Thursday, May 12, 2011

Rugby Top 200

From the “you’ve got to be joking” department, UK rugby writer for The Sunday Times Stephen Jones has named me #26 on a list of the 200 most influential people in the history of rugby football. Stephen compiled the list over several weeks in late 2010 and it has just been sent to me. I fell off my chair. He has put together an absorbing list of players, coaches, captains, administrators, journalists, commentators and all-round inspirational players.

A few years back, NZRU CEO David Moffett (#142 on the list) and I negotiated the All Blacks’ sponsorship deal with Adidas. I had previously led Steinlager’s sponsorship of the All Blacks, but there I was in 1997 negotiating with the late Robert Louis-Dreyfus the biggest sponsorship deal in New Zealand sporting history.

Some were expecting we would land Nike and plunge the All Blacks into some sort of global sporting carnival. No way. Adidas loved the values and legacy of the All Blacks, came onboard with total love and respect, and remain principal sponsor to this day. Stephen Jones calls it “one of the most successful marketing partnerships anywhere in sport”, and he’s correct. The All Blacks are the #1 ranked team in the world, they have the best historical win record of any team in sport, they are the team everyone wants to beat.

There are 22 New Zealanders on Stephen’s list – Jonah Lomu is his choice for the most influential rugby person of all time for the most electrifying performance in the history of the game, the World Cup semi-final between the All Blacks and England in 1995 in South Africa when he scored four tries. Colin Meads is 7 and my great mate Sean Fitzpatrick is 10, George Nepia 58, Vic Cavanagh 129, Don Clarke 170 and Farah Palmer 196. USA Rugby’s Nigel Melville is 111.

I’ve been through Stephen’s selection of players and picked my World XV based as much on character as on skill and achievements.

Fullback: Serge Blanco
Wingers: Jonah Lomu, David Campese
Centres: Mike Gibson, Dan Carter
Fly Half: Hugo Porta
Halfback: Gareth Edwards
No 8: Wayne Shelford
Flankers: Richie McCaw, Lawrence Dallaglio
Locks: Bill Beaumont (c), Colin Meads
Props: Wilson Whinerary, Olo Brown
Hooker: Sean Fitzpatrick
Coach: Graham Henry

Send me your own World XV selections. No South Africans or Irishmen in the side? Let the battle commence!


Anonymous said...

15. John Gallagher
14. John Kirwan
13. Phillipe Sella
12. Jeremy Guscott
11. David Campese
10. Jonathan Davies
9. Joost van der Westhuizen
8. Filo Tiatia
6. Francois Pienaar
7. Michael Jones
5. Mark Andrews
4. Martin Johnson
3. Os Du Rant
2. Keith Wood
1. Craig Dowd

16. Andre Joubert
17. Henri Honiball
18. Jason Little
19. Sean Fitzpatrick
20. Lawrence Dallagio
21. Dan Carter

Alex Skitt said...

Hi Kevin, thought id give it a cheeky go...

1) Jason Leonard
2) Sean Fitzpatrick/ K. Wood (I always enjoyed watching Keith Wood a.k.a 'the raging potato' play and he always seemed like a bit of a joker however with you knowing Sean Fitzpatrick, i'll leave it to you to decide which is the better craic!)
3) Os Du Randt
4) Martin Johnson
5) Bill Beaumont
6) Lawrence Dallaglio
7) Richie McCaw
8) Zinzan Brooke
9) Gareth Edwards
10) Dan Carter
11) Jonah Lomu
12) Phillipe Sella
13) Brian O'Driscoll
14) David Campese
15) Jason Robinson

There we are, 2 Irishmen and 1 South African! Also 5 Englishmen, forgive the bias!

Also if I remember rightly from your talk last year at Lancaster University, you are an ardent Manchester City Fan!

35 years and a lot of love and respect have led to this moment, Manchester City, a true Lovemark!


Alex Skitt
A Stoke City supporter.

@pickurself said...

Hi Kevin,

Here's my list (only considered those players who I've been able to watch in my lifetime)...

15 - Christian Cullen
14 - Jeff Wilson
13 - Brian O'Driscoll
12 - Tana Umaga
11 - Jonah Lomu
10 - Dan Carter
9 - George Gregan (c)
8 - Zinzan Brooke
7 - Richie McCaw
6 - Michael Jones
5 - John Eales
4 - Martin Johnson
3 - Os Du Rant
2 - Sean Fitzpatrick
1 - Olo Brown

Some starch to match the flair plus some cunning rugby heads and incredible leaders make for a formidable side across the park.

Perhaps a case of too many Chiefs and not enough Indians but i think as a group they'd realise the talent at their disposal and fall into line with each others play.

PS: I hope Gregor Pauls NZ Herald article on rugby development in the US/Asia is accurate, would love to see the game catch on quickly in these markets.

PPS: A shameless plug for a new micro-blog of mine called YouMeRugby ( I'm looking to share rugby insights and tips for amateur players budding to become semi or fully professional players.

PPPS: Keep up your amazing work!

Bradley Moran said...

Greatest XV.

1. Os du Randt
2. Sean Fitzpatrick
3. Robert Paparemborde
4. Colin Meads
5. Frik du Preez
6. Michael Jones
7. Richie McCaw
8. Zinzan Brooke
9. Gareth Edwards
10. Dan Carter
11. Rupeni Caucaunibuca
12. Danie Gerber
13. Brian O'Driscoll
14. David Campese
15. Serge Blanco

2nd Greatest XV:

1. Ray McLoughlin
2. Keith Wood
3. Ken Gray
4. John Eales
5. Victor Matfield
6. Ian Kirkpatrick
7. George Smith
8. Mervyn Davies
9. Joost van der Westhuizen
10. Hugo Porta
11. Jonah Lomu
12. Mike Gibson
13. Phillipe Sella
14. Doug Howlett
15. Christian Cullen