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Top 10 International Runners Ever?

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Tue 29 Nov 2011, 2:41 pm

A previous thread on Shane Williams made me think about the greatest runners in our game...either through brute power and pace...or sublime side steps etc....

Some only flirted with the international game - the likes of Rupeni Caucau through his bad attitude...or the brilliant Simon Geogehan through injury....

This is not about best tacklers etc...purely on their ability with ball in hand......

Who would you include in the 10 best ever?

Cullen, Lomu, Wilson, Kirwan?
Campese?
Any of the brilliant Welsh?
Duckham, Robinson?
Habana?
Blanco?

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Post by Turkster on Tue 29 Nov 2011, 2:52 pm

Barry John and Gerald Davies should be in the list, Christian Cullen would be top of it for me though.

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Post by red_stag on Tue 29 Nov 2011, 3:01 pm

Anyone who can do it in modern times earns extra kudos as its much harder to run through defences nowadays.

11 S.Williams
14 J.Robinson
15 C. Cullen

Thats as good a back three as you'd find.
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Post by funnyExiledScot on Tue 29 Nov 2011, 3:08 pm

I'm not going to pick players I haven't seen, but my list would be something like this (in order):

1.Christian Cullen
2.Jonah Lomu
3.Shane Williams
4.David Campese
5.Jeff Wilson
6.Jason Robinson
7. Rup Caucau
8.Jeremy Guscott
9.Doug Howlett
10.Ieuan Evans

Honourable mention to Serevi from the 7's circuit.

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Tue 29 Nov 2011, 3:09 pm

Crumbs, forgot Habana.....and Gavin Hastings....

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Post by chewed_mintie on Tue 29 Nov 2011, 3:15 pm

From a biased kiwi perspective I'd go for Cullen, Wilson and Kirwan

Lomu did outrageous things running with the ball too.

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Post by westisbest on Tue 29 Nov 2011, 3:32 pm

Geogehan as said above

Actually though Dennis Hickie was a great runner with ball in hand

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Post by eirebilly on Tue 29 Nov 2011, 3:36 pm

I loved Kirwan and Cullen running with the ball, they were a sight to be seen. Lomu was just a monster.

People often forget just how good Tim Horan was as a ball runner. He and Jason little formed one of the best centre partnerships i have ever seen.
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Post by rodders on Tue 29 Nov 2011, 3:59 pm

Christian Cullen was the best for me. No question.

O'Driscoll and D'arcy were electric runners in their primes.

Stephen Larkham, Ben Tune and Joe Roff were awesome too.
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Post by Feckless Rogue on Tue 29 Nov 2011, 4:02 pm

The best I've seen are Cullen, Lomu, Williams and Robinson.

If you put Hickie in space he was devastating. But He wouldn't be close to the above for making it himself. Still though, a great defender, super fast, one of my favourite Leinster players ever.

And now to post a link to my favourite Hickie try from my favourite ever game. You all know you want to see it again Very Happy
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Post by maestegmafia on Tue 29 Nov 2011, 4:09 pm

As well as the obvious Shane Williams, here are a few others that come to mind over different periods of Rugby History

Christian cullen
Jason Robinson
john bentley
Barry John
David Campese
Gerald Davies
Rupeni Caucaunibuca
Jonathon Davies
Thomas Castenede
Bleddyn Williams

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Post by Cymroglan on Tue 29 Nov 2011, 4:15 pm

Gareth Edwards would be on my list outstanding at running, passing, kicking and reading the game.
Rubbish studio pundit though Very Happy

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Post by cabbagesandbrussels on Tue 29 Nov 2011, 4:17 pm

Easy....

1. Jason Robinson - pure electric pace from a standing start.
2.Christian Cullen - amazing turn of pace.
3. Phillipe Sella - silky.
4. Jonah Lomu - brute force and bloody quick.
5. John Kirwan - powerful and very quick.
6. David Campese - silky.
7. Jeff Wilson - silky.
8. Rory Underwood - electric pace.
9. Simon Geoghan - powerful runner with a great turn of pace
10. Jeremy Guscott - silky with a wonderful turn of pace.



Last edited by cabbagesandbrussels on Tue 29 Nov 2011, 4:21 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by cabbagesandbrussels on Tue 29 Nov 2011, 4:18 pm

funnyExiledScot wrote:Crumbs, forgot Habana.....and Gavin Hastings....

drumroll

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Tue 29 Nov 2011, 4:20 pm

In modern times Geordan Murphy has done some magical things and, although, his overall game is fairly poor Abendanon runs with ball in hand very well.

Robinson still has the best feet I've ever seen though.

