Andy Robinson

Bath (in England) coach after his prop Kevin Yates was suspended for taking a chunk out of an opposing flanker’s ear

5.”Beer and Rugby are more or less synonymous.”

Chris Laidlaw

New Zealand All Black.

6.”Rugby is a wonderful show: dance, opera and, suddenly, the blood of a killing.”

Richard Burton

Welsh actor.

7.”Rugby is great. The players don’t wear helmets or padding; they just beat the living daylights out of each other and then go for a beer. I love that.”

Joe Theismann

American football player.

8.”Rugby is a good occasion for keeping thirty bullies far from the center of the city.”

Oscar Wilde

Irish writer.


9.”Rugby is a game for the mentally deficient… That is why it was invented by the British. Who else but an Englishman could invent an oval ball?”

Peter Cook

English comedian and satirist.

10.”Rugby players are either piano shifters or piano movers. Fortunately, I am one of those who can play a tune.”

Pierre Danos

French rugby player.

11.”Look what these bastards have done to Wales. They’ve taken our coal, our water, our steel. They buy our houses and they only live in them for a fortnight every 12 months. What have they given us? Absolutely nothing. We’ve been exploited, raped, controlled and punished by the English – and that’s who you are playing this afternoon.”

Phil Bennett

Pre-game pep talk before facing England, 1977.

12.”We’ve lost seven of our last eight matches. Only team that we’ve beaten was Western Samoa. Good job we didn’t play the whole of Samoa.”

Gareth Davies

Welsh rugby player, 1989.

13.”The French selectors never do anything by halves; for the first international of the season against Ireland they dropped half the three-quarter line.”

Nigel Starmer-Smith

BBC TV (1974).

14.”The job of Welsh coach is like a minor part in a Quentin Tarantino film: you stagger on, you hallucinate, nobody seems to understand a word you say, you throw up, you get shot. Poor old Kevin Bowring has come up through the coaching structure so he knows what it takes … 15 more players than Wales have at present.”

Mark Reason

Total Sport (1996).

15.”Rugby is played by men with odd shaped balls.”

Car bumper sticker

16.”The pub is as much a part of rugby as is the playing field.”

John Dickenson


17.”The women sit, getting colder and colder, on a seat getting harder and harder, watching oafs, getting muddier and muddier.”

Virginia Graham

US writer and commentator, referring to the ‘muddied oafs’ image conjured up by Rudyard Kipling in his poem ‘The Islanders’ (1903).

18.”Rugby may have many problems, but the gravest is undoubtedly that of the persistence of summer.”

Chris Laidlaw

19.”The advantage law is the best law in rugby, because it lets you ignore all the others for the good of the game.”

Derek Robinson

20.“We’ve lost seven of our last eight matches. Only team that we’ve beaten was Western Samoa. Good job we didn’t play the whole of Samoa.”

Gareth Davies (1989)

21.“In 1823, William Webb Ellis first picked up the ball in his arms and ran with it. And for the next 156 years forwards have been trying to work out why.”

Sir Tasker Watkins (1979)

22.“Rugby backs can be identified because they generally have clean jerseys and identifiable partings in their hair… come the revolution the backs will be the first to be lined up against the wall and shot for living parasitically off the work of others.”

Peter Fizsimmons

23.“Grandmother or tails, sir?”

To Princess Anne’s son Peter Phillips, Gordonstoun School’s rugby captain, for his pre-match coin-toss preference from an anonymous rugby referee in 1995.