How rugby's toughest ever players earned their nicknames - Page 4 of 5 - Ruck

How rugby’s toughest ever players earned their nicknames

Paddy Mayne AKA ‘The Phantom Major’

For most a rugby career that took in playing for both his country, Ireland and the Lions would be enough to create a big reputation, but for Mayne, his play on the pitch was merely a prelude to some extraordinary World War II exploits. He was recruited into what would become the SAS, and would become one of its co-founders, seeing action in North Africa, Italy, France and Germany and winning a string of medals. He was most famous for his daring behind enemy lines operations, inspiring his own men and terrorising the Nazis which gave him his nickname. It was only his reputation for fiery behaviour and at times disrespect for authority that stopped him winning a deserved Victoria Cross. 


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