Friday, September 21, 2012

Hardest, Fastest, Strongest - Carrier, Runner, & Big Hitter

Who is the strongest ball carrier you've seen? What about the quickest runner, or the biggest hitter? These are debates that fuel rugby fans' forums and pub chats constantly. In this new feature, the players themselves give their opinions.

This new segment features some excellent footage of some brilliant players, and is shown on Sky Sports' Rugby Club, which as with it's Australian namesake, is on a Thursday night.

The first three of the segments are put together below in one video, making for a really enjoyable and thought provoking few minutes. Who would you choose?

While most of these guys answer from the point of view of having played against - or with - the players mentioned, as armchair pundits we can only judge based on what we've seen.

With that in mind, leave a comment below to let us know, in the three categories, who in your opinion is the 1) Strongest Ball Carrier, 2) Fastest Runner, and 3) Biggest Hitter you've seen?

Enjoy the video, and hopefully we'll bring you more of the same in the future.

Thanks to Sky Sports/The Rugby Club

Posted by Rugbydump at 4:14 pm | View Comments (89)

Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 89 comments

RamRugby10 September 21, 2012 5:51 pm

One of the hardest hitters, who time after time shows total disregard for his own body and well-being; TATAFU POLOTA-NAU!

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Zach September 21, 2012 5:57 pm

1) Zee (Takudzwa Ngwenya) -Fastest, he beat Habana before
2) Sonny Bill - Carrier. quick hands, excellent passer, hard runner.
3) Tuilagi Family, Manu, Alesana, Henry. - Best Tacklers, Hardest Hitters

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Mitchell September 21, 2012 6:14 pm

Strongest ball carrier must be Lomu. Jason Robinson was lightning, but maybe not best over longest distances, and I'd say Henry Tuilagi for biggest hitter (legality sometimes questionable...). Be interesting to see what people come up with though!

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bad_robot September 21, 2012 6:19 pm

Strongest Ball Runner: Probably Brad Thorn
Fastest: Definitely Rupeni - such a wasted talent!
Hardest Hitter - was featured here at RugbyDump a couple of months ago - Motu Matu'u, though he is relatively new on the scene and needs time to show consistency. For longevity and big hits, has to be "The Chiropractor" Brian Lima

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Colin September 21, 2012 6:27 pm

Interesting thought exercise...naturally we're all gonna disagree on the particulars, but here goes my shot...

Fastest Runner: James O'Connor, Juan Imhoff, Zee Ngwenya, Bryan Habana, and Christian Wade all make my shortlist. I recall seeing some O'Connor highlights and being impressed but haven't seen much recently. I was also struck by Imhoff in the games I've seen him play, notably against Australia and France recently. Wade and Ngwenya are surely one of (if not the) most dangerous men in their leagues when given some space, but I think the final title goes to Habana

Strongest Carrier: When think of what makes a strong carrier, it needs to not be just brute strength to crash forwards, it also need intelligence in knowing timing, and how to create space for support runners. With that in mind, I'd give it to either George North or Sonny Bill Williams, and it'd probably be SBW if I had to pick just one.

Biggest Hitter: Hmm...decisions, decisions. I might have to go between Bismark Du Plessis and Brad Thorn maybe. Honestly I've seen enough huge guys get taken down by tiny dudes ti know that how good one's hit is more often than not is more dependent on how the player getting tackled goes into contact, so I'd be hesitant to award this one to any one player.

/my two cents

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Rugby_SH9 September 21, 2012 6:32 pm

Lwazi Mvovo should be considered for one of the fastest, and Christian Wade is making a name for himself as well!

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poccio September 21, 2012 6:33 pm

strongest ball carrier: SBW
hardest hitter: MOTU MATU'U

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poccio September 22, 2012 8:36 pm

Actually I should probably change strongest ball carrier to LOMU

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Nams82 September 21, 2012 6:37 pm

Fastest:Doug Howlett
Hitter:Brian Lima

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Ads_Bon September 21, 2012 6:39 pm

Strongest ball carrier: Lomu in his prime would bounce off on coming traffic on a motorway. Raw pace & power and more importantly loved smashing people in attack.

Fastest player: Dan Norton (faster than Usain bolt over 40m) or Chavanga.

Biggest tackler: Mickey 'the munch' Skinner. My favourite player growing up, the master of the dump tackle when it was acceptable!

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Murray94 September 21, 2012 7:05 pm

Jean Deysel is one of the worlds greatest ball carriers at the moment.

