Ranking the 10 Best Hookers in Rugby History
The hooker is the tip of the spear of any successful pack and key to a successful lineout.
Plenty have became rugby legends from the No. 2 shirt; here is RUCK.co.uk’s all-time top 10 as we continue our series of exploring the best players in history.
10 Raphael Ibanez
Combative, intense hooker Raphael Ibanez made his France debut in 1996 before going on to make 98 Test appearances including 27 as Captain.
He won consecutive Grand Slams with France in 1997 and 1998 and steered them to the World Cup Final as Skipper in 1999.
He was also heavily responsible for London Wasps’ win in the 2007 Heineken Cup final, playing in the same side as fellow Six Nations captain Phil Vickery.
Did you know: Ibanez has published two books and is also a regular guest in the BBC Six Nations studio.
9 Steve Thompson
Rugby World Cup winner Thompson was one of the toughest running hookers to have ever played the game.
At over 6ft tall he was taller than the average hooker, and his 18 stone frame and notable handling skills made him an intimidating presence in the pack and the loose.
He made his England debut against Scotland in 2002 and would go on to cement his place in Clive Woodward’s squad in the build-up to the 2003 Rugby World Cup.
In total, he won 76 Test caps scoring four tries between 2002 and 2011 while also making three appearances for the British and Irish Lions on their tour of New Zealand in 2005.
Did you know: He is England’s most capped hooker.
8 Bismarck Du Plessis
After years of being imprisoned in the shadow of John Smith, Springbok hooker Bismark Du Plessis grabbed his opportunity to star for South Africa by the horns.
The sometimes uncompromising character, who sometimes lets his aggression get the better of him, has made over 70 Test appearances so far, scoring nine tries.
The 31-year old, who is still an dominant part of the side, should be a vital part of South Africa’s World Cup campaign in 2015.