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Post by gowales on Tue 29 Nov 2011, 4:44 pm

roddersm wrote:Christian Cullen was the best for me. No question.

O'Driscoll and D'arcy were electric runners in their primes.

Stephen Larkham, Ben Tune and Joe Roff were awesome too.

hahaha D'arcy...

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Post by Feckless Rogue on Tue 29 Nov 2011, 4:48 pm

Maesteg. Can't believe I forgot about Rupeni Caucaunibuca. Didn't have the greatest career in the end. But his talent was sensational.

Link

Imagine that natural ability went with the mentality of someone like Wilkinson or O'Driscoll.
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Post by rodders on Tue 29 Nov 2011, 5:00 pm

gowales wrote:
roddersm wrote:Christian Cullen was the best for me. No question.

O'Driscoll and D'arcy were electric runners in their primes.

Stephen Larkham, Ben Tune and Joe Roff were awesome too.

hahaha D'arcy...

Its true. D'arcy circa 2004 was as devestating a runner as I've seen. Better than BOD at times. In 2006 he was the same, he could make breaks from anywhere.
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Post by bluestonevedder on Tue 29 Nov 2011, 5:03 pm

loved watching Scott Gibbs...

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Post by Mr Fishpaste on Tue 29 Nov 2011, 5:03 pm

Danie Gerber and Carel Du Plessis must definitely be considered 'best runner' candidates, especially Gerber: Fast, powerful with a mind-boggling side-step off either foot.

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Post by Mr Fishpaste on Tue 29 Nov 2011, 5:07 pm

Oh and don't forget Os Du Randt: surprisingly fast with a non-existent side-step.

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Post by Seagultaf on Tue 29 Nov 2011, 7:08 pm

Phill Bennett, incredible pace, amazing side step but probably even smaller than Ickle Shane!

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Tue 29 Nov 2011, 8:22 pm

Feckless Rogue wrote:Maesteg. Can't believe I forgot about Rupeni Caucaunibuca. Didn't have the greatest career in the end. But his talent was sensational.

Link

Imagine that natural ability went with the mentality of someone like Wilkinson or O'Driscoll.

The problem is Caucaus ability is generally seen in people who definately dont have the mentality of a Wilkinson or an O'Driscoll...their play is impulsive and they just go for it....as did Cullen Campese etc....

For me Caucau is just a pleasure to watch...unreal talent...such a waste.


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Post by GeordieFalcon on Tue 29 Nov 2011, 8:38 pm

Just out of curious...was Cullen particularly fast...or was it just he ran great lines...great sidestep and was very strong....

In clips...he doesnt look absolutely fighteningly quick...but i may be mistaken...

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Post by Casartelli on Tue 29 Nov 2011, 9:30 pm

Although it means I'm agreeing with Turkster - Cullen was in a league of his own, even compared to Lomu, Campese, Caucau etc.

Normal sized and not track-sprinter fast - he remains the only rugby player who has earned his own Creed montage on Youtube;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0945lQKP7I

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Post by disneychilly on Tue 29 Nov 2011, 10:03 pm

Geordie he was frighteningly quick. 95-99 I didn't see him get caught from behind.

His ability to sidestep both wats at that extreme pace set him apart. Timing into the backline, strength, he had it all. Best runner with the ball I've ever seen. Beat Caucau for mine.

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Post by Ospreydragon on Tue 29 Nov 2011, 10:34 pm

Gerald Davies was a fantastic runner -- probably even quicker than Shane and just as good a sidestep.

JJ Williams was frighteningly quick (I know 'cos I ran against him a few times in sprints) and a master of the chip and chase.

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Post by rodders on Tue 29 Nov 2011, 10:59 pm

Cullen could shift no doubt about it!

The most amazing thing was his ability to change direction at top speed. He was deceptively strong and smart too. I've never seen a player like him.

A few have come close like Robinson and Williams but Cullen was something else. That try against NSW for the Hurricanes was unbelievable!
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Post by blackcanelion on Tue 29 Nov 2011, 11:37 pm

How about by decade
2000's 1. Rokocoko, 2. Robinson, 3. Carter
1990's 1. Lomu, 2 Caucauinbuca, 3. Cullen
1980's 1. Campese, 2. Kirwin, 3. Gerber
1970's Can't remember
1960's before my time.

