For a number of reasons, certain players seem to truly stand out in rugby. Different talents and skills all mark the measure of the man. Considering it has only been a professional sport for about 20 years, it has gained popularity rather rapidly and of course, not everyone shares the same opinion although these few are admired by many.
Hailing from Wales, Justin Tipuric brings quite a bit to the table. He is known not only for his ability to score. Justin has done stints with a number of top level teams giving him the opportunity to really showcase his talents. His speed and energy drive the plays and he has an all-round athletic aptitude and yet he puts a great deal of focus and concentration on his training. He is exceptionally dedicated to the game. Some of his best moments are highlighted on his YouTube channel where you can watch him in action.
Sean O’Brien is Ireland’s darling and packs a lot of power into his game. He debuted in 2008 and has worked hard to get to where he is today. As a member of the Lions Australian tour in 2013, he demonstrated amazing versatility in his style – running, breaking, throwing and carrying the ball. Currently he plays Flanker for Leinster and was named ERC Player of the Year in 2011.
Although he got his start in Wales, Martyn Williams has made an international name for himself as well, playing for the home union as well as clubs in Ireland and Britain Lions, touring in 2001 and 2005. While he retired in 2007, he has subsequently been inducted as a member of the British Empire’s order two years ago to honour him for his outstanding career in rugby.
One of the absolute best captains in the game is Richie McCaw out of New Zealand with a claim of over a hundred wins. His versatile lends itself to almost every position and if you’ve got him in your lineup, you’ll be certain to see him get it just right, whether he is carrying the ball or is on deck. His experience is apparent and he plays with intelligence and plans his next move to go for the best overall strategy.
There is not a better rounder out there than South Africa’s Francois Louw. With a towering presence he still manages to make the moves and is not simply around for the tackle. On the tail end of a three year contract with Bath, Louw also plays flanker for the South African national team. At 28 years of age, he’s been on the pitch professionally for six year so he has some good years left to wield his tricky style that leaves opposing teams baffled in his dust.
As 2013’s IRB Player of the Year, Kieran Read plays beautifully, with a graceful style that is not typical of rugby. He takes his time to make deliberate moves whether he’s on the wide channels, at lineout or in the tackle. He makes it all seem quite effortless and the All Blacks are reaping the rewards of his presence, giving him every opportunity to play the game his own way. Read strives to continuously improve his game in all areas as well as working to develop his leadership abilities.