"hard-as-nails merchants" - Nigel Owens names the three hardest players he came across - Ruck

“hard-as-nails merchants” – Nigel Owens names the three hardest players he came across

Leading world rugby referee Nigel Owens has rated former All Blacks captain and flanker Richie McCaw one of the hardest men he came across on a rugby pitch.

Owens, writing in his column in walesonline.co.uk, made his comment after remarks by England international and former Highlander James Haskell claimed rugby had gone soft.

#1. Richie McCaw (New Zealand)

Owens wrote: “A popular question put to me is, who is the hardest player I’ve ever come across on the pitch?”, writes 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, I’m sorry Luke, it’s not one of your suggestions…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!”

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