100 greatest All Blacks ever: 20 to 11 (2023)

Part nine of our ten part series looking at the greatest All Blacks of all time, ranked in order from 100 to 1…

20. Billy Wallace (1903-1908 – 51 matches)
An early colossus of All Black rugby. He was in the side which played the first Test against Australia in 1903 and two years later he was a leading performer for the 1905-06 Originals. Wallace clearly was a gifted footballer capable of playing anywhere in the backline, which, except for halfback, he did.

But it is the statistics of Wallace’s career which have made him such an imposing figure. A goalkicker and because of his exceptional pace a prolific try scorer, Wallace was the first New Zealand rugby player to amass scoring records, and many of his records stood for decades. He scored 246 points for the Originals – a touring record which still stands and seems likely to last forever.

19. Sid Going (1967-1977 – 86 matches)
Sid Going ranks among the best halfbacks ever. Strong and stocky, he was a superb runner close to his forwards, with a flair for the unorthodox. Though sometimes criticised for the quality of his passing and backing himself over teammates, Going was nevertheless a gamebreaker supreme.

Rated by some as the equal of New Zealand’s greatest running half-back Jimmy Mill, he proved himself to be a match-winning individualist and at the same time a world class pivot capable of playing the type of game to suit the occasion.Remembered for gazelle-like leaps to take high kicks, his uncanny knack of scoring shock tries, his cavalier treatment of even the burliest of forwards and his constant quick-thinking and action.

18. Sean Fitzpatrick (1986-1997 – 128 matches)
By the time of his enforced retirement, Sean Fitzpatrick had established himself as one of the most significant All Blacks of all time. As a player Fitzpatrick, with his durability, competitiveness and his role in making the hooker a dynamic cross between a tight and loose forward, achieved greatness.

(Video) 100 Greatest Springbok Tries / 1992 to 2015 / 20 to 11

But he was also an inspiring leader and of the 128 matches he played for the All Blacks, 62 had been as captain from 1992. A World Cup winner in 1987, perhaps his finest achievements as a captain came in the 1996 season with a magnificent 43-6 hammering of the Wallabies at Athletic Park and a few weeks later a series win over the Springboks on South African soil.

17. Mark Nicholls (1921-1930 – 51 matches)
One of the most influential players of the 1920s (a golden era of All Black rugby), and a champion five-eighth and goalkicker. He is widely regarded as one of New Zealand’s best first five-eighths and has been chosen in many a mythical selection of the “best ever.” But Nicholls never played much of his major rugby as a first five, being more regularly placed at second five or even at centre.


With the team soon to be immortalised as the Invincibles, Nicholls became a backline mainstay and has been almost unanimously acclaimed as one of the most important players in what was a star studded team. Nicholls was the backline general, the master tactician, and the leading scorer. A British critic wrote of him on the Invincibles tour that he had shown “a conception of the New Zealand game that amounted to genius.”

16. Kel Tremain (1959-1968 – 86 matches)
Both as a player and then as an administrator, Kel Tremain made a towering contribution to New Zealand rugby. Though a tight-loose type of a backrow forward, he had an extraordinary ability to score tries. In 268 first-class matches he scored 136 tries, which was the record for a forward until passed by Zinzan Brooke in the 1990s. Tremain was part of the wonderful All Black pack which eclipsed the Springboks and Lions in 1965-66 and a leading contributor to the triumphant tours of Britain and France in 1963-64 and 1967.

(Video) 100 Greatest Springbok Tries / 1949 to 1989 / 20 to 11

For much of the 1960s, with Tremain as captain, Hawke’s Bay were consistently among New Zealand’s leading provincial sides. In 1966-69 there was a lengthy Ranfurly Shield reign. His place in New Zealand rugby has been recognised with the annual award for the outstanding player of the season named in his honour.

15. Kevin Skinner (1949-1956 – 63 matches)
Skinnner was the New Zealand heavyweight boxing champion in 1947. A skilled lineout No.2, expert rush stopper, strong scrummager and extremely mobile, he retired after the 1953-54 tour of the UK as one of the very best props New Zealand has produced.

He had equalled Maurice Brownlie’s all time record for All Black matches at 61. But in 1956 was brought out of retirement to “sort out” the touring Springbok front row in the final two tests of the series, though reports of the amount of rough play he was involved in have been greatly exaggerated.

14. Tiny White (1949-1956 – 55 matches)
One of the greatest All Black forwards of the 1950s and, while he may have been eclipsed a decade or so later by one of his test succesors, Sir Colin Meads, he ranks still as one of the best of all New Zealand locks. By modern standards he was not exceptionally huge, but he gave an illusion of an imposing physique for he had a craggy, wiry build derived from a considerable natural strength and developed from working the land as a Poverty Bay farmer.