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Post by nganboy on Tue 29 Nov 2011, 11:45 pm

I met Cullen recently. Little fellah - not much bigger than me. I smashed my shoulder playing TOUCH rugby. He broke an international locks collar bone in a tackle. Can't remember who it was though. Also one of the strongest ABs in the team at the time could bench press the same as props.
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Post by CurlyOsp on Wed 30 Nov 2011, 1:57 am

For me, Williams tops the list every time. Real excitement every time he touches the ball, gave a struggling team hope in any situation.. Just look at his tries against Scotland and France in the 2010 6 nations.

As for the rest of the list, in no particular order..

Rupeni Caucaunibuca
David Campese
Christian Cullen
Jason Robinson
John Kirwan
Jonah Lomu
Joe Rokocoko
Doug Howlett

Then there's always the likes of Ngwenya, Bobo, Tuilagi and Chavhanga who can be spectacular on occasion and potential future ledgends like north and Dagg.

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Post by aucklandlaurie on Wed 30 Nov 2011, 7:41 am

As disney mentioned above Cullen could step both ways because he could step off both feet. But his best displays were some of his from behind your owngoal line tries that he scored in sevens.
But here's one to have a look at some time, young guy called Corey Jane,.

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Post by LondonTiger on Wed 30 Nov 2011, 8:03 am

cabbagesandbrussels wrote:
8. Rory Underwood - electric pace.

Rory was one of the best finishers of all time, helped by great speed, incredible acceleration from a standing start and strength (in 1984 Daley Thomson told him he should become a decathlete - he was national schools champion for 100m and the Northern Schools champion for Long Jump and Shot Putt, not competing in these two at the Nationals) plus a willingness to go where it hurts.
However as an exciting runner he is not the best in his family (and perhaps wasn't even second best).

Tony had the same speed - probably more - but also a fantastic sidestep. His broken field running was perhaps never really noticed as he strived, and failed, to get out of his brothers shadow, but time after time you would see him running the ball back towards traffic and step his way through it.

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Post by doctor_grey on Wed 30 Nov 2011, 8:13 am

I can't put people in any order of who was best, but Lomu changed Rugby and was the first real global Rugby superstar.

So the top 5 that I can think of as I have my morning coffee:
Jonah Lomu
Jason Robinson
Christian Cullen
Bryan Habana
Scott Gibbs

There are a number more of real terrific runners, and certainly Shane Williams deserves to be with them. He is a deadly runner.

I also wanted to add an Aussie, David Camp.........Campe..........C-a-m-p-e......
Hands - will - not - type - that - name.
He who shall not be named.


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Post by TJ1 on Wed 30 Nov 2011, 8:40 am

The best I have seen was Robinson his ability to beat a man one on one was great

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Post by Guest on Wed 30 Nov 2011, 9:44 am

Having followed rugby since the mid-1950s this is hard. There have been so many exciting runners with the ability to thrill crowds for different reasons on their way to scoring tries, eg. Lomu going through/over tacklers, Habana for pick-ups and lightning dashes over 40 yards, Cliff Morgan for darting hunched-over like an electric mouse, Kirwan for striking with whirlwind pace over long distances, Blanco for cool daring in impossible situations, etc.

But the question specified 'ball in hand', so I've concentrated on runners whose possession of the ball made them great. My choices are Barry John, whom I watched many times, and David Campese, whom I watched half a dozen times. Those two didn't rely on strong physiques or big side-steps and weren't especially pacy. Yet the way they handled the ball conned normally excellent defenders into making bad decisions which led to tries.

I don't just mean that they could sell dummies. They both used subtle body movement, changes of pace, and even eye movement to deceive opponents into split-second mistakes about where the ball was going next. These, combined with awareness of other player's positions and movement, gave rise to the stories of them 'mesmerising' opponents. Self-confidence helped too!

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Post by jbeadlesbigrighthand on Wed 30 Nov 2011, 9:48 am

CurlyOsp wrote:For me, Williams tops the list every time. Real excitement every time he touches the ball, gave a struggling team hope in any situation.. Just look at his tries against Scotland and France in the 2010 6 nations.

As for the rest of the list, in no particular order..

Rupeni Caucaunibuca
David Campese
Christian Cullen
Jason Robinson
John Kirwan
Jonah Lomu
Joe Rokocoko
Doug Howlett

Then there's always the likes of Ngwenya, Bobo, Tuilagi and Chavhanga who can be spectacular on occasion and potential future ledgends like north and Dagg.

Hmmm... I think there might be a little bit of bias in that opinion. Nonetheless, I can understand why any Welsh fan would put him top. I do feel, though, that part the reason he stood out as being so special was because the players around him weren't of the same calibre as those around Cullen, for instance.

I guess I always think of runners as being split between the pure pace and/ or power types, and the electric runners with a great change of direction. To me, Caucau's the real standout, because he fits so perfectly under both categories. If only he'd had the work ethic of most of the other players listed so far.

