51 Rugby New Zealand Best Players of All Time

John Rizzo

New Zealand is renowned for its passionate support for Rugby. The country has produced some of the best players the game has ever seen, from All Black legends such as Jonah Lomu and Richie McCaw to recent stars such as Beauden Barrett and Brodie Retallick.

This list looks at the best rugby players in New Zealand, with each player’s individual achievements and accolades highlighted. Whether it be on the international stage or in domestic club competitions, these players have all left an indelible mark on the game.

From the veterans to the up-and-coming stars, these are the best rugby players in New Zealand.

1. Jonah Lomu

Jonah Tali Lomu MNZM was a rugby union player from New Zealand. His career was hugely influential, and he is widely regarded as the first genuine superstar of the sport.

Lomu’s impact on the game of rugby was immense, as he was able to reach a global audience and inspire a new generation of players. He is remembered for his incredible physicality, which saw him become one of the most feared and respected players of his era.

His size and speed were unmatched, and he was able to dominate the game with ease. His skill and determination also saw him become a hugely successful international player, with a number of trophies and awards to his name.

His legacy still lives on, and he is remembered as one of the greatest rugby players of all time.

2. Richie McCaw

Richard Hugh McCaw is a retired New Zealand professional rugby union player who is widely renowned for his incredible accomplishments in the sport. He is most notably known for captaining the New Zealand national team, the All Blacks, in 110 out of his 148 test matches.

This is an impressive feat, as it shows McCaw’s dedication to the team and the sport. His commitment to excellence paid off, as he led the All Blacks to two Rugby World Cup victories.

McCaw’s leadership and strategic abilities allowed the New Zealand national team to achieve great success, making him one of the most respected and acclaimed players in the rugby world.

3. Colin Meads

Sir Colin Earl Meads KNZM MBE was a legendary New Zealand rugby union player, widely considered one of the greatest players in history. During his impressive career, he played 55 test matches for New Zealand’s national team, the All Blacks, between 1957 and 1971.

He was most often seen in the lock forward position, but he was also known for his versatility and ability to play other positions if needed. Meads was a strong, physical player with a passion for the game and an impressive work ethic, but also a player with great technical skill and agility.

He was known for his ability to read the game, anticipate the opposition’s moves, and often make the important tackles or set up the important plays.

He was also known for his leadership qualities, often inspiring and motivating his teammates to dig deep and perform at their best. Meads was a trailblazer for the game of rugby, a true pioneer in an era when rugby was still a relatively new sport.

He pushed boundaries in the game, and his influence in the sport is still felt today. He was a true role model and an inspiration for aspiring rugby players, and his legacy will continue to live on for many years to come.

4. George Nēpia

George Nēpia was an iconic figure in the world of rugby, having achieved remarkable successes in both rugby union and rugby league. Born in New Zealand, Nēpia was of Māori descent and is remembered as one of the most famous Māori rugby players ever.

He was widely renowned for his exceptional ability as a full-back, with his skill and composure often earning him the admiration of both teammates and opponents.

His talent as a player was so great that he was inducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame in 1990, in recognition of his remarkable achievements. Nēpia was a prolific player who made a lasting impression on the game of rugby.

His skill and determination were an inspiration to many, and he is remembered not only for his achievements on the pitch but also for his contributions to the sport.

He is a true testament to the power of hard work and dedication, having worked tirelessly to become one of the best full-backs of his generation. As a result, he is still revered by many fans and players today, and his legacy will continue to live on for many years to come.

5. Beauden Barrett

Beauden John Barrett is a prominent New Zealand rugby union player. He plays for the Taranaki team in the Mitre 10 Cup, the Blues in Super Rugby, and the All Blacks, New Zealand’s national team.

He is highly skilled and has a great deal of experience in the sport, which is why he has been a key member of the All Blacks since 2015 when they won the Rugby World Cup. Barrett has been playing rugby union for a long time, and his skill and experience have been a great asset to New Zealand’s teams.

He has been a valuable asset to the winning team of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, and his contribution to the team’s success has been greatly appreciated.

In addition to his skill and experience, he also embodies the spirit of the sport and is a great leader on the field. Barrett is a highly respected player and has been named World Rugby Player of the Year twice, in 2016 and 2017.

