The most glittering rugby CVs in the world?
May 19, 2013
South African lock Bakkies Botha has won every senior competition he has played in © Getty Images
Toulon's Heineken Cup final victory over Clermont Auvergne may have ended a long title drought for the Top 14 club but two of their players are no strangers to success.
The most glittering rugby CVs in the world
The South African duo of lock Bakkies Botha and Danie Rossouw, who both contributed to Toulon's dramatic 16-15 success in Dublin, now boast unrivalled rugby CVs - that they may add to before the end of the season.
Both players have now won the Rugby World Cup, Tri-Nations and featured in a series victory over the British & Irish Lions. On the domestic stage they have also tasted success in Super Rugby with the Bulls and of course in the Heineken Cup with Toulon. Add to this list the Currie Cup with both players having served the Blue Bulls with distinction.
Rossouw arguably has the edge on his compatriot having also won Japan's Top League and All-Japan Rugby Football Championship title during his time in with Suntory Sungoliath although he did not play in any of the title deciders. But Botha has two Tri-Nations titles to Rossouw's one and also boasts 76 Test caps compared to his team-mate's 62 international appearances. They could be celebrating yet more success in a fortnight's time should Toulon clinch the Top 14 crown with Toulouse awaiting them in the semi-finals on Friday night.
The outstanding achievements of both players rival those of Kiwi lock Brad Thorn who has tasted World Cup and Tri-Nations success with New Zealand and Super Rugby glory with the Crusaders. He also won the Heineken Cup during a brief stint with Leinster and helped propel Canterbury to National Provincial Championship success in New Zealand. Thorn also excelled during two spells in rugby league that saw him earn international honours with Australia, NRL glory with the Brisbane Broncos and selection for the State of Origin.
Former Australian scrum-half George Gregan is another to have an enjoyed a glittering playing career. He was a key figure in the Wallabies' World Cup success in 1999, won two Tri-Nations title in 2000 and 2001 and also enjoyed a series victory over the Lions in 2001. At domestic level, he won two Super Rugby titles with the Brumbies, the ProD2 title in France with Toulon in 2007-08 and the All-Japan Rugby Football Championship with Suntory Sungoliath in 2010-11. Gregan is also the most-capped international player of all-time having notched 139 caps in a 13-year Test career.
Martin Johnson and Lawrence Dallaglio are arguably the most successful northern hemisphere ever players having been pivotal in the Lions' series victory over South Africa in 1997 before later anchoring England's successful bid for World Cup glory in 2003. They also inspired England to Six Nations Grand Slam glory and both are familiar with the Premiership and Heineken Cup silverware. Dallaglio can also lay claim to having won the Rugby World Cup Sevens title with England in 1993.
Toulon's match-winner Jonny Wilkinson was another key figure during what was a dominant period for England at the turn of the century - memorably kicking them to victory on that famous night in Sydney and many more. He may not have the domestic honours of his fellow Englishmen - with just one league title with Newcastle in 1998-99 and two cup triumphs - but he is a former IRB Player of the Year and has amassed 1,246 points during his Test career.
Botha, Rossouw and Thorn are members of an elite club of just six players who have won the premier domestic title in both the northern hemisphere - the Heineken Cup - and the southern hemisphere - the Super Rugby title. Australian Rod Kafer, who also shared in the Wallabies' World Cup win in 1999, was the first to achieve the feat and his efforts were later matched by New Zealander Doug Howlett and most recently by former Wallabies international Matt Giteau who joined the club along with Botha and Rossouw with Toulon's victory on Saturday.
Super Rugby and Heineken Cup winners:
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt won the tactical battle and set his team on course for a shot at the Grand Slam. Tom Hamilton reports from Dublin
With the World Cup only a few months away, the last thing France needed was doubts over the future of their coach, writes Huw Richards
They came to Murrayfield looking to put down a marker, but Scotland were sent home with their tails between their legs, writes Tristan Barclay
The controversial tackling technique will be in full swing in Dublin on Sunday, writes Conor O'Shea, and could be a decisive factor for Ireland