Sir Terry McLean and all other critics of the time were unanimous that White was one of the greatest forwards in New Zealand rugby history. “… He played with matchless vigour, especially in the lineout,” wrote McLean, adding that, apart from a fault of trying too much on his own in the loose, he was “a wonderful player.”


(Video) Barbarians v All Blacks - the greatest try ever

13. Ron Jarden (1951-1956 – 37 matches)
The champion left wing was an automatic selection from 1951 to 1956. With his extraordinary pace and intelligence, Jarden was a lethal attacker and with considerable skills honed from his devotion to training and concentration on the fundamentals.

Jarden was strongly built, he had natural pace and to his speed he added a mastery of basic skills. He was a highly accurate thrower of the ball to lineouts and created many tries with his precise centreing kick. Any doubts as to Jarden’s right to be rated among the greats of All Black rugby are removed by the remarkable statistics of his career.

Even though he played in an era where conservative tactical approaches did not encourage sparkling back play, Jarden in 134 first-class matches scored 145 tries including 35 in 37 All Black matches. In the 1955 domestic season he scored 30 tries, still the record for a New Zealand first-class season. He retired from rugby aged just 26. In 1951 he won the Supreme Halberg Award, one of just three individual All Blacks to be so honoured.

12. Michael Jones (1987-1998 – 74 matches)
Few players have exuded so much charisma and mystique as Michael Jones, a supremely gifted athlete was almost invariably one of the first names written down in any All Black team sheet. A serious knee injury in 1989 effectively split Jones’ international career into two distinct parts. In his first period Jones played mainly as an openside flanker, and as such he helped redefine the position.

He had pace, athleticism, ball skills and a punishing tackle which quickly won him acclaim as one of the most gifted rugby players of all time. And despite being not much more than 1.85m he was able to out-jump taller forwards in the lineout. In the mid 1990s Jones made the switch to the more conservative, less flamboyant but more physical demands of becoming a blindside flanker.

With his strength, commitment and fierce close quarter tackling he was especially effective. He won many plaudits for his on-field deeds, even being acclaimed by some judges as the greatest rugby player of all time. That may have been arguable, but he certainly would be a candidate of any dream All Black XV.

(Video) Barbarians vs All Blacks 1973 Rugby (BBC 100 Great Sporting Moments)

11. Jimmy Hunter (1905-1908 – 36 matches)
Jimmy Hunter will always be a name that will live forever in New Zealand rugby. A gifted midfield back, Hunter had deceptive pace and agility. Described by a contemporary critic EDH Sewell as “one of the most sinuous runners” he had seen, Hunter was one of the stars of the 1905-06 Originals on their tour of Britain.


In 24 games in Britain for the All Blacks he scored 44 tries, which is a record that will never be defeated. Hunter was only 18 when he entered the Taranaki provincial team in 1898 as a halfback and at just 1.68m he was more the physique for this position.

But after playing on the wing and at fullback he soon found a niche in the midfield where he was an outstanding second five-eighth. He was captain of the All Blacks on a tour of Australia in 1907 and captain in the second Test, against the touring Lions in 1908. His record 48 All Black tries stood for the better part of 70 years.


What is the highest All Black score ever? ›

FT | The #AllBlacks notch up their biggest ever winning margin against South Africa with a 57 - 0 victory. Elcamo Pietersen and 50,951 others like this.

Who is All Black number 1111? ›

He became the youngest ever All Black when he played his first international in 1994 at the age of 19 years and 45 days.
Jonah Lomu.
Place of deathAuckland, New Zealand
Height196 cm (6 ft 5 in)
Weight120 kg (265 lb; 18 st 13 lb)
SchoolWesley College
Rugby union career
8 more rows

Who was the most successful All Black captain? ›

Richard Hugh McCaw ONZ (born 31 December 1980) is a retired New Zealand professional rugby union player. He captained the national team, the All Blacks, in 110 out of his 148 test matches, and won two Rugby World Cups.

Who has scored the most tries in rugby history? ›

Daisuke Ohata

Who was the fastest All Black? ›

Anyone that doubts All Blacks centre Rieko Ioane is the fastest player in the world should look at his performance against the Rebels on Friday at Eden Park.

Who was the 1000th All Black? ›

Newcastle Falcons

Widely regarded as one of the world's best tight-heads, Carl Hayman became the 1000th All Black when he made his debut as a replacement against Samoa in 2001.

Who was the 1st All Black? ›

As of 13 November 2022, 1207 players have been All Blacks. The "first" All Black was James Allan, which was decided by alphabetical order, while the most recent All Black is Mark Telea — #1207.