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Tc September 21, 2012 7:13 pm

Best ball carriers. Jonah or pierre spies
Hardest hitter. Jerry Collins or Brian Lima
Fastest. There was a left winger who played for brive when they won the Heineken cup in the 90s who I remember claimed to do 100m in 10.5 seconds. Can't remember his name

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Colombes September 24, 2012 12:13 pm

his name is sebastien carat. he was famous for scoring 2 tries during the Hcup 1997 vs Leicester. he was never regular @ top-level but had 1 or 2 unbelievable years

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Golgot September 21, 2012 9:30 pm

Philippe Bernat-Salles was the fastest normal guy on the field!!

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Shaun September 21, 2012 10:24 pm

Lol. I guess as I read "strongest ball carrier" with American eyes I think of something completely different than the other posters. I think of who runs the hardest... like a locomotive. For me, right now, that is Digby Ioane.

In the past Lomu.

Skilled player- Sonny Bill. Dude changes the game like no one else I have seen.

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JackRugby September 22, 2012 12:23 am

strongest ball carrier: A. Tuilagi / M. Nonu
fastest: Bryan Habana / Christian Cullen
hardest hitter: Jerry Collins / M. Matu

and Lomu is beyond labels.


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George Inglis September 22, 2012 12:34 am

1. How can you look past Lomu?! Clearly the most feared ball carrier of all time. In terms of current players, I think Manu Tuilagi probably breaks the most tackles and is the most explosive runner; Robbie Fruean might have something to say about that though.

2. Caucau was unbelievably quick for such a big man and at his peak his pace was probably the most devastating of any player I've seen. I'm sure Ngwenya is quicker than him over 100m, and every time I see him play he seems to have at least one flash of ridiculous pace. Tom Varndell at full tilt must be up there too.

3. It has to be Brian Lima, "The Chiropractor". Josh Lewsey's hit on Mat Rogers is one of my favourites of all time and Trevor Leota should be remembered more for hit big hitting than his ball carrying, but the intent in Lima's tackles (watch the one on Derick Hougaard) is unmatched.

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Adrian September 22, 2012 2:41 am

Hardest : Andre Venter (SA) , Zinzan Brooke (NZ)
Fastest : Habana (SA) , Lomu (SA), Robinson (Eng) , Ngwenya (USA)
Stongest : Carl Hayman (NZ) , Martin Castrogiovanni (ITA)
Carrier : Lomu (NZ),Jamie Roberts (WAL), Bakkies Botha (SA)

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The Eejit September 22, 2012 8:17 am

Being Irish, I'd hafta put Sean O'Brien (the Tullow Tank!) in there as one of the best carriers at the moment, though its hard to argue with SBW.

Fastest would probably hafta be Ngwenya, but I'd put a mention in for Simon Geoghegan! He played for Ireland in the dark 90's when we were shocking and singlehandedly beat England in '94.

As for biggest tacklers Alesana Tuilagi has been consistently doing massive tackles for the last ten years though Jerry Collins in his prime was unstoppable, as was Stephen Ferris (though he doesn't seem to be the player he was when Ireland won the grand slam).

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CedricXV September 22, 2012 9:56 am

1) Strongest Ball Carrier: Probably LOMU and SBW for the backs and Christian CALIFANO or Keith WOOD for the forwards.

2) Fastest Runner: the fastest is NGWENYA if you consider his best time on 100m when he was in the U.S: 10.25. But rugbyfans unfortunately forget the name and carrier of the second fastest rugbyplayer of all time: Sébastien CARRAT (US BRIVE), 10.34 at 100m (and 4th fastest runner of all the time on 60mètres). He scored 12 tries in 10 games during the 1997 European rugby Cup which eventually lead his team to win the cup (against Leicester Tigers)

3) Biggest Hitter: Henry TUILAGI, Samoa (USAPerpignan)

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katman September 22, 2012 11:40 am

Strongest carrier: Jonah Lomu, although a guy like Bismarck du Plessis is incredibly hard to bring down. Willem Alberts also deserves a mention.

Fastest runner: I'd love to see a foot race between Habana, Ngwenya and Chavhanga before deciding. Has to be one of those three.

Hardest tackler: I'd go with Mr Collins too. Plenty of other guys put in the occasional monster hit, but Jerry was consistently destructive.

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Scarlet Beast September 22, 2012 12:26 pm

Great segment

I always thought Schalk made some big hits in his day, mind you dont think we heard the last of him.

