February 29, 2012
Geordan Murphy recently notched up 300 appearances for Leicester © Getty Images
Leicester Tigers fullback Geordan Murphy reached the milestone of 300 appearances for the Aviva Premiership side last weekend, but he is a dying breed. The notion of the 'one-club man' was widespread pre-professionalism, with Pontypridd second-row Bob Penberthy at the forefront. He managed to accrue 877 appearances for the Welsh side between 1961 and 1985 but never achieved national recognition.
In recent times, with the euro proving too much of a lure for the likes of Luke Charteris and Gethin Jenkins and with many of the southern hemisphere's stars opting for a sabbatical in Japan, fewer and fewer players are following in the footsteps of Murphy and Penberthy.
Despite the 'one-club man' seemingly becoming an anachronism, this week's Scrum Sevens looks at a group of players who have valued home comforts over a potentially lucrative moves elsewhere.
Al Baxter (Waratahs: 2000-2011)
The former Wallabies tight-head is currently dedicating his time to his post-rugby career as an architect - thus putting to bed the myth that front-rowers are the most unintelligent men on the field. He wore the gold of Australia 69 times - making him the Wallabies' most capped prop.
On the club scene, Baxter has inked himself into the Waratahs' history books, trailing only Phil Waugh for Super Rugby appearances for the franchise. After being picked up from his club side the Northern Suburbs, he took his bow in the competition in 2000 and eventually called time on his career at the end of the 2011 season aged 34. With 121 Super Rugby caps to his name, Baxter marked his 100th appearance with his first ever try for the Waratahs - much to the amazement of the commentators.
William Servat (Toulouse: 2000 - present)
The bullish French hooker debuted for Toulouse back in 2000 after signing youth terms with the hugely successful Top 14 side. Although he played amateur rugby for Mazeres-Cassagne, Servat refers to himself as "one club man".
With 46 caps for the national side, Servat is set to bow out from competitive rugby at the end of the season to step into Yannick Bru's shoes as forwards coach of the Top 14 champions. The 34-year-old can leave the game with his head held high, with three French division titles and three Heineken Cups on his mantlepiece.
Tony Woodcock (North Harbour and Blues: 2000 - present)
Woodcock is a rare breed in New Zealand. With the lure of the yen proving strong for the likes of Ma'a Nonu and the euro tempting Dan Carter away on a sabbatical, the majority of the recent All Blacks' World Cup-winning side have all enjoyed a fairly colourful club career. Woodcock has plied his trade for an Auckland-based side since his first game of professional rugby.
He has turned out for North Harbour in the ITM Cup since 2000 and from 2002 for the Blues. Despite seeing long-time All Blacks front-row partner Greg Somerville opting to up sticks and move overseas, Woodcock has remained at his sheep and dairy farm in Kaukapakapa. With 83 Test caps to his name and aged just 31, Woodcock will hope to catch Keven Mealamu who sits atop of the all-time Blues appearances.
Lawrence Dallaglio (London Wasps: 1990-2008)
Lawrence Bruno Nero Dallaglio typified everything that Wasps stood for in his 18-year tenure at the Premiership side. Taking in five Premiership titles and two Heineken Cups, Dallaglio was at the forefront of their battle with Leicester Tigers throughout the noughties.
The man who sung on Tina Turner's record 'We Don't Need Another Hero' also played a key part in England's charge to the World Cup in 2003. While Jonny Wilkinson took the headlines, there was also a crop of kindred spirits for Dallaglio in the side. Ben Kay, Martin Johnson, Neil Back, Joe Worsley, Dorian West, Paul Grayson and Richard Hill all opted to stay put at the same club throughout their career.
Perhaps the best way to sum up Dallaglio is through his team-mate Raphael Ibanez's views of the England No.8. Speaking at the end of his international career, Ibanez reflected on his encounters with Dallaglio on the Six Nations scene saying: "I am Basque, proud of my roots and my emotions. Lawrence, to me, was the perfect cliché of an Englishman with his chin up and chest out. He was the player I hated the most."
Adam Jones (Ospreys: 2003 - present)
Although the fuzzy-haired prop turned out for Neath, he slotted seamlessly into the Ospreys set-up when regionalised rugby was introduced in 2003. A career which includes two Grand Slams, Test appearances for the British & Irish Lions and 78 Welsh caps appears hugely successful, but it hasn't always been easy for the 30-year-old.
Widely recognised as one of the world's premier tight-heads, Jones has struggled with weight in the past with former Wales coach Steve Hansen, on occasion, pulling Jones off the field after 30 minutes. He now claims to be a reformed chocoholic and is embracing the fitness-focused Welsh set-up under Warren Gatland. And the Ospreys will hope to benefit from the new slim-line Jones for the next two years after he ignored advances from across the Channel to pen a new deal with the Swansea-based region.
Ronan O'Gara (Munster: 1997 - present)
The fly-half has captained Munster, Ireland and the British & Irish Lions and has earned success at club, provincial and international level. Although he was born in San Diego, O'Gara has etched himself into Irish history as their all-time record points scorer.
While RO'G is revered at international level, at Munster he is the equivalent of what fellow one-club man Brian O'Driscoll is to Leinster - a deity. After experiencing the heartbreak of losing the Heineken Cup final in 2000 and 2002, he eventually experienced European club success in 2006 and again in 2008. Munster is built around a crux of club stalwarts with skipper Paul O'Connell, Donncha O'Callaghan, Alan Quinlan and until recently Peter Stringer all plying their trade predominantly - barring local club appearances - in the famous red strip.
Andy Hazell (Gloucester 1997 - present)
The 33-year-old flanker is turning his hand to audio/visual home improvements but he is still a firm favourite of the Shed at Kingsholm. Having played his whole career for the Cherry and Whites, Hazell has turned out 247 times for them, with 171 coming in the Premiership - the most for Gloucester since the inauguration of the tournament back in 1996.
Hazell could have added a considerable number to that tally had it not been for injury - with the openside recently stating that he would like to have accrued 350 come the end of his career, but concedes "injuries are never going to let that happen". With seven England caps to his name, Hazell has ticked that box, but it will be his enthusiasm and dogged nature around the breakdown that the Kingsholm faithful will remember him for - along with his ability to cross the try line in spectacular fashion on occasion.
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