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Thursday Jul 31, 2014

The Top 5 Little Men of World Rugby

The Top 5 Little Men of World Rugby
27
Comments

Rugby HQ’s latest Top 5 took a look at some of the smaller men of the game, featuring legends of years gone by that could tear up the park with footwork and raw speed alone. You can probably guess who would be number one and two (interchangeable?), but the rest are outstanding too.

The list features two South African’s, one Samoan, an Englishman and a Welshman. If there’s anyone else you think that could easily have made the list, let us know in the comments below.

View more of these excellent compilations in our Top 5 section, and more of the legends featured in this video in our Related Posts below, which includes some of their great tries

27 Comments

  •  10stonenumber10
    10stonenumber10
    1:14 PM 03/08/2014

    stats don't say everything... Just the kind of players who would be the smallest on the field in whatever game they played, and used it to their advantage

    Reply
  •  breakaway
    breakaway
    4:10 AM 03/08/2014

    For me the standout small man missing is Grant Batty, at 5ft 5in (1.65m) and 70Kg. Tough as nails in a tough era, he copped more that his share of swinging arms both home and abroad. A brilliant winger but with only 15 All Black caps before a recurring knee injury forced an early retirement. Not a lot of film around, but here's an intercept try against the 1977 Lions, Batty's last test match. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGLn5UF3SxU

    Reply
  •  larry
    larry
    6:56 PM 02/08/2014

    And another question: was it Dominici or La Salle who marked Lomu in the '99 WC semi final? Both were excellent small players.

    Reply
  •  larry
    larry
    6:54 PM 02/08/2014

    Just about everyone mentioned in the top five is a recent or active player. Five is too small a sample size. Gerald Davies (5'8" 12 stone), Phil Bennett (5'8" 12 stone), and Barry John (5'9" 11 stone) would have to be on anyone's best list with more than five players mentioned, like maybe the top 15 players regarded as "small." I'd add Gareth Edwards, who was only 5'8", but he had to have been at least 13 stone. So what does small mean? Is 12 stone a weight limit, and 5'9" a height limit?

    Reply
  •  rugby08
    rugby08
    11:23 AM 02/08/2014

    Haha no.

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos
    4:45 PM 01/08/2014

    I don't remember him looking small compared with the people he played with/against. Have professional players really got that much more massive in the last 10-15 years? Anyway, Cullen doesn't need a small men list, he'd be in my top 5 awesome rugby players of any size.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg
    1:59 PM 01/08/2014

    Different kettle of fish, but a team I used to play for had a short flanker, he was fast as hell and bloody strong too. He had to be under 5'10 - tackled like a demon and always hit hard, rarely did he go back when tackling. Like I said, this is a bit different - amateur vs pro, but there is some key ingredient some of these gems have.

    Reply
  •  eddie-g
    eddie-g
    11:56 AM 01/08/2014

    5'11 apparently. Or in other words, an inch taller than Paulse.

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos
    8:54 AM 01/08/2014

    @10stone, Good to see the producers of Rugby HQ read the Rugbydump comments section. You called for this Top 5 (http://www.rugbydump.com/2014/06/3799/the-top-5-big-boppers-130kg-in-world-rugby) and they delivered. My suggestion for a top 5 players under 6 foot on that thread was: Steffon Armitage Leigh Halfpenny Gio Aplon Jason Robinson Shane Williams Same top 3, which is no surprise. But I stand by including Magic Steffo - why should a shortarse forward not qualify?

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos
    8:41 AM 01/08/2014

    @eddie-g - Christian Cullen? Awesome player but I never thought of him as a small player - isn't he about 6 feet tall?

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos
    8:37 AM 01/08/2014

    Steffon Armitage = 1.75m, 5'9. Bruno, I also agree with the point you were making, but isn't it interesting how all these exceptions to the rule - Hooper, Brussow, Armitage are actually awesome. Definitely something for selectors keen on massive flankers to ponder.

