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Top 10 Greatest Rugby Players Of All Time

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  • Post last modified:February 5, 2023

In this post, we will check out the top 10 greatest rugby players of all time.

Rugby is a sport that has been enjoyed by millions of people around the world for over a century.

Throughout the years, the sport has seen some of the most talented and skilled players who have left an indelible mark on the game.

These players have become legends in their own right, and their achievements continue to inspire future generations.

From powerful forwards to nimble backs, these players have been instrumental in making rugby one of the most popular and respected sports in the world.

In this article, we will be taking a look at the top 10 greatest rugby players of all time, who have made an impact on the sport and left a legacy that will never be forgotten.

Top 10 Greatest Rugby Players Of All Time

10 Zinzan Brooke

Rugby legend Zinzan Brooke says Jersey is like New Zealand; a small place  punching above its weight | ITV News Channel
Image Credit- ITV

Zinzan Brooke is a former New Zealand rugby union footballer who played at number eight. He is widely regarded as one of the best flankers in the history of rugby union.

Brooke played a total of 58 tests for New Zealand, and 42 non-international matches for the All Blacks, and captained Auckland Blues to Super 12 championships in 1996 and 1997.

He was also one of the significant figures in Auckland’s dominance in the National Provincial Championship during the late 1980s and 1990s. He scored 17 tries in test matches, which was a world record at that time as a forward.

9 Gareth Edwards

Image credit- The Mirror

Gareth Edwards is a Welsh former rugby union player who played scrum-half and has been described by the BBC as “arguably the greatest player ever to play in Welsh jersey”.

In 2003, in a poll of international rugby players instructed by Rugby World magazine, Edwards announced the greatest player of all time.

He played in the 1970s, but even if he played now, he would still be the best. He was excellent at running, passing, kicking, and reading the game.

Edwards was noticeable in the Welsh national team that was to the fore in European rugby in the ’60s and ’70s. He is one of a short group of Welsh players to have won three Grand Slams including Gerald Davies, JPR Williams, Ryan Jones, Adam Jones, Gethin Jenkins, and Alun Wyn Jones.

8 Jonny Wilkinson

Image Credit- Six Nations Rugby

Jonny Wilkinson is an English former rugby union player. A fly-half, he played for Newcastle Falcons and Toulon and portrayed England and the British & Irish Lions.

He is especially known for scoring the winning drop goal in the 2003 Rugby World Cup Final and is widely recognized as one of the best rugby union players of all time.

Jonny also led his club team Leicester Tigers to the conquest of the league six times and also succeeded in the Heineken Cup consecutively.

He is surely one of the most decorated athletes of all time. Jonny is considered one of the greatest rugby players of all time.

Wilkinson made a huge impact on the sport and continues to make an impact even after retirement. He is known for his ferocious tackling style and is a big inspiration to players all over the world.

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His career and life story is amazing examples of how hard work and dedication can lead to success. He is number 8 in our list of the top 10 greatest rugby players of all time.

7 Martin Johnson

Image credit- The Times

Martin Johnson is an English retired rugby union player who portrayed and captained England and Leicester in a career spanning 16 seasons.

He captained England to victory in the 2003 Rugby World Cup and is considered one of the greatest locks ever to have played, and one of England’s greatest ever players.

Martin became England captain in 1999 and guided the side in 39 matches, the third-most ever. He was captain as England got to the quarter-finals of the 1999 Rugby World Cup.

He also won the Grand Slam in the 2003 Six Nations Championship and as England won the 2003 Rugby World Cup.

The 2003 Rugby World Cup Final was his 84th and final international match. During his club career, he played 362 games for Leicester, his only senior club, as well as the cup in 1993 and the league in 1995.

He was also captain of the side as they won the 1997 Pilkington Cup and four consecutive Premiership titles between 1999–2002, and became the first side to retain the European Cup, winning in 2001 and 2002. 

6 Jonah Lomu

Image Credit- Guardian

Jonah Lomu was a New Zealand rugby union player. He became the youngest ever All-Black when he played his first international in 1994 at the age of 19 years and 45 days.

