Dan Carter and Richie McCaw, two of rugby’s all-time greats, pay tribute to their four fiercest opponents’ careers and achievements.
The All Blacks, who won the World Cup with New Zealand in 2011 and 2015, are regarded as two of the greatest players of their age, if not all time.
Carter spoke with former captain McCaw in the first of two interviews.
The conversation ranges from McCaw’s bagpipe talents to his one-of-a-kind pre-match routine. The former captain’s unwavering commitment to detail and goal-setting was legendary.
4. Jonah Lomu (New Zealand)
“When I first became an All Black he was in the team. To play alongside a guy you have watched as a young fella was pretty amazing. He made me look silly in training more than once”
“He bowled me over about 5m when I tried to tackle him in one of my first games. A superstar. Gutted I never played with him.”
3. Schalk Burger (South Africa)
“I kept looking at my All Black jersey wondering if I had a target like in the middle of the jersey or something because he kept coming for me. He was having a huge battle with our big forward pack. He just kept going. He didn’t stop. He was physical and just his leg drive was incredible. A real competitor and absolutely top bloke off the field as well. His mindset was a little bit different when he was out there competing. That just made him such a tough opponent to come up against.”
“You can come up against another tough team but never feel like you have had a tough match against your opponent. But with Burger, you knew where they are going to be and how hard they play near the ball.”
2. Thierry Dusautoir (France)
“He had some blinding games in big moments — none more so than in the 2007 and 2011 World Cup games against the All Blacks.”
“Over the years I’ve played him a few times and you always know he’s there. He was always pretty big defensively and in the breakdown area. A menace”
1. Jonny Wilkinson (England)
“He’ll go down as one of the greats of world rugby.”
“You might have heard of him? Former England captain and Toulon player Jonny is probably the closest thing I’ve seen to the perfect rugby player.”