Rugby is a popular sport throughout the world, especially in Australia, New Zealand, Wales, England, and even Madagascar.
People are drawn to this sport because of the teamwork, the players’ fitness, speed, and mobility, the respect for the referees and the cheering fans at the stadiums.
And anyone who enjoys watching this sport must have a favourite among the players!
Who are the most famous rugby players? Check out our “rugby pass” and find out!
10 Most Famous Rugby Players
Dan Carter (New Zealand)
Dan Carter is a retired rugby player from New Zealand. As a 5-year-old boy, he started playing rugby with Southbridge Club as a halfback.
Dan’s professional career began in 2002 at 20 years old by making a provincial debut for Canterbury. In 2003, he was signed by the Super Rugby Franchise Crusaders. He also played for New Zealand’s national team – the All Blacks. He signed with two French and one Japanese rugby union teams between 2008 and 2021.
All-Time Super Rugby Leading Points Scorer (1,708 points) and All-Time International Rugby Leading Point Scorer (1,598 points) Dan Carter has scored the most points in test match rugby and is considered being the best first five-eighth (fly-half) in the sport’s history, making him one of the greatest rugby players of all time.
He was named International Rugby Board Player of the Year in 2005, 2012, and 2015. Carter is the first New Zealander to win this award. With the Crusaders, he won three Super Rugby titles, and with the All Blacks, he won nine Tri-Nations and Rugby Championships.
Carter was also named BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year in 2015, as well as the Laureus World Sports Award for Comeback of the Year in 2016, and Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2016.
This top rugby player has taken part in 112 tests, scoring 29 tries and 281 penalties in the 99 matches his teams have won.
Dan Carter net worth: ￡1.4 million.
Jonah Lomu (New Zealand)
Jonah Lomu was a New Zealand rugby union player who began his career playing rugby league before switching to rugby union. He played his first international in 1994, at 19, and became the youngest All Black ever. Lomu was the best player in the 1995 World Cup and was proclaimed to be “rugby union’s biggest draw card”. He played for two New Zealand Super Rugby teams and later in his career played club rugby in Wales and France.
During his international career, he played winger and achieved 37 tries and 185 points in 63 games.
He was named BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year in 1995. His performance was ranked 19th on the list of the 100 Greatest Sporting Moments by the British public in 2002. He was inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame and appointed as a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2007, and the IRB Hall of Fame in 2011.
Having a significant influence on the game, he is considered the greatest rugby player of all time.
Jonah Lomu net worth: Despite having a net worth of £1.2 million, Jonah Lomu, one of the best New Zealand rugby players, died in 2015, at 40, with few assets and very little savings. His earnings are thought to have been exhausted by divorces, medical bills related to his kidney disease, and failed business ventures.
Jonny Wilkinson (England)
Jonny Wilkinson is one of the famous English rugby players. He joined the ranks of former rugby players after retiring at the end of the 2013/14 season, but is still widely regarded as one of the top rugby players in the world.
He played in the rugby union at the fly-half position for twelve seasons with the Newcastle Falcons, before moving to Toulon in 2009. There he won two Heineken Cups and one Top 14 Championship.
When he scored 1,000 Test points against Italy in the 2008 Six Nations Championship, he established himself as one of the best rugby players in the world. According to Jonny Wilkinson’s facts and statistics, he played 97 matches, winning 1,246 points and scoring 7 tries.
Wilkinson holds the world record for drop goal scorer (36) in international rugby, the Rugby World Cup points record (277), and is the only player to score points in two Rugby World Cup Finals.
In 2003, he was named BBC Sport Personality of the Year and IRB International Player of the Year, and in 2016, he was inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame. Northumbria University awarded Wilkinson with an honorary doctorate in Civil Law in 2005. In 2015, he was promoted to Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
Jonny Wilkinson net worth: ￡16 million.
Martin Johnson (England)
Martin Johnson is a former English rugby union player. In his sixteen-year career as a rugby star, he represented and was captain of England (since 1999) and Leicester.
