Nigel Owens names rugby's ultimate hardman, nobody messed with him - Ruck

Nigel Owens names rugby’s ultimate hardman, nobody messed with him

Richie McCaw, renowned in the annals of All Blacks history, finds himself absent from the latest publication celebrating the formidable figures of rugby’s toughest players.

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While the book “Hard Men of Rugby” profiles 20 robust individuals, McCaw’s name is notably absent from the lineup, despite three other All Blacks making the cut.

However, within the same volume, McCaw receives a resounding endorsement from Welsh referee Nigel Owens, recognised as one of the sport’s finest officials.

Owens, who penned the foreword, lauds McCaw’s unparalleled contributions, highlighting his resilience and unwavering commitment to the game.

He said: ““A popular question put to me is, who is the hardest player I have ever come across on the pitch? Well … when it comes to the hardest of all, I am sorry Luke [author Luke Upton], it is not one of your suggestions … it is Richie McCaw.

Richie McCaw of New Zealand and Daniel Carter of New Zealand hold aloft the Rugby World Cup during the Rugby World Cup Final match between New Zealand and Australia at Twickenham Stadium on Oct 31st 2015 in London – Photo mandatory by-line: Graeme Truby/Pinnacle – Tel: +44(0)1363 881025 – Mobile:0797 1270 681 – VAT Reg No: 183700120 – SPORT – International Rugby

“Capped 148 times by New Zealand, despite playing in the most attritional of positions, where every game he would be throwing himself into harm’s way, perhaps by locking himself over possession and soaking up the attention of immensely powerful forwards who would do everything they could wipe him off the ball.

“Now that is what I call a genuine hard man.”

Indeed, McCaw’s illustrious career substantiates Owens’ praise. Spanning from 2001 to 2015, McCaw’s tenure witnessed remarkable achievements, including leading the All Blacks to consecutive World Cup triumphs in 2011 and 2015. Out of his 148 international tests, he only endured defeat 15 times, while captaining the team in 111 of those appearances.

However, McCaw had to settle for third on Owens’ list of the best captains he refereed…


#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.”