He is considered the first true international superstar of rugby and therefore had a tremendous impact on the game. Lomu was inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame on 9 October 2007.

He played for several domestic New Zealand provincial or Super Rugby sides, and late in his career played club rugby in both Wales and France. Jonah Lomu is number 6 in our list of the top 10 greatest rugby players of all time.

5 David Campese

Image Credit- British & Irish Lions

David Campese is one of the greatest rugby union players of all time. He was born and raised in Italy, but later moved to Australia and played rugby for the Melbourne Rebels club.

In 1983, he equaled the then-Australian record for most tries in a Test, scoring four for Australia against the USA.

He participated in the inaugural 1987 Rugby World Cup, during which he broke the then-world record for most tries scored by an international rugby player in the semi-final against France. 

Campese was a member of the Wallabies that won the 1991 Rugby World Cup. He is known for his powerful running and kicking skills.

4 Brian O’Driscoll

Image Credit- Sports360

Brian O’Driscoll is an Irish former professional rugby union player. He played at outside center for the Irish provincial team Leinster and for Ireland.

He captained Ireland from 2003 until 2012 and captained the British & Irish Lions for their 2005 tour of New Zealand. Brian is considered by critics one of the greatest rugby players of all time.

O’Driscoll is the fourth most-capped player in rugby union history, having played 141 test matches: 133 for Ireland (83 as captain), and 8 for the Lions.

He scored 46 tries for Ireland and 1 try for the Lions in 2001, making him the most elevated try scorer of all time in Irish Rugby.

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Brian ODriscoll is surely the greatest rugby player of all time, and his accomplishments and influence on the sport will be felt for years to come. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors.

3 Michael Jones

top 10 greatest rugby players of all time
Image Credit- Stuff

Michael Jones is a New Zealand former rugby union player and coach. He was anointed by Rugby World magazine as the third best All Black of the 20th century after Colin Meads and Sean Fitzpatrick.

John Hart, who first picked him for Auckland, called him “almost the perfect rugby player”. Jones’s career was blighted by injuries, notably two serious knee injuries (in 1989 and 1997) and a broken jaw in 1993.

Due to this he only played 55 international games. Michael Jones is number 3 on our list of the top 10 greatest rugby players of all time

2 Dan Carter

top 10 greatest rugby players of all time
Image Credit- Eurosport

Dan Carter is a retired New Zealand rugby union player. Carter played for Crusaders in New Zealand and played for New Zealand’s national team, the All Blacks.

He is the highest point scorer in test match rugby and is regarded by many professionals as the greatest ever first five-eighth (fly-half) in the history of the game.

He has anointed the International Rugby Board Player of the Year in 2005, 2012, and 2015 and has won three Super Rugby titles with the Crusaders, and nine Tri-Nations and Rugby Championships with the All Blacks.

1 Richie McCaw

top 10 greatest rugby players of all time
Image Credit- Eurosport

Richie McCaw is a retired New Zealand professional rugby union player. He captained the national team, the All Blacks, in 110 out of his 148 test matches, and won two Rugby World Cups.

He has won the World Rugby player of the year award a joint record three times and was the most capped test rugby player of all time from August 2015 to October 2020. 

McCaw was awarded World Rugby player of the decade (2011–2020) in 2021. Richie is also the winner of the New Zealand sportsman of the decade award, the highest sporting honor a sports individual can achieve in New Zealand.

His discipline and self-belief are what has helped him achieve so much, and anyone can be successful if they set their mind to it!

He is known for his humility and the way he carries himself on and off the rugby field, which has endeared him to many. If you’re looking for an inspirational story of how to overcome obstacles and achieve success, look no further than the career of Richie McCaw.


Without a doubt, the world-class rugby players on this list are the best of the best. They have all achieved international success and set the world alight with their rugby skills.

However, it is Richie McCaw who takes the crown as the greatest rugby player of all time. He has won all of the major rugby trophies and was an integral part of the New Zealand rugby team that won the World Cup.

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Kamran Khan

A geek, who just loves to update sports, gaming, and tech updates from around the world to the other geeks out there. A passionate sports lover, a tech geek from the mind, and a gamer from the heart.