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Friday, April 18, 2014

The Top 5 Rugby Magicians of All Time

Rugby HQ in Australia have put together their Top 5 list of the best ever magicians on the rugby field. While it's obviously subjective, it's a solid list and it would be tough to disagree with their top three selections, and number one in particular.

Starting at number five, Joe Rokocoko was a lethal finisher for the Blues and All Blacks. His dazzling feet and ability to beat defenders when in space made him a top try scorer. He could create tries out of half chances, as can be seen here. Sorry, Brent Russell.

Welsh legend Gareth Edwards is probably best known these days for that try he scored for the Barbarians against the All Blacks in 1973, but for years he terrorised defences and to many up north in particular, is the best scrumhalf to ever play the game.

Having met the great David Campese recently, it's great to see him at three on this list. Campo could pull off the impossible, and is of course the man that made the goose-step so famous. His jinking runs and ball skills were unmatched in his generation.

"I always wanted to do something different. I could have stood on the wing and did nothing, or go out there and try and express yourself, and that's what I decided to do," he once said.

The only guy on the list still playing Test rugby, Quade Cooper is a natural fit when it comes to thinking of players that can do the seemingly impossible on the rugby field. Some of his best bits aren't shown in this clip, but you can see a few in the Related Posts below this article.

In the end, there can be only one and that man is without a doubt King Carlos Spencer. The only player who has come close since is Cooper, but for those of us who watched Spencer in his heyday, he will always be remembered as the most audacious, enthralling entertainer.

As with Cooper, have a browse of our Related Posts to see some of Spencer's best moments, which obviously weren't able to be featured in this compilation but are posted in our archive.

Other notable mentions, and players who could have squeezed into the top five somewhere, would be Brian O'Driscoll, Shane Williams, Christian Cullen and Waisale Serevi. O'Driscoll has already been featured in his own Top 5 video though, and Serevi was a Sevens star.

How different would your 'Top 5 Magicians' be, or are you happy with the choices? 

Posted at 8:38 am | 33 comments

Rugby HQ's Top 5 Ridiculous Passes of All Time

The British Lions vs the Barbarians at Twickenham in 1977

Carlos Spencer highlights from Blues 2003 season

Quade Cooper's great try and big celebration vs Tahs

Quade Cooper's audacious stepping and crosskick

Three skilful tries from Rugby World Cup 2003

Quade Cooper's outrageous sidestep on Cory Jane

Joe Rokocoko finds form with Auckland in the Air NZ Cup

Classic Encounters - Wallabies vs Barbarians 1984

Campo - A David Campese Tribute

Classic Encounters - Wales vs All Blacks 2004

Joe Rokocoko Tribute

Carlos Spencer through the legs pass

Carlos Spencer - The Zidane of Rugby

King Carlos Spencer's brilliant full-field try vs the Crusaders

Gareth Edwards' great try for the Barbarians in 1973

Posted in Top 5 compilations

Viewing 33 comments

Jedz April 18, 2014 10:45 am

Waisale Serevi, Marc Ella, Mike Gibson, Willie Ryder....the list is endless

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Full Back April 18, 2014 11:32 am

O'Driscoll and Cullen should be in here instead of Rokocoko and Cooper, Roko was an outstanding winger but I wouldn't call him a magician on a level with Cullen and Cooper has had as many bloopers as he has had magic moments so BoD would be a shoe in for his spot (imho)
Serge Blanco would be my honorable mention.

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Canadian content April 19, 2014 3:05 am

bOD yes, Cullen no, he was just pure speed power and pace not really dummies and what not, whereas cooper should be in there, along with serevi and Gibson.

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ym April 18, 2014 11:47 am

without a doubt cooper should remain on that list. His incredible feet, his outrageous passes and his overall risk taking plays would easily keep him on the list. I would say the players on the list all deserve to be there however if all aspects of rugby were included then william ryder and benji marshall would feature with out a doubt.

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Sharkboi April 18, 2014 4:27 pm

Yes cooper is very good when he is on form. What makes him look great are the rediculous passes he tries. More often than not the passes mess up and he gives away possession. A truely great player knows when to throw the insane pass and when to leave it. A player like O'Driscoll. Cooper doesn't know when to leave the stupid pass and hold onto possession

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finedisregard April 18, 2014 6:09 pm

Hey bro, you live by the insane pass, you die by it. The guys on this list are not the most steady, but they will freak you out! Remember Mehrtens was usually selected ahead of Spencer.

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CS79 April 18, 2014 12:13 pm

Jason Robinson deserves a mention I'd say

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DrG April 18, 2014 5:29 pm

I'd agree, I think Robinson and Rokocoko had very similar attributes, fantastic feet and strong runners.

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Canadian content April 19, 2014 3:06 am

Once again, billy whiz was genius with his feet but didn't really trick anyone like Carlos.