I think Joe Rokocoko was very fast aswell.

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Pretzel September 22, 2012 1:07 pm

Wouldn't like to get into a big debate as right now I really cannot be bothered with it. However what I have read so far in terms of ball carriers, is mostly Lomu or mostly SBW.

For me though it's two different era's and styles of play.

Lomu was not selfish, but had a more last resort style of play. For instance the ball gets worked through the hands, it gets to Lomu and generally he is the last man the AB's have before another phase, so he generally tucked the ball and ran, generally over the top of players and towards the try line. In some ways, quite predictable, but nonetheless brilliant and effective.

SBW on the other hand opens up a whole new field with his offloads, all of a sudden players are through what was a solid defence because SBW put in an offload. Of course he is a strong guy and can break tackles himself, but he is not a Lomu, and Lomu is not an SBW....

Then I could bring in forwards, what denotes a strong carrier? Are we looking at tackles broken? yards gained? successful offloads? successful ball retention? I know I'm over thinking all this, but, out of the forwards I have rarely seen a player look more dangerous in terms of his ability in open play than Victor Matfield, perhaps I should get out more, get some specs or open my eyes, but I truly think as a tight 5 player, he had the boot, passing, and offloading ability of a back.

So in theory, although he might not have been better than Lomu, SBW etc, the fact he is a forward gives him far higher marks for me, than any back.

Runner: Well again, should we include Lomu? Not the fastest player perhaps (when compared to Habana etc I think....but could be wrong) but the impact he made as a result of his running was unprecedented. But as others have said, there is Rokocoko, Habana, Ngwenya, even Howlett was pretty fast, Cau Cau, Robinson....

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Pretzel September 22, 2012 11:57 pm

As for Hitter...

Again, there have been cracking hits over the years:

Chabal <-- A bit over rated IMO, but still wouldn't like to be smashed by him.
...or, dare I say it, Johnny Wilkinson...he seemed to hit quite hard over the years..
..Jason White, had some big hits, and very clinical, always legal, so perhaps that should carry some extra weighting...(unlike Lima, who was 50/50).

So my final vote would be one of the Tuilagi's or Lima...
But as I said earlier, Lima's tackles were not always "legal" and the Tuilagi's are no Saint's themselves...

I'm sure there are others, I just can't think of them right now...

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GunshowMckenzie September 22, 2012 2:18 pm

1) Hardest Ball Carrier for me at the moment has to be Willem Alberts. He ruined England recently. Craig and Scott Quinnell were very destructive runners too in their time.

2) Tonderai Chavhanga looks insanely fast on clips I've seen of him. There have been a lot of other fast runners though (and more rounded wingers) but I'd give it to him probably.

3) Hardest Hitter has to be Brian Lima, surely? Especially considering he didn't have the bulky build of the Tuilagi brothers or Jerry Collins (Henry Tuilagi and Collins being two other big hitters that come to mind).

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Canadian content September 22, 2012 3:06 pm

Have to agree with alot of you here, Jonah has to be the strongest ball carrier. Just ask Mike Catt, Tony Underwood, etc... Surprised

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Canadian content September 22, 2012 3:10 pm

Surprised Jacque Fourie didn't get any votes, definitely better BC than SWB (who is a great offloader but rarely runs anyone over). ROG should have been interviewed, he's been run over by the best of them!

Zee has to be the fastest, c'mon, he's beat both habana and williams with pure speed. o'connor? you've got to be joking right? has he ever gassed anyone at the international level?

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Eggman September 23, 2012 5:34 pm

O'connor ran past Shane Williams about 2 years ago (since you mention Williams)..

Around about 1:25 on this video:

Agree though that there are faster players out there, like Habana or Mwovo from Tier 1 nations..

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Canadian content September 22, 2012 3:14 pm

Jason robinson was pretty ast though as well, one of my favorites.

Biggest hitter; chabal over rated opportunistic hitter. Rapeni used to regularly lay guys out. Lima should be up there, as should all the tuilagis with henry probably at the top. collins definitely up there. danny baugh from canada was a massive hitter too, so much so he ruined his career

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moddeur September 22, 2012 5:10 pm

strongest ball carrier: Lomu
fastest: Ngwenya
hardest hitter: a few of the Tuilagis

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Nathan September 22, 2012 11:29 pm

Jamie Roberts as strongest ball carrier anyone??

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Pretzel September 22, 2012 11:50 pm

I like your ambition....

...Disagree with your comment though...

