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The best 3 players in the world by position: The World Class 45 - #2 Hooker

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Who is the best hooker?

The best 3 players in the world by position: The World Class 45 - #2 Hooker Vote_lcap50%The best 3 players in the world by position: The World Class 45 - #2 Hooker Vote_rcap 50% 
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The best 3 players in the world by position: The World Class 45 - #2 Hooker Vote_lcap25%The best 3 players in the world by position: The World Class 45 - #2 Hooker Vote_rcap 25% 
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The best 3 players in the world by position: The World Class 45 - #2 Hooker Vote_lcap25%The best 3 players in the world by position: The World Class 45 - #2 Hooker Vote_rcap 25% 
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Post by Sgt_Pooly Thu Dec 09, 2021 2:04 am

I seem to recall a good poster called Pete defining his best players in the world in each position at the end of every year and I thought I'd try and bring it back somewhat.

So, a little caveat....I've not watched as much rugby as I would have liked this year so I may be a bit off in some of my suggestions....I'm sure we can have a nice sensible discussion though, as we always do! I also may a have a slight English bias, go easy on me Welshies.

The criteria:

I'm selecting world class players......when I say world class, you have to be in the top 3 in your position. I'll possibly look to do 5 for locks/wingers due to different styles and sides.

#2 - Hooker

I've always been massively intrigued by the front row and the scrum is probably my favourite area of the game. I remember growing up watching the nasty French/Argentinian props and then later with the hit being so important, players like Barcella/Hayman/Jones single handedly destroying opposition set pieces for fun. The glue holding these outstanding props together is the hooker.....an essential cog in a functioning set piece. He reminds me somewhat of a goalkeeper in football, when the set-piece goes to plan, nobody really notices him (strong set piece guys like Servat/Hartley/Owens).....when it goes wrong, he has 80,000 beady eyes watching him....waiting for him to throw another stinker (I'm instantly thinking of Tom Youngs here.......he puts shivers down my spine!) .

My thoughts for hooker are similar to prop, guys who can do the basics well and then add something around the park too. Gone are the days when the front row just had to scrum and lift.....they need to be able to pass now too.....shocking.

Malcolm Marx

South Africa breed them big and strong.......just as Bismarck du Plessis started to fade, up starts Malcolm Marx. A beast around the park, a nuisance at the breakdown and most importantly a more than capable set piece operator. I seem to recall him initially struggling with his darts but he's pretty much put that to bed now (it must be hard aiming at 2 x 6'10" locks....). When I see this guy warming up, I start to worry.....

Codie Taylor

I'll be honest...Taylor (and even more so Dan Coles) is not really my type of hooker. He's just too mobile and his hands are too soft, it just feels wrong. When I watch Taylor, I wait for him to be a weakness at the set piece, but it just rarely ever happens. He mixes solid basics with outstanding work in the loose, he's the modern day standard for a hooker.

Bongi Mbonambi

My English bias would be leaning towards Cowen-Dickie for this final spot or even the ever reliable Ken Owens. I just don't think either have played as well as Mbonambi over the last few years, so he sneaks in. Not a typical SA colossus, he's proved the doubters wrong and nailed the Bok starting jersey. He has arrows that Tom Youngs could only dream of and gets stuck in the loose, slipping tackles and making yards for fun.


Notable mentions......Ken Owens, Jamie George, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Julien Marchand, Dan Coles.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu Dec 09, 2021 4:56 am

Nice set of posts Sgt. Always love a good whose best! For me its a strange year to judge and depends on if you approach the questions as who are the top 3 in form or who you believe are the best 3. And whether we wholly judge on international form. Tough! I expect the South Africans to dominate the tight 5 though they've had an up and down year. Covid and lack of crowds, and more the enforced bubbles of squads really have had a bigger effect than I initially thought they would.

I've gone Mbonambi from your top 3.

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Post by Poorfour Thu Dec 09, 2021 5:40 am

There may be a bit of a recency effect here, but I would have thought that based on the Autumn Peato Mauvaki would be a contender.
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Post by Old Man Thu Dec 09, 2021 6:19 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Nice set of posts Sgt. Always love a good whose best! For me its a strange year to judge and depends on if you approach the questions as who are the top 3 in form or who you believe are the best 3. And whether we wholly judge on international form. Tough! I expect the South Africans to dominate the tight 5 though they've had an up and down year. Covid and lack of crowds, and more the enforced bubbles of squads really have had a bigger effect than I initially thought they would.

I've gone Mbonambi from your top 3.

Personally I think the Boks had a solid year considering they played no rugby in 2020.

Their results show five losses, however only one of those losses they were completely blown away, and that was the second test vs Australia.

They had three losses that they lost in the final minute due to penalty kicks and the first test vs the Lions they were within one score.

Had they been more composed and made better decisions in the three matches they lead in the final minute their record could have been as good as 11/13.

Having said that they urgently need to improve their attacking structures as that is their downfall. Often they would dominate possession and territory with their pack only to fail to execute when they are in attacking positions.

They should take a leaf out of what has made the Blitzboks so lethal on attack, quick ball (which we either don't use, or don't get when the halfbacks are pedantic) and using space better (yes I know sevens have more space, but it is still valid)

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu Dec 09, 2021 6:29 am

Well yes, and I saw a limited side with no ambition and a complete reliance on high kicks and set piece. Potato, potato (urgh that doesn't work in type does it).

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Post by Poorfour Thu Dec 09, 2021 6:34 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Well yes, and I saw a limited side with no ambition and a complete reliance on high kicks and set piece. Potato, potato (urgh that doesn't work in type does it).

Very much an up and down year. The ball goes up, and then it goes down...
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Post by Old Man Thu Dec 09, 2021 6:58 am

Poorfour wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Well yes, and I saw a limited side with no ambition and a complete reliance on high kicks and set piece. Potato, potato (urgh that doesn't work in type does it).

Very much an up and down year. The ball goes up, and then it goes down...

Imagine how good the Boks will be when they start going forward and actually play some rugby. Wink

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Thu Dec 09, 2021 7:07 am

Poorfour wrote:There may be a bit of a recency effect here, but I would have thought that based on the Autumn Peato Mauvaki would be a contender.

I'll be honest, they're no real set time frame on this. I'm not completely suggesting A/B & C are the total form options.....but more I think these are current world class options. I agree with Mauvaki, but I need to see more of him as he only has a handful of caps really.

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Post by king_carlos Thu Dec 09, 2021 7:36 pm

I'd probably have Montoya in my top 3 ahead of Taylor.

Marx for me is the best of the lot, which might seem odd when he rides the bench. He's just so destructive in set-piece and around the park. The bloke bullies internationals forwards.

I rate LCD incredibly highly as well. His game has just kept improving.

A top 3 for me would have Marx and Montoya as first two with Mbonambi and LCD fighting for 3rd place. There are a few very good hookers around in international rugby though.

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