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Post by Red Right on Wed 30 Nov 2011, 10:38 am

Personally I'd have to agree that Cullen was a step above all others. He never looked to be going that fast but he always seemed to have the ability to wrong foot anyone who was facing him. By all accounts his strenght was unreal. Apparently, even though he spent a lot of his time on the treatment table at Munster, he did bring a whole new ethos to the province regarding physical training - romour has it that when he arrived he was bench pressing more than anyone else on the squad.

Its hard to argue with any of the lists above but Phillipe Salle is one I remeber - maybe its due to France always beating Ireland and him getting on the scoresheet more often than not....thinking about it now though, that may have been more to great positional sense rather than lightening speed!

Simon Geoghan was electrifying, I think there are 2 reasons why he never really got the recognition he deserved 1) Injury did scupper his career. 2) He played on an Irish team at the time thought anyone standing out by the touchline was either a touch judge or a supporter....Irish players definitely did not hang around out there!!!


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Post by rodders on Wed 30 Nov 2011, 10:59 am

Red Right wrote: he did bring a whole new ethos to the province regarding physical training - romour has it that when he arrived he was bench pressing more than anyone else on the squad.

Yeah I remember reading an article about him when he had just burst on the scene. Apparantly he could bench press double his body weight or something. He was pretty Small (5'10 and 13 ish stone) but was one of the strongest members of the AB's squad...one that included Jonah Lomu and Tana Umaga!

I think thats what helped make him so elusive. On the very rare occaisons anyone could lay a finger on him, they just slipped off him he was so strong. That 1st season he came on the scene he was averaging about 2 tries a game...he seemed to score evertime he had the ball.

He definitely lost a bit of gas towards the end but at his peak he was the closest thing I've seen to an unstoppable player.

Even Lomu used to call him a freak!
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Post by maestegmafia on Wed 30 Nov 2011, 11:14 am

I cant believe a link hasnt already been posted. This is running brilliance personified...!

https://youtu.be/rxh3utC4K_c

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Post by Red Right on Wed 30 Nov 2011, 11:15 am

[quote="roddersm]Even Lomu used to call him a freak! [/quote]

Yeah, thats fair praise!

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Post by CurlyOsp on Wed 30 Nov 2011, 12:06 pm

jbeadles, There's no doubt that theres bias in my choice of Williams but he certainly deserves to be up there with the others mentioned.

These players should be measured against the defences they've beaten rather than the players surrounding them, as even though Williams has been in some strong teams (Wales '08, Lions etc..) the best memories for me are unlocking such defences as New Zealand in RWC '03 to set up brilliant team trys.

As for the greatest potential, completely agree with Caucau, what a waste of talent! Could have been a bigger name than Lomu had he taken the game more seriously or had someone to give him a slap on the wrist.

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Post by eirebilly on Wed 30 Nov 2011, 12:40 pm

I am still amazed that Tim Horan hasnt made anyones list. He had power, pace and could step off either foot. One of the best centres i have ever seen play the game.
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Post by yappysnap on Wed 30 Nov 2011, 12:55 pm

Don't tell him but Austin Healey was a pretty smart runner in his prime too.

Not up there with the names above though.

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Post by yappysnap on Wed 30 Nov 2011, 12:57 pm

And doing it for the frontrow Schalk Brits and in his prime Phil Vickery both have/had impressive running games. Very different styles though obviously.

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Post by LondonTiger on Wed 30 Nov 2011, 1:04 pm

If we are including forwards how about Parisse for the modern day and Mervyn Davies from days of yore. (Heck even his nickname, "Merve teh Swerve" is applicable)

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Post by yappysnap on Wed 30 Nov 2011, 1:07 pm

Who was the Welsh prop who scored in the WC from about 30 metres out with a step and everything?

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Post by mckay1402 on Wed 30 Nov 2011, 1:12 pm

Serge Blanco anyone? Can't believe nobody has even mentioned him...also Andy Irvine.
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Post by mckay1402 on Wed 30 Nov 2011, 1:12 pm

yappysnap wrote:Who was the Welsh prop who scored in the WC from about 30 metres out with a step and everything?
Gethin Jenkins
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Post by kiakahaaotearoa on Wed 30 Nov 2011, 1:27 pm

Keith Wood is often ignored in this debate because he played in the front row. But that boy could move.

Michael Jones is another forward who had electric pace.

Conrad Smith is a deceptive one. It looks as though he´s half jogging and then he often gets by. Carter is another one who can be deceptively quick.

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