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hayden September 23, 2012 8:27 am

agreed - he's good all round but strongest.

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JFL September 23, 2012 8:37 am

Gorgodze is a monster ball carrier. Picamoles is also easily on par with some of the guys cited in the video like O'Brien.

Fastest is Ngwenya. Chabal isn't overrated as a hard hitter btw. To my knowledge he's one of the only players who was able to hurt Jerry Collins with a tackle. It was during a test match in NZ in 2003, Collins stayed down for a minute or so after being hit by Chabal. Dusautoir is another hard hitter.

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RugbySage91 March 05, 2014 1:28 am

I think you're mistaking Jerry Collins with Chris Masoe. It was Masoe who Chabal took out, but Collins made up for that with his hit on Chabal.

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Ben Lucas September 23, 2012 1:22 pm

1. How can you look past Lomu?! Clearly the most feared ball carrier of all time. In terms of current players, I think Manu Tuilagi probably breaks the most tackles and is the most explosive runner; Robbie Fruean might have something to say about that though.

2. Caucau was unbelievably quick for such a big man and at his peak his pace was probably the most devastating of any player I've seen. I'm sure Ngwenya is quicker than him over 100m, and every time I see him play he seems to have at least one flash of ridiculous pace. Tom Varndell at full tilt must be up there too.

3. It has to be Brian Lima, "The Chiropractor". Josh Lewsey's hit on Mat Rogers is one of my favourites of all time and Trevor Leota should be remembered more for hit big hitting than his ball carrying, but the intent in Lima's tackles (watch the one on Derick Hougaard) is unmatched.

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Jaded Forward September 23, 2012 5:40 pm

1. Strongest Carrier: Henry Tuilagi. It seems like it takes ate least three players (supported by a sniper in the stands with an elephant gun) to take him down, and he invariably makes a few metres before they manage that. If the category were "best carrier" or "most dangerous carrier", I would likely pick Lomu, but I think that some of the top bok forwards could probably have brought Lomu down on their own. Clearly, Tuilagi takes a bit extra (

2. I dunno. Zee Ngwenya seems pretty fast in a flat out sprint.

3. Jason White for big hitter. His tackles always seem to be strong, legal, never give an inch, and often seem to result in the carrier being moved back 3 or 4 metres, frequently putting the support ruckers offside (or nearly so). There are a handful of Samoans, ABs and Boks who make sharper impacts in the tackle, but I don't consider a penalized tackle a successful one. This results in White having near 100% big tackle rate while Tuilagi might not miss many, but when the swinging arms, shoulder charges, and high hits are subtracted he/they are probably closer to a 65% success rate. IMO a "big" hit shrinks a lot when it gives up 3 points or 60m field position.

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Scarlet Beast September 23, 2012 6:49 pm

Don't know why you say could propably. They did! Alot of the backs aswell. Remember all the hype surrounding him in the 95 RWC final. Joost, Japie Mulder and I think even James Small tackled him on their own.

It´s ownly in Invictus that they ganged up on him, but then that was seen from an American point of view.

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Pretzel September 23, 2012 10:46 pm

You mean Matt Damon didn't win the RWC in 1995?

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MaDmAn3104 September 25, 2012 11:51 pm

Lol... Yep good ol Matt Damon!

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Scarlet Beast September 26, 2012 9:29 pm

Liked him in True Grit.

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Pretzel September 27, 2012 1:40 am

True Grit was a terrible film when you compare it with the John Wayne original!!!

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Scarlet Beast September 27, 2012 1:18 pm

Can´t really agree or disagree with you here as I never saw the original. Don´t really watch John Wayne movies. But I reserve the word terrible to describe a movie like Godfather three even without comparison to it predecessors.

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Pretzel September 28, 2012 5:02 am

Lol, ok, I suppose terrible was a bit dramatic. The latest True Grit, in my opinion, was not as good, probably because I knew the story and I liked how John Wayne played it, whereas the new Rooster Cogburn was not as "homely" as John Wayne, or didn't have the same touch...

I think had I not seen the original I'd have probably enjoyed it.. I suppose however if one were to see the latest version first and THEN see the JW version, they'd probably say they like the latest version more...

You know, I actually never saw The Godfather 1,2 or 3... it was just one of those movies I never got round to watching....

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Scarlet Beast September 28, 2012 9:49 am

Dont bother with 3. They should have got an actress to play the role of Mary Corleone.