He is a great role model for aspiring players, and his contributions to the sport have been immense. He is an important figure in New Zealand rugby union and is sure to be a great asset to the teams he plays for in the future.

6. Dan Carter

Daniel William Carter ONZM is a retired New Zealand rugby union player who made a name for himself in the sport both at home and abroad.

He had a successful career with the Crusaders, a professional rugby team in his home country, and was also part of the world-renowned All Blacks, New Zealand’s national rugby team.

Carter is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of rugby and was even awarded the Order of New Zealand Merit for his contributions to the sport.

Throughout his career, Carter demonstrated a remarkable level of skill, courage and sportsmanship that earned him the respect of his peers and fans alike. His legacy has inspired many generations of rugby players, and his influence on the sport will never be forgotten.

7. Ardie Savea

Ardie Suemalo Savea is an accomplished rugby union player from New Zealand. He plays in the back row, either as a flanker or number 8, for the Wellington team in the Bunnings NPC, the Hurricanes in Super Rugby, and the New Zealand All Blacks in international rugby.

Savea was an important member of the New Zealand squad that won the 2019 Rugby World Cup, and his impressive performance throughout the tournament earned him a nomination for the prestigious 2019 World Rugby Player of the Year award.

His athleticism and skill have helped him become one of the most sought-after rugby stars in the world, and he is considered one of the best players in the game today.

8. Charles Monro

Charles John Monro, also known as Charles Munro, is an important figure in the history of rugby union in New Zealand. He is credited with introducing the sport to the country.

Monro was born in Scotland and belonged to the Munro clan, which explains the alternate spelling of his name. Monro moved to New Zealand in 1870 and soon became active in the country’s sporting community.

He was an avid rugby enthusiast and was determined to bring the sport to New Zealand. He organized the first rugby union match in the country, which took place on May 14, 1870 between Nelson College and the Nelson Football Club.

This match is widely credited with kick-starting the sport in New Zealand. Since then, rugby union has gone on to become one of the most popular sports in the country.

Monro’s legacy lives on in the form of the Charles Monro Cup, which is awarded annually to the winner of the National Provincial Championship, the premier rugby union competition in New Zealand. Monro’s efforts to introduce rugby union to New Zealand were instrumental in establishing the sport as the national pastime of the country.

He is rightly remembered as a pioneer of the sport and one of the most influential figures in New Zealand’s sporting history.

9. Will Jordan

William Thomas Jordan is an accomplished rugby union player from New Zealand. He currently plays for Tasman Mako in the Bunnings NPC and for the Crusaders in Super Rugby. His preferred position is that of fullback.

Jordan’s talent and dedication to the game has been recognized, as he was awarded World Rugby’s Breakthrough Player of the Year Award in 2021. This prestigious accolade is given to players who have made significant contributions to the sport, both on and off the field.

Jordan’s award-winning performance is a testament to his hard work and dedication to the sport of rugby. He has become an inspiration to aspiring players, showing that anything is possible with dedication and determination.

10. Dane Coles

Dane Stuart Coles is a New Zealand rugby union player who plays for two teams: the Hurricanes in Super Rugby and the Wellington Lions in the Mitre 10 Cup. Since 2012 he has also been a member of the All Blacks, the country’s national team.

Coles has been a key contributor to the All Blacks since his debut. His skill and leadership have been instrumental in helping the team win the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

He also played a vital role in ensuring the All Blacks won the 2019 Rugby World Cup, where he was a part of the team that set a record for most consecutive wins in international rugby.Coles is known for his defensive prowess, his ability to read the game, and his strong work ethic.

He is also known for his leadership skills, both on and off the field.

In addition to his rugby career, Coles is a spokesperson for Project K, a charity that helps improve the lives of Kiwi children. Coles is undoubtedly one of the most successful rugby players of his generation, and his success is a testament to his hard work and dedication.

He is a true role model for aspiring rugby players in New Zealand.

11. Michael Jones

Sir Michael Niko Jones KNZM is an esteemed New Zealand former rugby union player and coach. He was an important member of the Auckland rugby team during the late 1980s and 1990s, a period when the team was dominating in the sport.

