Popular referee Nigel Owens has seen it all over 20 years as a top official and come across the toughest of the tough, but one man stands apart.
“A popular question put to me is, who is the hardest player I’ve ever come across on the pitch?”, wrote Owens.
“Well, many of the players included in this book would be very high up on my list but when it comes to the hardest of all…it’s Richie McCaw.
“Capped 148 times by New Zealand, despite playing in the most attritional of positions, where every game he would be throwing himself in harm’s way, perhaps by locking himself over possession and soaking up the attention of immensely powerful forwards who would do everything they could to wipe him off the ball.
“Now that’s what I would call a genuine hard man!”
Owens also included McCaw on his list of top 5 captains with the All Black legend ranked third.
- Disgraced international star set to make rugby return
- DONE DEAL: Another star commits to Bath
- Mike Brown blames Maro Itoje for his England exile
- Northampton Saints complete double signing
- England could lose Premiership top try-scorer to Ireland
NIGEL OWENS: MY TOP 5 CAPTAINS
#5. Chris Robshaw (England)
Owens said: Some people will be surprised at this one to start off. His misfortune was perhaps to be leading England during a difficult time, but he always gave everything for the cause, encouraging others to follow suit, and he was a nice guy off the pitch.”