The world cup has been the pinnacle of international rugby since its inception in 1987. Over the years, it has showcased some of the finest players in the sport, who have gone on to become legends in their own right. With the upcoming Rugby World Cup 2023 set to be held in France, it is the perfect time to look back at some of the greatest world cup players of all time.
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Jonah Lomu from New Zealand
There is no doubt that Jonah Lomu is the most iconic player in Rugby World Cup history. He burst onto the scene in the 1995 tournament, scoring seven tries in five games and terrorizing opposition defences with his size and pace. He continued to dominate in the 1999 tournament, scoring eight tries in seven games. Lomu remains the all-time top try scorer in world cup history with 15 tries in 11 games.
Richie McCaw from the New Zealand Rugby World Cup team
Richie McCaw is widely regarded as one of the greatest rugby players of all time. He led New Zealand to victory in the 2011 and 2015 RWC tournaments and was named the IRB Player of the Year three times. He was known for his tireless work rate, excellent leadership skills, and outstanding ability at the breakdown.
Dan Carter from New Zealand
Dan Carter is another New Zealand legend who left a lasting impact on the Rugby World Cup. He played a key role in the All Blacks' victory in the 2011 tournament, scoring a record 159 points throughout the competition. He was also instrumental in the All Blacks' successful defence of the trophy in 2015, scoring 19 points in the final.
Martin Johnson from the England Rugby World Cup team
Martin Johnson is widely regarded as one of the greatest locks in rugby history. He captained England to victory in the 2003 Rugby World Cup, playing a key role in their dominant forward pack. He was also named the IRB Player of the Year in 2003.
David Campese Australia Rugby World Cup team
David Campese was a mercurial talent who lit up the 1991 RWC. He scored six tries in six games, including a memorable solo effort against New Zealand in the semi-finals. Campese remains one of the most exciting and unpredictable players in Rugby World Cup history.
Michael Jones from New Zealand RWC squad
Michael Jones was a talented flanker who played in two Rugby World Cups for the All Blacks. He was a key part of the team that won the inaugural tournament in 1987 and was named the Player of the Tournament. He was also a key player in the All Blacks' run to the final in 1991.
Jonny Wilkinson from England RWC
Jonny Wilkinson will forever be remembered for his drop goal in the dying moments of the 2003 Rugby World Cup final, which secured England's victory over Australia. He scored all of England's points in the final and was named the IRB Player of the Year in 2003. Rugby fans can book RWC 2023 Tickets on our website at exclusively discounted prices.
Francois Pienaar from the South Africa Rugby World Cup team
François Pienaar captained South Africa to victory in the 1995 Rugby World Cup, which was the country's first major sporting success since the end of apartheid. He was a tireless flanker who led by example, and his partnership with Nelson Mandela has become an iconic moment in RWC history.
John Eales from Australia RWC
John Eales was a towering lock who played in two Rugby World Cups for Australia. He captained the team to victory in the 1999 tournament, scoring a crucial try in the final against France. He was also named the IRB Player of the Year in 1999.
Last three Rugby World Cup Final winners
South Africa was the 2019 Rugby World Cup Final winners
New Zealand, as they are inclined to do most years, arrived at the 2019 RWC as the contest favourites. They had won the last two contests on the spin and were hoping to make it a historic three-peat in the far-east four years ago. They were shocked however by Eddie Jones’ England in the semi-final. Spurred on by the wisdom of captain Owen Farrell, the English ran out 19-7 winners in Yokohama.
Setting up a reappearance of the 2007 final against South Africa. That year, however, the South African rugby national team was a different beast. The final was tight for long periods, however, in the second period, the South Africans ran away with it, winning 32-12 and picking up their third Web Ellis Trophy.
New Zealand were the 2015 & 2011 Rugby World Cup Final winners
The 2015 RWC Final was held in England and was won by New Zealand, who won their third World Cup trophy and their second in a row. Becoming the first country to efficaciously retain the cup. New Zealand was led by their skipper Richie McCaw and a loyal cast of world-class players. Such as Dan Carter and Ma’a Nonu. They have beaten Australia in the final by 34-17.
The Rugby World Cup 12 years ago was held in New Zealand and was won by the home state, who held their second World Cup title. New Zealand was once again managed by the great McCaw, Carter, Nonu and Conrad Smith. The crowds defeated France 8-7 in one of the tightest finals in the past tournament. The French rate plenty of respect for their routine in the Final. They were assaulted 37-17 by New Zealand in the group phases but achieved to fight their way past England and Wales to reach their third-ever final.
South Africa was the 2007 Rugby World Cup, Final winners
The 2007 Rugby World Cup Final was held in France and was won by South Africa, who won their second World Cup championship. South Africa was led by their captain John Smit and included stars such as Bryan Habana, Fourie du Preez and Jaque Fourie. South Africa has beaten the England team by 15-6 in a debated final which saw a try from English winger Mark Cueto contentiously ruled out.
England had a dreadful beginning to the contest. They barely wore past the lowly USA in their opening group match, before being assaulted by South Africa in their second, losing 36-0 in an overwhelming beating. But the return of Jonny Wilkinson saw the English power past Australia and France in the knockout phases, setting them up for a second successive final.
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