This success continued as the Auckland Blues team went on to win the first two Super 12 championships in 1996 and 1997. He was also a part of the Blues team during this time and his influence and skill was likely a major factor in the team’s success.

He is well-respected in the rugby community and is truly a great of the game.

12. Kieran Read

Kieran James Read ONZM is a renowned former rugby union player from New Zealand. He played in the number 8 position and is remembered as the captain of the New Zealand national rugby team, the All Blacks.

Read began playing for the All Blacks in 2008 and continued to represent the team until his retirement in 2019.

During his playing career, Read played in 14 World Rugby Championships and earned many accolades, such as being the first All Black to be named World Rugby Player of the Year in 2013. He was also inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame in 2020.

Read is widely considered to be one of the greatest players of all time, having captained his country to two World Cup triumphs. Read was also a highly respected leader off the pitch, having captained the All Blacks in a record-breaking 38 consecutive Tests.

He was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to rugby in 2019. The legacy that Read has left behind is one that will live on for many years to come.

He will be remembered as one of the greatest All Blacks of all time, and his impact on the game of rugby will be felt for generations.

13. Buck Shelford

Sir Wayne Thomas “Buck” Shelford KNZM MBE is a renowned New Zealand rugby union player and coach who had a successful career in the late 1980s.

He is a highly respected figure in the New Zealand rugby community and is most famous for captaining the All Blacks during this time. Shelford is also credited with reviving the performance of the All Blacks’ traditional “Ka Mate” haka.

He was instrumental in improving the team’s performance of the haka, instilling a deep sense of pride in the players.

As a result, the haka has become an iconic part of New Zealand culture and an integral part of the All Blacks’ pre-match ritual. Shelford was awarded with the Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2018 for his outstanding services to rugby.

He was also made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) in 1989, in recognition of his influence and impact on the sport. Shelford’s career in rugby was highly successful, and he is remembered fondly for his instrumental role in the All Blacks’ success.

He is a true New Zealand icon and will be remembered for his outstanding contributions to the sport.

14. John Kirwan

Sir John James Patrick Kirwan is a well-respected figure in New Zealand. He is a mental health advocate, former professional rugby player, and former rugby union coach. He was a wing player and made his mark in the sport while playing for Auckland in the 1980s and 90s.

During this period, Auckland was the dominant force in New Zealand rugby. Kirwan was known for his agility, speed, and skill on the field, and was one of the key players in Auckland’s success during this period.

He was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit, the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, and numerous other honors for his contributions to the sport. His legacy continues to inspire and motivate current and future generations of rugby players.

15. Christian Cullen

Christian Mathias Cullen is a highly respected and accomplished rugby union player from New Zealand.

He was renowned for his prowess on the field, and his career spanned several years. Cullen was primarily a fullback for his team, the All Blacks, and he also played for two Super 12 teams, the Hurricanes and the Blues.

His career in provincial-level rugby saw him play for Manawatu, Wellington and then later Munster. Cullen was a fearless player and was widely considered to be one of the best players in the game.

He was renowned for his ability to read the game and anticipate plays, as well as his skill with ball in hand.

He was also known for his impressive kicking game and his defensive capabilities. After retiring from professional rugby, Cullen became a respected coach and mentor to many young players.

He was a mentor to the All Blacks, and he also coached the Manawatu and Wellington teams at the provincial level. Cullen’s legacy in New Zealand rugby is undeniable. He is remembered as a great player and a great mentor, and his influence on the game will be felt for years to come.

16. Brodie Retallick

Brodie Allan Retallick is a professional rugby union player from New Zealand. He currently plays as a lock for the Chiefs in Super Rugby, the top tier of rugby union in the region. He also plays for the Hawke’s Bay squad in the New Zealand National Provincial Championship.

This competition is the second tier of rugby union in New Zealand and serves as a bridge between club rugby and professional rugby. Retallick has been an integral part of the Chiefs since joining in 2011 and has been a regular in the All Blacks international squad since 2012.

He is renowned for his physicality and aggressive style of play, which has helped the Chiefs to two Super Rugby titles. He is also highly respected for his leadership on and off the field, and has been appointed as captain of the Hawke’s Bay squad.

