#3. Martin Johnson (England)
The lock will always be remembered as the man presented with the 2003 World Cup, which England won in Sydney. As well as being an inspirational leader, the Leicester lock was also a formidable player in his own right. A rock like presence in the tight, whose rugby motto was if in doubt, go forward.
BARNES SAID: “I was always petrified of Martin Johnson because he was coming to the end of his career when I started in the Premiership.” said Barnes.
“2003 was my first [season] and obviously that was towards the end of his career and I remember I had to sin-bin him once and I actually apologised as I did it.
“I said ‘I’m very sorry I have to do this’ because he’s such a big personality. I guess he was always someone who scared me witless!”
- Johnson comes from a sporting family. His great-grandfather was a wrestler. His younger brother Will is also a former back row forward for Leicester.
- He briefly played American football for the Leicester Panthers as a tight end or defensive end.
- Johnson was selected for the New Zealand under-21 side which went on a tour of Australia playing a side that included another of the all-time great lock forwards, John Eales.
- His first job wa working in a nuts and bolts factory as a schoolboy