Who has 100 caps for All Blacks? ›

The world record for Test appearances is held by Richie McCaw—who played 148 Test matches for the team between 2001 and 2015. McCaw was also the first All Black to play over 100 Test matches; a record he achieved during the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Who are the All Black number 10s? ›

Aaron Cruden, Lima Sopoaga, Beauden Barrett, Damian McKenzie and Richie Mo'unga – all All Black 10's over this decade – have this ability in their own unique style, with varying degrees of strength in each skill area, while Dan Carter was regarded as the most complete product ever.

Who is the greatest All Black fullback? ›

The four fullbacks were Bob Scott (17 tests from 1946-1954), George Nēpia (9 tests from 1924-1930), Christian Cullen (58 tests from 1996-2002) and Mils Muliaina (100 tests from 2003-2011).

Who is the best All Black fullback? ›

His 58 tests also make him the All Blacks highest capped fullback ever. 1. Serge Blanco (FRA) (pictured) - He was flamboyant, creative, inventive, and when there was a gap, devastating. Blanco was such an elegant player, but also one who did everything great fullbacks have to do, but threw some flair into the mix.

Who is the longest serving All Black captain? ›

Richie McCaw

What score is impossible in rugby? ›

Is there more than one way to score some of these points? The lowest score that is not possible is 4. You can score 5 (try), 6 (penalty kick / drop goal) and 7 (converted try) points and by adding penalty kicks / drop goals to each of these over and over you can get all other scores.

What is the most watched rugby game ever? ›

World Cup of Rugby- 12.8 Million Viewers

Rugby's premier event is the World Cup of Rugby, and like many big events is held every four years. Twenty of the best international teams compete in a six-week tournament until ultimately one team remains.

Who is the best 7s player? ›

List of winners
2019Jerry TuwaiFiji
2020No award
2021Marcos MonetaArgentina
2022Terry KennedyIreland
15 more rows

Who is the fastest rugby player ever? ›

10 fastest rugby players of all-time have been ranked
  • #3. TONDERAI CHAVANGA (South Africa) -10.27 Seconds.
  • #2. CARLIN ISLES (USA) – 10.13 Seconds.
  • #1. TRAE WILLIAMS (AUSTRALIA) – 10.10 Seconds.
Oct 21, 2022

Who is the best rugby team of all time? ›

1. British and Irish Lions – 1971. The British and Irish Lions from 1971 are likely the best team that has ever graced the sport of rugby. They are, to this day, the only Lions team that managed to beat New Zealand in their backyard.

Who is the fastest person in all of history? ›

In 2009 Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt set the world record in the 100-meter sprint at 9.58 seconds.

Who were the All Black First Fives? ›

The four first fives were Grant Fox (46 tests from 1985-1993), Andrew Mehrtens (70 tests from 1995-2004), Dan Carter (112 tests from 2003-2015) and Beauden Barrett (91 tests from 2012-present).

Who is the best scrum half ever? ›

1. Gareth Edwards, Wales. Quite simply, the greatest scrum-half in rugby history and very possibly the finest player of all time.

Who was the 515 All Black? ›

Roy Roper - All Black #515 - 95 years young! Correct, Eric Tindill lived to be 99 and was the longest lived All Black.

Who was the first black main character? ›

Although he never won an Oscar, Lincoln Perry was America's first black movie star. But for that distinction, Perry paid a heavy price -- he is best known as the character of Stepin Fetchit, a befuddled, mumbling, shiftless fool.

Who was the first black leading actor? ›

Sidney Poitier, Oscar winner and Hollywood's first Black movie star, dies at 94.

Who is the fastest rugby player to 100 caps? ›

All Blacks lock Sam Whitelock tops the current list, having taken eight years and 67 days to reach his century. Adding to the legend, Hooper will still be 27. Very few of rugby's centurions hit the milestone before they turned 30.

Who is the best All Black number 6? ›

Laban opted for Kaino as he labelled the former 81-test star as “the greatest No 6 that has ever played rugby”.

What is the longest goal kick in rugby union? ›

The record in an international was set at 64.22m 70yd 88in by Paul Huw Thorburn (b. 24 Nov 1962) for Wales v. Scotland on 1 Feb 1986.

Who made number 10 famous? ›

Pele and Maradona

It is no doubt that the most iconic tournament in football is the World Cup, and these are the two players that shined the most in this scenario, but most importantly, both did it wearing number 10. They are both responsible that number 10 is associated with greatness.

Who is All Black number 14? ›

Player right winger 14 (NEHE MILNER SKUDDER) | All blacks rugby, All blacks rugby team, Rugby men.

Who is the All Blacks number 9? ›

Aaron Luke Smith (born 21 November 1988) is a New Zealand rugby union player.

Who is the best number 8 in rugby? ›

Notable number 8s

He was followed closely in the voting by Zinzan Brooke. In today's game, a number of stars of world rugby wear the number 8 shirt with pride. They include Springbok star Duane Vermeulen, All Blacks legend Kieran Read and arguably the finest player to ever represent Italy, Sergio Parisse.

