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Top 10 International Runners Ever?

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Post by Geordie Wed 30 Nov - 1:41

First topic message reminder :

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 Guest Thu 1 Dec - 1:20

mckay1402 wrote:Serge Blanco anyone? Can't believe nobody has even mentioned him...also Andy Irvine.

I mentioned him Smile

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Post by dummy_half Thu 1 Dec - 3:15

Hmm - how to decide? Best runners with the ball I guess must mean considering the players you'd most fear getting the ball in their hand if they were against you

So, from an English persepective:
1 - Lomu. What he did in the RWC semi in 95 was beyond belief.
2 - Campese. Love him or hate him, you had to watch him.
3 - Cullen - brought a whole new definition to deceptive pace. Defenders went to tackle him and he was simply somewehre else when they go t there...
4 / 5 - Jason Robinson and Shane Williams. Such similar players that it's hard to separate them.

Afer that you have to consider the likes of Blanco, Kirwan (the prototype for Cullen), Habana,, Caucau, O'Driscoll etc.

Of course the effectiveness of some of these guys depended on their team-mates ability to support - players like Sella, Timmy Horan and Greenwood were great at exploiting the opportunities that these strike runners create.

From a current England perspective, I'd say that Dave Strettle is the best pure ball carrier (and Abendanon merits a mention along with Foden), but somehow doesn't quite produce the tries that his running ability suggests - by comparison, Ashton gets far more tries on the basis of being a quality support player more than a pure strike runner.

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Post by Feckless Rogue Thu 1 Dec - 4:28

O'Driscoll's genius was in spotting a gap and going through with lightning acceleration. Before the opposition knew it he was behind the defence and running in under the posts. His elusive swerving trickery wasn't quite up there with Cullen and Williams. Brilliant vision, intelligence and pure acceleration were his defining characteristics. He could sidestep too.

The number of times he just went right through the middle of a defence and scored under the posts is incredible.
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Post by jbeadlesbigrighthand Thu 1 Dec - 4:37

Feckless Rogue wrote:O'Driscoll's genius was in spotting a gap and going through with lightning acceleration. Before the opposition knew it he was behind the defence and running in under the posts. His elusive swerving trickery wasn't quite up there with Cullen and Williams. Brilliant vision, intelligence and pure acceleration were his defining characteristics. He could sidestep too.

The number of times he just went right through the middle of a defence and scored under the posts is incredible.

I think with O'Driscoll it's more a case of intelligence than being as a great a runner as some of the others being mentioned. He is/was quick and an elusive runner, but he's just always in the right place at the right time. I guess what I mean is that it's more his running off the ball than his running on the ball that does the damage. I think that's why he's been able to adapt as he's slowed down a bit.

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Post by Feckless Rogue Thu 1 Dec - 4:54

but he's just always in the right place at the right time

That's the best description of O'Driscoll really. Whether it's scooping up a spilled ball, finding a gap, making a last gasp tackle or making an intercept. I've chuckled to my self many times wondering why is it ALWAYS O'Driscoll? It was his reading of the game.

I think he was the best center of the noughties. But not the best runner ever. Cullen and Caucau were the best I've seen.
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Post by dummy_half Thu 1 Dec - 6:57

In the first few years of his career, BOD was primarily a strike runner. As he's got older, he's become much more effective as an all-round player but has lost that electrifying ability to be through a gap before the defence realised it was there.

Defining a 'strike runner' is a bit difficult, because there is such a diversity of styles - Lomu would run over you, Willians and Robinson around you (at least twice, just to show they could) and Cullen, early BOD, Guscott (not quite in the highest class but still very good) would ghost past with pace and balanced running.

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Post by rodders Thu 1 Dec - 20:14

I think BOD from 2000 to about 2007 was a fantastic strike runner. Look at some of the tries he scored and breaks he made.

I'd put him just behind the likes of Cullen and Robinson as an elusive runner. I agree that a big part of that was the ability to spot gaps but it was also his speed, strength and balance which enabled him to utilise that space.

Post 2007/8 he didn't have the same top level speed and athleticism but prior to this he was an electric strike runner for sure.
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Post by mckay1402 Thu 1 Dec - 21:28

optimist wrote:
mckay1402 wrote:Serge Blanco anyone? Can't believe nobody has even mentioned him...also Andy Irvine.

I mentioned him Smile

o ok I thought someone should have. well done you Very Happy
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Post by formerly known as Sam Thu 1 Dec - 23:27

One day this chap might make the list. Great try here for you;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXvVwlO1JeM

a step and acceleration past the opposition 10, hands off the opposition 8, goes over the opposition full back and stays in despite the attentions of the opposition lock.

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Post by cabbagesandbrussels Thu 1 Dec - 23:42

formerly - true but that is some shoite tackling....

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Post by kiakahaaotearoa Thu 1 Dec - 23:43

Lomu didn´t always run over people. He was such a big guy that you didn´t think he could outsprint you. So often he would go eye to eye with a player, step off to go round him and sometimes he didn´t even need the big fend as he knew he could get round.

That try in the 2007 against SA by Takudzwa Ngwenya was special. Anyone that makes Bryan Habana look lethargic is got to be super quick. Unfortunately the Eagles are never really involved in top flight rugby to get to see these players enough. Japan is another team with loads of pace to burn but that may be just an optical illusion as they´re so small they just seem to be going faster because of their leg speed. Like Energizer bunnies on speed.

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Post by BlueNote Thu 1 Dec - 23:46

Another great runner in broken play was Rob Howley.

I love the idea of a 3/4 lineup of Guscott, Duckham, Gerald Davies and Shane - try catching that lot!

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