Had a friend that said he didn´t like any of the movies. He is sleeping with the fishes now.

Which national team do you support?

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Pretzel September 28, 2012 1:37 pm


Unfortunately I cannot tell you which national team I support for a few reasons:

1) I generally enjoy all good rugby, regardless of which team is playing.
2) I am of quite mixed origins and have more ties to the contributing countries than I do to my birth country.
3) I keep things like that a secret in order to keep my neutrality within the forum.. If no one knows who you support, then you cannot be accused of being biased :)

However, when watching matches although I enjoy good rugby, I tend to somewhat support the underdogs.. I love watching lesser teams achieve the unachievable. :)

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Jaded Forward September 23, 2012 5:52 pm

I also notice that in the video the players and TV commentators seem to use "quick" and "fast" interchangeably. To my mind they are distinct concepts, where "fast" refers to all out maximum sprint speed, while "quick" involves rapid acceleration, maximal dexterity, and generally an ability to change speed and/or direction instantly. As a result you can have quick players who aren't that fast, and fast players who aren't that quick. So to conflate the concepts into a player who is both quick and fast, I'd give it to Habana (90%quick/95%fast) or Shane Williams (100%quick/90%fast). Ngwenya has demonstrated great speed in a straight dash, but I can't recall him starting flatfooted, zig-zagging through a crowd, and then breaking out for a run.

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stroudos September 24, 2012 10:13 am

Interesting semantic distinction. On those criteria, I would suggest Caucau had to be at least 100% on the quickness scale, which is all the more impressive when you consider how much additional weight he was transferring so quickly. I don't know if I ever saw him at full tilt for a "fastness" score: he never seemed to need to go beyond third gear because he had always wrongfooted people so badly they were never able to catch him.

For my money, Jason Robinson would score 100% on quickness and 95% fastness.

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MaDmAn3104 September 25, 2012 11:56 pm

No one ever saw what he was truely capable of, he never trained hard at the Blues and held back on fitness testing and speed tests, but they all knew what was lurking underneath. He was the fastest in the team, even Roks and Howlett admitted that. By the time he got to third gear he was already away and always seemed to power down, no point lighting the afterburners if these no one close enough to touch you. 100% quickness, 100% speed. Probably the best winger on the planet when he was fit.

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Busta September 23, 2012 6:44 pm

Strongest Carrier - Fotu Aeulua
Fastest - Tom Varndell
Biggest Hitter - Motu Matu'u

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byehiday September 24, 2012 4:01 am

as a american it was great seeing zee on here for fastest but a bit bummed that todd clever wasnt listed as a big hitter. i know he isnt seen much playing in japan but during the world cup even "plays of the week" loved him and showed it seemed at least a hit or two from every game. it seems watching him that every hit he makes leaves an impact.

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NewfieRugger September 24, 2012 4:10 am

if you look at the game now:
Fastest : Shane Williams. I have no doubt hes faster then habana
strongest runner: Eben Etzebeth, dude has been smashing people left righgt and center, Alesana Tuilagi gets a mention as well.
Hardest Tackler: so many people to consider for this: Cudmore, Willem Alberts, Motu Matu'u, Schalk Burger, but overall i have to say Manu Tuilagi, no center can handle his hits.

But if you look at those people ever to play the game:

Shane Williams
Jerry Collins.

not a doubt in my mind over those 3

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Jam September 24, 2012 7:51 am

(1) Hardest - Jerry Collins
(2) Fastest - Takudzwa Ngwenya (showed in the clip that he was quicker than Shane Williams)
(3) Strongest carrier / runner - Manu Tuilagi
(4) Biggest Hitter - Courtney Lawes (not seen many people mensioning his name but he has put in some spine tingling hits in the past.

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UpandAway September 24, 2012 8:30 am

That I've ever seen........

Powerful: LOMU easily
Fastest: CAUCAUNICA not just the speed but talent and power, otherwise Chavanga
Hitters: LIMA, LEOTA, H TUILAGI, MOTU'U, COLLINS......... BETSEN & WORSLEY (relentlessness)

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stroudos September 24, 2012 9:50 am

UpandAway- great shout on both Betsen & Worseley, who curiously I don't think have been mentioned elsewhere on this page yet. I would add Dusautoir to this list of flankers who can just keep on smashing people continuously for 80 minutes. Incredible reslience, stamina and, as you say, relentlessness.