How fast could Jonah Lomu run 100m? ›

At 6 feet 5 inches (1.95 metres) and 275 pounds (125 kg), Lomu was exceptionally large for a wing player. Blessed with great speed (he ran 100 metres in under 11 seconds) and power, he was difficult to stop and often ran over opponents.

Who is the best rugby winger of all time? ›

Best ever rugby union wingers
  • 9) Rupeni Caucaunibuca.
  • 8) Jeff Wilson.
  • 6) Jason Robinson.
  • 5) Shane Williams.
  • 4) David Campese.
  • 3) Julian Savea.
  • 2) Bryan Habana.
  • 1) Jonah Lomu.
Oct 31, 2022

Who is the best All Black coach? ›

Steve Hansen can lay claim to being the greatest All Blacks coach ever.

Do any teams still use a fullback? ›

Most teams in the NFL do not have a substitute fullback, though there are exceptions.

Who is the best tighthead props of all time? ›

During his international career, he was capped more than 100 times by the All Blacks and won back-to-back Rugby World Cups in 2011 and 2015. Other popular tighthead props included Carl Hayman, Jannie du Plessis and Adam Jones. Today, Tadhg Furlong is regarded as the best tighthead prop in the world.

Who is the longest serving in the world? ›

However, the longest undisputed reigning ruler of a sovereign state is Louis XIV, who ruled the Kingdom of France for 72 years, 3 months, and 18 days.

Who is the ex All Blacks captain? ›

Kieran James Read ONZM (born 26 October 1985) is a New Zealand former rugby union player. He played as a number 8 and is a former captain of the New Zealand national team, the All Blacks.
Kieran Read.
UniversityUniversity of Canterbury
Rugby union career
8 more rows

How long were the All Blacks number 1? ›

From 2009 to December 2018, the All Blacks held the number one position in the World Rugby rankings. The side also claimed World Rugby's Team of the Year title on seven consecutive occasions from 2010-2016.

What is the biggest wins in rugby? ›

128New Zealand145–17
98New Zealand101–3
95New Zealand108–13
1 more row

What is the most tries in a rugby game by one player? ›

The most tries in a league match is ten by Lionel Cooper (b. Australia, 1922–87) for Huddersfield v. Keighley on 17 November 1951.

How many tries did Grant Fox score as an All Black? ›

He amassed 645 points from 46 All Black Test Matches (1 try, 118 conversions, 128 penalties, 7 drop goals). He is considered a true pioneer of the modern art of goal kicking, in particular the technicalities of leaning the ball forward, which has been adopted by world class kickers since.

What was the best rugby match ever? ›

2000: All Blacks 39 d Wallabies 35 at Stadium Australia

Dubbed "the greatest game of rugby ever played", the All Blacks produced a blistering opening to lead 24-0 inside the first seven minutes.

What is the biggest loss in rugby history? ›

Heaviest defeats in history
  • Namibia – 142 points (142-0 to Australia, 2003 Australia World Cup)
  • Romania – 134 points (134-0 to England, Romanian 2001 End of Year Tour)
  • Uruguay – 131 points (134-3 to South Africa, Uruguayan 2005 Summer Tour)
  • Japan – 128 points (17-145 to New Zealand, 1995 South Africa World Cup)
Sep 18, 2017

What is the 50 rule in rugby? ›

What is a 50:22 and how does it work? This is a big one, and hugely beneficial in an attacking sense. If a player kicks the ball from inside their own half and it bounces inside the opposition's 22, the team in possession will throw in from the resulting lineout.

What is the number 1 called in rugby? ›

Positions by number
NumberCommon nameRegional variations
1Tight head prop
3Loose head prop
4Second rowLock
11 more rows


1. 100 Greatest Springbok Tries / 1992 to 2015 / 30 to 21
(Real Rugby)
2. A Powerful Storm Is Coming With Huge Flooding, Damaging Winds, and Feet Of Snow…
(Ryan Hall, Y'all XTRA)
3. All Time Greatest RUGBY Tries HD
5. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,31,32,33,34,35...
6. 20 CRAZIEST Dunks In NBA History..
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Trent Wehner

Last Updated: 01/17/2023

Views: 5417

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (56 voted)

Reviews: 95% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Trent Wehner

Birthday: 1993-03-14

Address: 872 Kevin Squares, New Codyville, AK 01785-0416

Phone: +18698800304764

Job: Senior Farming Developer

Hobby: Paintball, Calligraphy, Hunting, Flying disc, Lapidary, Rafting, Inline skating

Introduction: My name is Trent Wehner, I am a talented, brainy, zealous, light, funny, gleaming, attractive person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.