He began his career as an American football player for the Leicester Panthers. However, in 1989, he had a successful try-out and played for two seasons for King Country, New Zealand. Later that year, he made his Leicester Tigers debut, and in 1993, he made his England debut.
Martin Johnson led England as captain in 39 matches, but he won the 2003 World Cup, and he is one of the greatest locks in the game, as well as one of the biggest rugby players ever.
He was made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 1997, and a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 2003. In 2004, he came out second in BBC Sport Personality of the Year. In 2011, he was included in the IRB Hall of Fame.
This top rugby player had 92 matches and scored 2 tries.
Martin Johnson net worth: ￡14 million.
Jason Robinson (England)
Jason Robinson is a former English dual-code international rugby league and union player. He played both winger and fullback. While captaining England, Jason Robinson won 51 rugby union international cups and is the first black man to captain England’s national team.
Robinson was one of the greatest rugby players of all time because of his speed, gaining the nickname ‘Billy Whizz,’ after a comic book character who is an extremely fast runner.
He began his career in 1991 at the Semi-professional side Hunslet. Later, he was rewarded with a contract with the Wigan Warriors, who would go on to dominate British rugby league. In 1993, he played his first Challenge Cup Final.
Jason Robinson won twelve caps for Great Britain and seven for England in the rugby league. And in the 2005/6 season rugby union he became the first person to have won both the Guinness Premiership, and the Super League trophies.
In his career, he played 56 matches, winning 150 points and scoring 30 tries. He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2008. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the BEDSAs in 2017.
Jason Robinson net worth: ￡7.6 million.
Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland)
Brian O’Driscoll is one of the most famous Irish rugby players. He was a professional rugby union player for the Irish club Leinster and the Ireland national team. He was a captain in Ireland’s team for nine years (2003-2012), and he was also a captain for the British & Irish Lions on their New Zealand Tour in 2005.
As a young boy, Brian O’Driscoll played Gaelic football, and then switched to rugby. In 1998, he played for Ireland’s U-19, which won the Under 19 Rugby World Championship. He made his Leinster debut a year later.
O’Driscoll is one of the most popular rugby players, as he’s the fourth most-capped player in rugby history. He played 141 test matches, out of which 133 were for Ireland (in 83 he was captain) and 8 for the Lions.
In 2001, he scored forty-six tries for Ireland, and one for the Lions. He is the eighth-highest try-scorer in international rugby history and the highest try-scorer in Irish rugby of all time.
He holds the Six Nations Championship record for most tries (26) and is also the Irishman with the most tries in the Heineken Cup (30).
He was named Dubliner of the Year in 2008, and World Rugby Player of the Decade in 2010. In 2016, he was inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame.
Brian O’Driscoll net worth: ￡3.4 million.
John Eales (Australia)
John Eales comes from Australia and he is a former rugby union player. He is also known as the most successful captain in the history of Australian rugby.
As a young boy, John Eales played cricket, but later on, he started playing rugby for Queensland Reds in the lock position.
John Eales competed in the Rugby World Cups in 1991 and 1999, and won both times, making him one of the first players to do so. He retired as the most-capped lock in rugby history, and is still regarded as one of the greatest rugby players of all time. And because “nobody’s perfect,” he was given the nickname “Nobody.”
Eales scored 173 points and two tries for Australia in 86 games. He is the highest-scoring forward in Test rugby history, Australia’s captain on 60 occasions (of which 55 times in Test matches), played 20 Tests against the All Blacks, winning 11 of them. As of November 2015, he was one of only seven forwards to have scored over 100 points in Test rugby.
In 1999, he was honoured as a Member of the Order of Australia, and in 2002, he was named Queenslander of the Year. He was inducted into the Australian Institute of Sport ‘’Best of the Best” in 2001. In 2003 and 2007, he was inducted into the Sport Australia and Rugby Board Halls of Fame, respectively.
John Eales net worth: ￡1.1 million.