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morich September 24, 2012 10:20 am

UpandAway/stroudos: I would put Betsen and Dusautoir top on my list of "best tacklers"; and I think it's the weakness of this poll - "hard hits" are good but a perfect tackling technique is something else. And while guys like Chabal or Collins are spectacular, I definitely wouldn't call them better defenders than Dusautoir, McCaw or O'Driscoll.

And I agree with someone above: on the weight/impact ratio, I would definitely vote for Wilkinson as hardest hitter (I think his damaged shoulders agree too).

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Tc September 24, 2012 3:32 pm

Wilkinson also missed a lot of tackles, something which he managed to obscure by being such a great head on tackler

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Colombes September 24, 2012 12:17 pm

strongest ball carrier: Lomu
fastest: jason Robinson
hardest hitter: Betsen

but all this stuff is very subjective ;)

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Pretzel September 24, 2012 12:21 pm

Seems like a lot of people have come to realise the ambiguity of this particular video and surrounding questions.

I completely forgot about the likes of Betsen, and definitely Dusautoir. I mean for hardest hitters I put Lima as one of mine, (like everyone else) but in reality Lima made a lot of average tackles, and then a few bone crunching tackles. Admittedly his bone crunchers were VERY big and he made more than others, but when you compare him to someone like Dusautoir who seems to make EVERY tackle that comes his way and they all seem to be pretty crunching, not Lima sort of crunching, but definitely crunching.

Same goes for Wilkinson who consistently made hard hits, again they were often "car accident" hits like Lima, but they were consistently hard.

So really we end up weighing up consistently TOUGH tackles, against sporadic CRIPPLING tackles, and I am not sure whether it is fair to give someone perhaps like Chabal a title, who throws some monster hits in every now and again, but seems a bit like a lemon the rest of the time...when compared to a Dusautoir, a McCaw, a Warburton (although he was naughty in the RWC!), etc etc who are consistently strong tacklers, and generally legal about it too....

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UpandAway September 24, 2012 1:24 pm

Well I'm glad I got a few people thinking ;-) wasn't really trying to but there you go. lol

Once a game someone might get monstered by Henry Tuilagi but if you wanted the hardest opposition runner tackled out of the match you call on someone like Worsley........... he filled that role for England on a few occasions and was the kind of player over 80 minutes who would execute 20 dominant tackles with no misses....... And like Betsen he's got the lumps to prove it. One word: HERO

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Pretzel September 24, 2012 2:08 pm

Well that is sort of what I was trying to get at with my original post up there where I mentioned players strengths with regard to their positions. I said about strong ball carrier... you have brilliant backs who are strong ball carriers and then brilliant forwards. I mentioned Victor Matfield, in my opinion a brilliant player who doesn't just fill a second row role. He is dangerous with ball in hand, he is a strong runner, and he can kick!!!, and of course pass...Now does he earn more "strong ball carrier" points than someone who plays from 9-15 because he is a second row?

I also mentioned Lomu and SBW. The two are of course different positioned players, but the different styles are hugely apparent. Lomu is a fast bashing player who was to some extent unstoppable. SBW by comparison is strong in his own right but is more easily stopped, however it is his offloads which are not stopped, and offloads are something that Lomu did not do to such a great extent. So it's a bit like apples and oranges.

The other thing with people like Henry Tuilagi, although he is a destroyer, occasionally he has received a card for his troubles, sometimes rightly sometimes wrongly.... But the other players, Worsley, Dusautoir, McCaw, BOD, etc etc etc, are less often carded... and generally they are carded for their naughtiness in a ruck or slowing the ball etc, less likely to be carded for their tackles...

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Karl Udy September 24, 2012 3:54 pm

For hardest tackler: Brian Lima has been getting quite a few votes on here, but when he was young it was a Samoan teammate of his, Apollo Perelini, who had the reputation of being the hardest hitter around.

For hardest runner: It is hard to go past Jonah Lomu. Don't just look at his All Black games (although in the 1995 and 1999 World Cup semifinals he had two special games.) Check out his games for Counties in 1994/95 or in the Sevens in those years when he had just come on the scene and no one had a clue how to tackle him. Nowadays it is not so uncommon to find a wing his size, but back then he was the original back running as fast as any wing but the size of a lock.

For fastest runner: There are elusive runners like Christian Cullen and David Campese but for pure speed try Martin "Chariots" Offiah or even Rory Underwood. Or you could go back a few decades a pick out a genuine Olympic sprint champion on Scotland's wing in Eric Liddell.

