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What happened to the youngest player of every World Cup from 1987 to 2015?

They arrived at the Rugby World Cup with twinkles in their eyes and spring in their steps – but how did things turn out thereafter? RUCK traces the teens…
1987: Gareth Rees – Canada (aged 19)

The fly-half played in all of the first four Rugby World Cup tournaments, the 1987, 1991, 1995 and 1999. He retired after the 1999 finals becoming the only player to play at the first four Rugby World Cups. In 2011 he was inducted in the World Rugby Hall of Fame as the first and only Canadian. He also played club rugby with Castaways, Wasps, Mérignac, Newport, Oxford University, Harlequins, and the Barbarians.

1991: Brian Lima – Samoa (aged 19) 

Brian Lima is known to many as the man who has played for Samoa at five Rugby World Cups. He earned the nickname of “The Chiropractor” for his shuddering hits both on and off the pitch that supposedly rearranged the bones of the victim. The powerhouse was the youngest player at the 1991 tournament but was part of a Samoa team that beat Wales 16-13 to announce themselves on the world stage. A true rugby legend and Hall of Famer.

1995: Joe Roff – Australia (aged 19)

Australia’s Joe Roff was Mr Dependable – rock solid in everything he did and reliable. He was called up to the Wallabies squad aged 19 in 1995, scoring on his debut in a World Cup group match against Canada, before going on to lift the Webb Ellis trophy in 1999. He also played a key role in the 2001 series victory over the British and Irish Lions, scoring twice in the crucial second Test which proved to be the turning point of the tour.


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