    Reply
  •  10stonenumber10
    10stonenumber10
    10:22 PM 31/07/2014

    unless I am mistaken, i'm pretty sure it is Fumiaki Tanaka, Highlanders scrum half. 5'5'' and 60kg at debut, but now he is in NZ he has bulked to 72kg (according to wikipedia)

    Reply
  •  upthelowend
    upthelowend
    10:19 PM 31/07/2014

    Hooper only stands at 5'10.

    Reply
  •  eddie-g
    eddie-g
    9:50 PM 31/07/2014

    Yep. Maybe Michalak too

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg
    8:41 PM 31/07/2014

    It's be interesting to find out who the lightest player is/was in the pro era (I'm picking pro era because before that will make things very complicated). Gio Aplon is probably quite high on the 'light list'. Wonder if it'd be stringer at 73kg?

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg
    8:29 PM 31/07/2014

    I agree with the sentiment, but there is still the likes of Heinrich Brussow who is *just* under 5'11, but I believe he is very much an exception to the rule.

    Reply
  •  katman
    katman
    7:12 PM 31/07/2014

    Stringer "much better" than Aplon? Apart from maybe Dominici, none of those guys can match Aplon for pace or stepping. Not even close, I'm afraid.

    Reply
  •  10stonenumber10
    10stonenumber10
    7:09 PM 31/07/2014

    Or more recently Cruden. He's heavy, but only 5'9''

    Reply
  •  eddie-g
    eddie-g
    6:17 PM 31/07/2014

    It seems a good top-5, until you have to justify who you've left out. I think first of all, scrumhalves shouldn't be eligible. Nothing personal or anything against these wee men, it's mainly that if you are eligible, the field is too crowded. Also it's the one position where lack of size is an advantage. So anyway, the guys who didn't make the cut... off the top of my head... Dominici, Clerc, Brent Russell, Chester Williams, Cullen, Carlos Spencer, Zee Ngwenya... And those guys who are small compared to the average player, but perhaps not so small compared to the average wee man over history - thinking Willie le Roux, Dan Carter, Digby Ioane, Francois Hougaard... At the very least I think you have to make space for Cullen, that was a criminal omission.

    Reply
  •  10stonenumber10
    10stonenumber10
    5:49 PM 31/07/2014

    Agreed on Dominici. French back play has always favoured the mobile rather than the meatier amongst us. It's called Champagne Rugby the world over for a reason! The french back 3s might have been lightweight, but ball in hand hunting the try line as a pack... (providing it is a game all 15 players 'turn up' to), there is a reason the All Blacks fear them. Stringer, Gregan, Elissalde etc. were great players, but not as exciting as Lemi burning 5 on the outside, or Whizz carving defences like a Christmas Turkey. Rives was a hell of a player, and artist too, but he could mix it with the big boys, us little ones don't tend to hold our ground so well!!

    Reply
  •  binky
    binky
    5:41 PM 31/07/2014

    Dominic should have been in, the guy was brilliant!

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg
    4:57 PM 31/07/2014

    To be fair 7 foot 10 isn't particularly small...

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg
    4:55 PM 31/07/2014

    I think top 5 is an awfully 'small' (haha) number as there are so many small great players, Dominici being one of them!

    Reply
  •  10stonenumber10
    10stonenumber10
    2:04 PM 31/07/2014

    Serevi deserves a top 5 all of his own. He used to wear 2 scrum caps for contact drills at Leicester... absolute HERO.

    Reply
  •  colombes
    colombes
    1:51 PM 31/07/2014

    and i even forgot Serevi...

    Reply
  •  colombes
    colombes
    1:50 PM 31/07/2014

    As much i like Lemi and Aplon profiles, But guys like Gregan, Dominici, Stringer or Elissalde certainly were much better players! Best little player prospect: Christian Wade

    Reply
  •  10stonenumber10
    10stonenumber10
    1:23 PM 31/07/2014

    Yes!!! Been waiting for this one for quite a while... Paulse, Lemi, Gio, Whizz and Shane-o. However, for complete political correctness (hypocritical, I know...) You call us the small men, the whippersnappers... we prefer the term CONCENTRATED AWESOME.

    Reply


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