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Juggernauter September 24, 2012 7:58 pm

Quickest man on the game was that little devil Shane Williams. Just remember his try against Fiji at RWC 2007. Blistering pace.

Strongest tackler has to go to the Chiropractor. Every time I watch that hit on Hougaard my ribs start to itch.

And hasrdest runner should be SBW. Not onluy for the straight lines but also for that freakish ability to free his arms for the offloads.

Great feat, RD, keep 'em coming!

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Facepalm September 24, 2012 8:50 pm

1) Strongest Ball carrier - Morgan Parra
2) Fastest runner - Ben Tamaifuna
3) Hardest hitter - Danny Cipriani

Parra has got to be one of, if not the most, physically assertive players I have ever seen whilst in full flight. I don't think anyone can deny him that spot.
As for Tamaifuna, all those hotdogs must have really made the difference. I heard he posted 10:15 last year. Unbelieveable stuff.
Ok, I know many may see Cipriani to be controversial, but he just pipped O'Gara to that spot. Sometimes tight calls must be made. Tally ho.

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Pretzel September 24, 2012 10:46 pm

Wait... what?... Cipriani as "hardest hitter"???? I mean, I could have let that go had you not followed it by "he just pipped O'Gara to that spot"....WHAT? O'Gara? As in Ronan "Human turnstile" O'Gara?

You do realise that by "hardest hitter" it is somewhat referring to Hardest tackler... toughest tackler...

I mean hardest hitter is sort of talking about this:

and not this:

So I sort of fail to see how Cipriani gets a mention...

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Eggman September 24, 2012 11:26 pm

I think he might've been ironic.. Might explain the double post :p

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Pretzel September 25, 2012 12:50 am

Wooooooooosh, straight over my head... I blame it on fatigue...

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Scarlet Beast September 25, 2012 8:58 pm

Would also like to mention Tuigamala for strongets ball carrier. That is if anyone else remember that far back. This guy was brilliant.

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Canadian content September 25, 2012 10:55 pm

Look I love Shane one of my favorite athletes, and definitely the most nimble and tricky, but fastest with the ball in hand, he was plain stripped by zee who also did habana, there's no contest.

And as for occonor doing Shane, as stated above, I don't agree, he had a step and just beat him, he didn't run past him.

Dusatoir is the most consistent big tackler but definitely not a Samoan like hitter.

The reds flanker with the blind hair, dont recall his name also laid out jerry when he was waiting for the ball. I find Chabal did that frequently, hit players waiting for passes. Which is fair play, but opportunistic none the least, unlike Jerry and white who'd line up players running at them.

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MaDmAn3104 September 26, 2012 12:02 am

Strongest Ball Carrier: Have to be Lomu, hands down; no one wanted to try and stop the beast and it didnt matter if you were a forward or a back or going stright into reverse when that shoulder drops.

Fastest Runner: Cau Cau ticks the boxes, he was quick off the mark and when he hit top gear was untoucable, (not that he hit top gear becasue there usually already all over when he hit third)

Hardest Tackler: I will go fro some one diffrent here, a Fijian guy named Viliami Satala. He could hit, they called him the streacher. big hit, great timing and legit tackles too.

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Scarlet Beast September 26, 2012 9:37 pm

Pardon my ignorance but when did Ngwenya beat Habana. Ok he side stepped him in the RWC, but that doesn´t mean he is faster than him. Maybe now cause Habana is a lot older. IMO it doesn´t show he is faster than Habana. Not saying he isn´t fast or Habana is faster just saying that incident on its own doesn´t prove he is faster.

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Pretzel September 27, 2012 1:42 am

Wasn't really a sidestep, not in the traditional sense... I wouldn't like to say he is faster or slower, but clearly he beat Habana there...

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Scarlet Beast September 27, 2012 1:13 pm

But you see the point I´m making? Yes I worded my previous comment wrong. You are right he clearly beat him there. What I´m saying is this doesn´t prove he is faster.

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Pretzel September 28, 2012 5:07 am

Yeh I do see your point, I am just unsure how it could be judged that any player is faster than any other player unless they were told to run 50 metres or something and timed and then a table of their times were put up labelling their positions against all other players...

I think someone up there made a brilliant point (Jaded Forward) about "Fast" and "Quick" and how they can be interpreted differently. I think it is a nice post that really opens up the rugby world and ties in well with your point. It is almost impossible to see who is faster (unless doing as I said), however speed is nothing without a brain attached, and a brain that can allow a player to move and jink about is even better...