Retallick is an important figure in the New Zealand rugby community and is a great ambassador for the sport. He is an example of how hard work and dedication can take you from club rugby to the highest level of the game.

17. Dave Gallaher

David Gallaher was a prominent figure in the world of New Zealand rugby union. He was born in Ireland but eventually moved to New Zealand where he became a professional rugby union player.

He is best remembered as the captain of the “Original All Blacks”, the 1905-06 New Zealand national rugby team.

This team was the first representative New Zealand side to tour the British Isles and is widely regarded as a milestone in the history of New Zealand rugby. Under Gallaher’s leadership, the “Original All Blacks” won all but one match during their tour of the British Isles.

The tour was a huge success, with the team winning 34 out of 35 matches, scoring 976 points and conceding only 59.

This tour was the first time that a team from New Zealand had travelled to the Northern Hemisphere, and it helped to bring New Zealand rugby to the attention of the international community. Gallaher’s influence as captain of the “Original All Blacks” was so great that he was posthumously inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame in 1997.

He will always be remembered as the leader of a team that helped to change the face of New Zealand rugby, and he will forever be remembered as a great rugby captain.

18. Sam Cane

Samuel Jordan Cane is a talented and passionate rugby union player from New Zealand. He currently plays as a flanker for the Super Rugby club Chiefs and is the captain of the New Zealand national team.

His career in rugby began in 2012 when he earned his debut for New Zealand internationally. On May 5, 2020, Cane was chosen to be the All Blacks’ captain, succeeding Kieran Read in the role.

Cane has become an important figure in the rugby world, demonstrating a level of skill and dedication that has earned him the respect of his peers.

His leadership and commitment to the game are inspiring to not only the players he leads, but also to rugby fans all around the world. He is an example of a true champion, and his continued success and growth as a player should be celebrated for years to come.

19. Sonny Bill Williams

Sonny William Williams is a remarkable athlete who has made history in both rugby union and rugby league. He is the only person to have represented New Zealand in both rugby union and rugby league and is one of the only twenty-one players to have won the Rugby World Cup twice.

His achievements have been remarkable, and his ability to excel in both rugby union and rugby league is something that has not been seen often. Williams first started playing rugby league in New Zealand before transitioning to rugby union.

He was successful in both sports and represented New Zealand in both. He was part of the All Blacks team that won the Rugby World Cup in 2011 and again in 2015.

This is an incredible feat that very few have achieved and it speaks to the skill and determination that Williams has demonstrated throughout his career. His transition from rugby league to rugby union was not without its challenges, but Williams was able to overcome these and go on to be one of the best players in his position.

He has had an extremely successful career and is an inspiration to many aspiring athletes. His success has been a testament to his hard work and dedication and is a great example of what can be achieved with discipline, dedication, and commitment.

20. Grant Fox

Grant James Fox MBE is a former rugby union player from New Zealand. He was part of the legendary All Blacks team that won the first ever Rugby World Cup in 1987.

Fox was an integral member of the New Zealand side and was a key contributor to the success of the team. Fox had a long and distinguished career in rugby union, playing for various teams in the domestic competitions.

He also represented the All Blacks on numerous occasions, including the historic 1987 World Cup win. Fox is also the father of professional golfer Ryan Fox, who has gone on to have a successful career in the game.

Ryan is one of the leading golfers in New Zealand and has won several tournaments in the country. Fox has been awarded the MBE for his services to rugby union and his dedication to the game.

He is an icon of the sport in New Zealand and is held in high regard by the country’s rugby union community.

21. Frank Bunce

Frank Eneri Bunce is a former rugby union player and coach who had the unique experience of representing two different countries in international rugby.

He played international rugby for both Western Samoa and New Zealand in the 1990s and was part of the teams in the 1991 and 1995 Rugby World Cups. His international career included four matches for Samoa and 55 for New Zealand.

Bunce was a talented player in both countries, and his ability to switch between teams makes him a unique figure in the sport. Bunce played as a centre during his international career and was known for his strength and agility.

His contributions to both Samoa and New Zealand were invaluable, and he was an integral part of the teams’ success. He was widely respected for his leadership skills and was often seen encouraging his teammates to get the best out of themselves.