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DrG April 19, 2014 9:03 am

I wouldn't say Robinson was greater than Carlos. Robinson had insane pace in comparison and they played different really, but I think he was very similar to Rokocoko.

I think in his later years Robinson was 'found out' and closed down and never really had the means to use his speed to outdo others.

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Naas Rugby April 18, 2014 12:33 pm

No O'Driscoll...easy to see the bias toward the SH. The best player of his generation left out...you bitter little Aussies.

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DanKnapp April 18, 2014 3:03 pm

[sarcasm] Yeah, all they could do for O'Driscoll was a special Top 5 for him on retirement, calling him one of the best players ever. Fucking Aussies. [/sarcasm]

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Max April 18, 2014 1:56 pm

Honourable mention to Niko Matawalu? :)

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flyingpepper April 18, 2014 2:18 pm

Jason Robinson, Cullen, Shane Williams?!?! And McCaw for never getting a card lol

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DrG April 18, 2014 5:30 pm

Lol, definitely McCaw, I think he can make the cards disappear from the referees pockets.

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FatProp April 18, 2014 5:17 pm

Juan Martin Hernandez 'El Mago' should be included. Roko was a fantastic winger but hardly a guy who would create plays from nothing, Cooper is on the list quite rightly as he can do things that other players can only dream of, often goes too far but he is such a talent. In a couple of years Barrett will be up there as the most creative fly half in the world- MARK MY WORDS

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10stonenumber10 April 18, 2014 10:18 pm

King Carlos is a good call. I remember when he moved to Northampton, I was 15 and just starting to get into the flow of the full sized game... He is the reason I played. I remember practicing his reverse blind chip kick he did over his head when caught dead with the ball. And the through the legs to smoking joe. Joe Rokocoko's shimmy swivel step became my trademark. Got deservedly levelled a few times trying it also. Quade Cooper is one of those players who is so mercurially gifted that he can justify his arrogance. A fly half without a swagger is no fly half at all. Gareth Edwards as well... not the biggest but proof that brains outweigh brawn in broken play. Campese was the first of his 'breed' of winger, there have been a few since then, but he was the first of that sort, a solid mention. However, the other calls of Billy-Whizz/Shane Williams/BOD are also solid.

Random call on Geordan Murphy? He's bamboozled a few in his time with Leicester, sadly not so much for Ireland, but hey ho...


only question now is...


Rupeni Caucaunibuca?

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finedisregard April 18, 2014 11:36 pm

You're right. Caucau and Shane Williams are DEFINITELY wizards that could create something from nothing.

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hagar April 19, 2014 2:18 am

No one seems to mention the big Johna Lomu, I still remember how he almost singlehandedly stem rolled the poms in the world cup, man was a machine.

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DrG April 19, 2014 9:06 am

Lol, as CC said below, Lomu was no wizard, he was more like that giant stone in the Indiana Jones movie...

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Canadian content April 19, 2014 3:09 am

Once again, there was no trickery with lomu, u knew what was coming.

Whereas Nick Evans often plays the opposition like a fiddle.

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Canadian content April 19, 2014 3:11 am

I'd consider genia an honorable mention, does a lot of special things with the ball, so does Kahn.

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klaus otto April 19, 2014 8:42 am

no Gio Aplon??

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EMack April 19, 2014 7:42 pm

Surely the likes of Robinson, Spencer, Cooper, Shane Williams, Carter, Hernandez, Pichot, Percy Montgomery and Gregor Townsend could be worth a mention?

What about future magicians?

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Eddie-g April 21, 2014 4:44 pm

Well here's a topic that could be debated all year...

But the main question for me is what Rugby HQ and Rugbydump have against the French? Castaignede was a 10 in the Spencer mould, and Serge Blanco, I heard he could play.

From a SA perspective, Joost at his best - especially in the 90s - was a genius.

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4LC4TR4Z April 22, 2014 4:09 pm

Waisale Serevi, Caucaunibuca, and Orene Ai'i.
Have seen all of them on the pitch, I'd seen Ai'i often doing some magic stuff.
Serevi comes from another world.

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Colombes April 23, 2014 2:07 pm

More a SH top, than a credible one ;)
Robinson, BOD and few french and fidjian players are astonishingly absent

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larry May 25, 2014 3:02 pm

Barry John, Phil Bennett, Mike Gibson and Cliff Morgan. I'd put Campese at number one.

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Steve June 05, 2014 2:29 pm

You twits saying BoD, Shane Williams, Jason Robinson and other northern hemisphere players aren't getting the recognition they deserve couldn't be any more wrong. This is a weekly show where those players are virtually praised on a weekly basis? You see a 5min snippet of a show and are quick to judge! Grow a brain you lot!!!!!

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