I would like to see a table of stats though... but as Jaded Forward said, it might not mean much unless it was a clear sprint for a ball...

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Scarlet Beast September 28, 2012 9:41 am

Thanks my point exactly.

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didi October 04, 2012 12:40 pm

strongest ball carrier: Mamuka Gorgodze
fastest: Takuza Zee Ngwenia
hardest hitter: Tulagui Alesana (and family)

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fastprop November 18, 2012 10:54 am

No-one can touch lomu on ball carrying. People say some modern players would match him but a modern lomu would also be fitter bigger faster. Don't forget about his kidney problem .imagine what he could have achieved .Fastest well Nigell Walker for Wales Olympic semi finalist 110m hurdles 10.2 ish 100m time.Don't know why he's never mentioned in these blogs.Biggest hitters um Samoans lol

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Michael Mills December 01, 2012 9:09 am

Fastest: Bryan Habana
Strongest: Eben Etzebeth
Hardest Hitter: Eben Etzebeth
Eben Etzebeth Dumbell press' 80kg's! He bicep Curls with 75kg's! He is extremely tall and a beast in the gym. His barbell weighs 35kg's. Which is 15 more than an OLYMPIC barbell. He put Bismarck Du Plessis on the ground.

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fastprop December 09, 2012 10:15 am

If we're talking pure strength then Andrew Sheridan it's gotta be .500 pound bench at 20 years old

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Ray December 20, 2012 1:13 pm

Lomu in his prime was a beast with the ball and without it.
Hardest hitter for me would be the Chiropractor but I remember Ilivasi Tabua also known as Ili Tabua the human skewer he was a big hitter

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BLUFSTA January 03, 2013 11:34 am

Strongest ball carrier - Lomu. Hard power and speed, probably the hardest player to stop. Inga Tuigamala was Lomus predecessor and also hard to stop.

Fastest runner - Rubeni Caucau for me was one of the best (even though he never really reached his full potential). Habana, Zee, Shane Williams are all up there..

Hardest Hitter - "The Chiropractor" Brian Lima is one of if not the biggest hitters out.. Apollo Perelini before him was the biggest hitter for the Manu.. but there are so many contenders for this title, Tuilagi bros, Collins, Chapel, Dusautoir etc.. Sam Tuitupou gets a mention in there as well haha

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Sledge April 17, 2013 4:03 pm

Strongest ball carrier- Hands down has to be Jonah Lomu. No other player since, has come close to the power Lomu had, when it comes to ball carring. I don't know why SBW is been mentioned as the strongest ball carrier. Yes he has a great offload but that doesn't make him the strongest ball carrier. I'll have Nonu & Umaga as stronger ball carriers than SBW, but not even they are in Lomu's league. Lomu is in a class on his own..

Fastest Runner- Rubeni Caucau & Christian Cullen are the fastest I've seen. But I'll go with Caucau, I have seen him smoke so many so called fast players & he didn't even get out of 2nd gear. Sad that we only saw a glimpse of his potential & that he didn't quite get to the greatness we all knew he had.

Hardest hitter- Valita Ma'ake best known for playing at fullback for Tonga 1973, in the biggest upset in rugby when Tonga upset the Wallabies. Valita made big hits an art form in which he mastered, & this was the only way he knew how to tackle. For those who never got the privilege to watch him play. I would say he would be a mixture of Polota nau, Motu Matuu & Richard Kahui. & he would pull off 4-5 bone crunching hits a game, which usaully ended in the tackled being stretched off.

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D1435 January 08, 2014 10:21 am

"rupeni caucau is better than Jonah Lomu" - moses dakunivosa. Is this true?

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Guest January 08, 2014 10:27 am


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d1435 January 08, 2014 10:28 am

Fastest- Jason Robinson or Carlin Isles
most powerful- is definitely Jonah Lomu
hardest hitter- Brian Lima

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thewizofoz January 08, 2014 10:30 am

Strongest ball carrier: Manu Tuilagi
Fastest: Rupeni Caucau
Hardest/ Biggest Hitter: Brian Lima

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euskalkiwi January 25, 2014 11:55 pm

Rennie Ranger for the lot, one of the best all rounders there is!

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xFreer February 12, 2014 4:52 pm

1. lomu
2. lomu
3. lomu

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rugby101 April 15, 2014 3:23 pm

They always knew what he was going to do but just didn't know how to stop him without using a whole forward pack and plus thats a wingers job to score trys he just did it more like a no.8 :)

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