David Campese (Australia)
Among the best rugby players of all time is David Campese a.k.a. “Campo”, an Australian rugby union player, who played wing and fullback, and whose career lasted for 14 years (1982-1996).
Campese made his Wallabies debut during the 1982 Australia rugby union tour of New Zealand. During this tour, he scored one try in each of his two Tests. Two years later, he led his team on the 1984 Australia rugby union tour of the UK and Ireland, winning the “grand slam.” He became the first Australian to win against the four home nations of England, Ireland, Wales, and Scotland.
Famous for his “goose-step”, which made his opponents struggle to tackle him with Campese, the Wallabies won the 1991 Rugby World Cup, during which he was named “Player of the Tournament”.
Campese also played rugby union in Italy for nine years, winning the Top12 five times with two different teams.
During his career, David Campese made 101 caps with the Wallabies and scored 64 test tries. In 1989, he was selected in the Rothmans Rugby Union Yearbook’s “Team of the Decade” at left-wing. Campese was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1997, has received an Australian Sports Medal in 2000, a Centenary Medal in 2001, and was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 2002. He was inducted into the Australian Rugby Union Hall of Fame in 2007 and the IRB Hall of Fame in 2013.
David Campese net worth: ￡57 million.
Michael Jones (New Zealand)
Michael Jones is a former rugby union player and coach from New Zealand. He played flanker for Auckland and the Auckland Blues (of which he became a captain in 1997).
Even as a 10-year-old boy, he had a passion for and talent for the sport.
Jones made his provincial debut for Auckland in the 1985 National Provincial Championship, scoring three tries against South Canterbury. Together with Auckland and Auckland Blues, they won nine NPC titles, five Super 6 Championships, and defended the Ranfurly Shield 61 times.
This top rugby player’s career wasn’t all fun and games, as he suffered two serious knee injuries and a broken jaw. He was also a devout Christian who never played on Sundays, which hampered his career.
However, he was a fantastic flanker who scored 13 international tries in 56 games.
He received the New Zealand Commemoration Medal in 1990. In 2003, he was inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame and in 2017, he was made a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
Michael Jones net worth: between￡762,275-￡3.8 million.
Richie McCaw (New Zealand)
Richie McCaw is a former New Zealand professional rugby union player whose position was a flanker. He was the captain of the All Blacks in 110 of his 148 Test matches.
McCaw made his debut for New Zealand’s U19 team in 1999, winning the World Championship in Wales. In 2000, he made his Canterbury debut in the National Provincial Championship. A year later, he made his Super Rugby debut for the Crusaders.
Richie, then 20, was selected to play for the All Blacks in 2001. During his time with them, he amassed over 100 caps and won over 100 Tests, making him the first most capped player in rugby union history. He also holds the world record for most appearances in Rugby World Cups.
He won the NPC five times with Canterbury and four Super Rugby titles with the Crusaders. He led the All Blacks to two Rugby World Cup victories (2011 and 2015), seven Tri-Nations titles, three Grand Slam Tours, and eight Bledisloe Cups. After a long and fruitful career, Richie McCaw announced his retirement in 2015.
Being one of the best rugby players in the world, it comes as no sunrise to see many honours related to his name. McCaw has won the IRB Player of the Year award three times in a row, in 2006, 2009, and 2010. In 2006, he was named World Rugby Player of the Year, and in 2010, he was named New Zealand Sportsperson of the Year at the Halberg Awards. He was appointed to the Order of New Zealand in 2016. McCaw was inducted into World Rugby’s Hall of Fame in 2019. He is also New Zealand’s Sportsman of the Decade and a World Rugby Player of the Decade (2011-2020).
Richie McCaw also has a book – The Real McCaw – The Autobiography.
Richie McCaw net worth: ￡2.3 million.
Rugby is one of the most popular sports in the world. Choosing from all the famous rugby players and many rugby legends is a hard task in and of itself.
And as the sport progresses, this list is bound to change as some of the younger players of the “new era” choose to follow in the footsteps and legacy of those mentioned above.