100 Cap VX: A tribute to the heroes of the game

Oct 19 • General News, International, RWC 2015, Springboks • 2616 Views • Comments Off on 100 Cap VX: A tribute to the heroes of the game

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Written by Benedict Chanakira @bchanakira2

Some stalwarts have been unfortunate to not get to a 100 caps but some have manged to. Juan Smith, Nick Farr-Jones Martin Johnson, Os du Randt among the real rugby heroes to miss the privilege.

This is a side that consists of the 100 cap club in World rugby. Players that have played over a century of games for their country. These players that have been afforded the opportunity are less than forty but in there are some quality world beaters. Players that have managed to re write history; won World Cups and Six Nations titles, cult heroes in their nations but more importantly brilliant rugby players. It is not easy to come up with a best XV but here goes.

Jason Leonard (ENG)

A rugby legend in England, Jason was one of the best players of all time. Leonard took part in four World Cups and can be hailed as one of the pioneers of the centurions. A contributor to the mean English pack back in the early 90’s and towards their end. Jason was at home at loose head but could also slot in at tight head.

John Smit (SA)

One of South Africa’s greatest captains. Smit could say he had a nightmare in his 100th game but was an unbelievable servant to the SA rugby fraternity. Smit managed to leave a mark on SA rugby and despite a dip towards the end of his career showed a strong set piece, impressive tight play and some exceptional hands especially the catch vs Australia a few years ago.

Adam Jones (Wales)

The Welsh man gets the edge over Martin Castrogiovanni for me. It’s not the hair style but rather the dominance he offered the Welsh in the scrum. Such was the confidence of the man that he attempted a drop goal in a game. Cheeky man. Jones will anchor this scrum after showing some great mental strength and ability in the 2009 Lions Tour when he was to bring the Beast back to earth after he had ended the career of a certain English man.

Paul O’Connell (IRE)

The Irish captain may have ended his career after that injury at the world Cup but will go down as one of the greats of not just Irish rugby but World Rugby. Paul was a pivotal factor in the Irish managing to disrupt the Springbok line out in the last few years as the giant lock was exceptional in the air as he was with ball in hand.

Victor Matfield (SA)

The greatest line out operator the game has seen, and possibly will ever see. Matfield is the master of the line out. While to this day he shows glimpses he has had age catch up with him. Matfield has always been a credible leader and while being the looser lock he managed to put on some fantastic shows including a kick, chase and score (though scruffy, pulled it off).

George Smith (AUS)

One of Australia’s greatest players. Dominant at the break down and adept with ball in hand, George was still in with a shout for the 2015 Rugby World Cup squad. Smith has contributed vastly to the game and could easily be the pioneer of the fetcher role in the game as he managed to perfect it with the ability to carry the ball.

Richie McCaw (NZ)

The greatest player in the history of the game in my opinion. Richie managed to win two IRB players of the year awards, played countless match winning performances as the deciding factor Richie has adapted his game and caught on with the times as he has changed up his roles. McCaw’s work ethic remains second to none and will also captain this 100 club side.

Sergio Parisse (ITA)

The Italian legend is the heart of the current Italian side and could even be counted among the greatest players to have ever played for Italy. X-factor, adaptable with tight play, exceptional positional sense on the field and will be able to create something out of nothing. Parisse is another leader in this squad, who will bring character to the side and enthusiasm.

George Gregan (AUS)

The Australian number 9 was one of the greatest number 9’s ever. He was able to conjure up a piece of genius anytime and will be remembered fondly for not just his crisp passes, darting runs but also for the move dubbed the Gregan which has been used from club rugby right to the top with Aaron Smith and SBW the most recent execution of the nine moving across and executing a pass behind his back.

Stephen Larkham (AUS)

The general. One of the game’s greatest 10’s and his ability to control play, be the engineer and drive a side. Stephen was a player that may have had a weaker tactical kicking approach to other greats, he was second to none when it comes to setting up a backline to attack. 1999 will be a fond memory for Australia as a full back was moved to fly half, excelled and his first ever drop goal at test level aided them in winning a match made him a special player.

David Campese (AUS)

Goose-step. Try! This was David Campese. He will go down as one of the greatest finishers ever. The Australian legend was able to keep his side’s score board ticking but also doing a few brilliant runs that pulled them out of trouble. Campese will be able to provide, pace, defence, a heavy dose of X-factor and entertainment.

Daniel Carter (NZ)

At home at 10 and 12. Now Dan’s been able to play at 12 in the Super Rugby, most recently this season and it is worth noting that he is the record Test point’s holder in Rugby Union. Carter will play as the second play maker and will be able to orchestrate the back line alongside Larkham.

Brian O’Driscoll (IRE)

The greatest 13 of all time. Brian has destroyed every time he has played against at least once. Brian was classy, hard on defence and had some serious speed. Brian was brilliant at organising a defensive line as he was in throwing a moment of brilliance with a pass between the legs or out the back door. A pure great.

Bryan Habana (SA)

The top try scorer alongside Jonah Lomu, the speed merchant. Habana will go down as the greatest finisher in rugby history and possibly Rugby World Cup history. Habana is a real champion. The Toulon winger has won everything that can be won as a player and is an absolute legend. His defensive approach is high risk, high reward with the willingness to shoot up on many occasions resulting in countless intercept tries. There is no better man to be on this side of the wing.

Mils Muliaina (NZ)

The World Cup winner was an exceptional player. Reliable under the high ball, able to counter and with a decent boot you have to bank on the former all black as your 100 cap’s last line of defence. It will come down to also having a side that prefers to play running rugby with a driver like Stephan he will be able to come into play and be decisive.

Who would you have in your XV ?


Photo: Anton Geyser

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