Bunce’s post-playing career has seen him move into coaching, and he has had a major impact on the development of rugby in both countries.

He has been a key influence in the formation of the Samoa Rugby Union and has been instrumental in the success of the New Zealand All Blacks. He is a respected figure in the rugby world, and his experience and knowledge are greatly valued.

Frank Eneri Bunce is a true rugby legend, who has left an indelible mark on the sport. His career in both Samoa and New Zealand speaks for itself, and his legacy will live on in the history of international rugby.

22. Sean Fitzpatrick

Sean Brian Thomas Fitzpatrick ONZM is an accomplished rugby union player who represented New Zealand in the international arena.

He is widely regarded as one of the greatest players to have ever graced the sport from the country. Fitzpatrick was a trailblazer of rugby in New Zealand, who had an illustrious career with the All Blacks, captaining the side 17 times and leading them to victory in the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

He played a total of 80 matches for New Zealand over a period of 11 years.

He was known for his impressive leadership skills and tactical acumen, which enabled him to be a great asset to the team. Throughout his career, Fitzpatrick was recognized for his excellence in rugby and was awarded the Order of New Zealand Merit (ONZM) in 1998 for his services to the sport.

He was also inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame in 2009. Fitzpatrick’s legacy lives on in New Zealand, and he is remembered as one of the finest players to have ever come from the country.

He is an inspiration to aspiring rugby players and a reminder of the heights that can be achieved with dedication and hard work.

23. Richie Mo’unga

Richard Fou’a Mo’unga is a professional rugby union player from New Zealand. He plays as a first five-eighth, a position in the game which is responsible for controlling play and orchestrating the offensive side of the game.

Mo’unga currently plays for Canterbury in the Bunnings National Provincial Championship, the Crusaders in Super Rugby, and the New Zealand national team, the All Blacks.

As a first five-eighth, Mo’unga is expected to provide a steady supply of accurate passes and tactical awareness for his team and is a key member of the team’s attack.

He is also responsible for directing the team’s offence and ensuring that the team stays focused on its game plan. Mo’unga’s performance throughout his career has been consistently excellent, and he has become an integral part of the All Blacks’ attack.

With his ability to create opportunities and to make the right decisions in crucial moments, Mo’unga has become a key component of the All Blacks’ success in recent years.

24. Jordie Barrett

Jordan Matthew Barrett is a professional rugby union player from New Zealand. He is a versatile player who is capable of playing as a utility back, meaning he is capable of playing various positions in the backline of a team.

He currently plays for New Zealand’s national team, the All Blacks, and for the Hurricanes in the Super Rugby competition.

The All Blacks are the world’s most successful national rugby union team, having won the Rugby World Cup three times and many other international tournaments. The Hurricanes are a Super Rugby team based in Wellington, the capital of New Zealand.

They are one of the top teams in the competition, having won it in 2016. Jordan Matthew Barrett has been playing professionally for many years and has been a member of the All Blacks since 2015.

He is considered to be one of the best utility backs in the world and has been instrumental in helping the All Blacks to their various successes. His ability to play in multiple positions on the backline makes him a valuable asset to his team.

Barrett is also an important player for the Hurricanes in the Super Rugby competition. He has helped the Hurricanes reach the playoffs in many of the seasons he has been a part of the team, and his versatility has been a key factor in their success.

He is an experienced and talented player who is respected by his teammates and opponents alike. Jordan Matthew Barrett is an outstanding rugby union player who is making a name for himself in the sport.

His versatility and experience make him a valuable asset to the All Blacks and the Hurricanes, and he is sure to be a key player for both teams for many years to come.

25. Rieko Ioane

Rieko Edward Ioane is a professional rugby union player from New Zealand. He currently plays as a wing or as a centre for the Blues, a team in Super Rugby, as well as for the New Zealand national team.

Ioane is highly regarded in the rugby world, having won numerous awards and accolades throughout his career. He currently holds the title of the most capped player for his country at the international level, having represented the All Blacks in over 50 matches.

Ioane is also the youngest-ever player to have scored a try in a Super Rugby match and was named the Super Rugby Player of the Year in 2017. His skill and experience have made him one of the most successful players in the sport.

Ioane’s commitment to the game and his achievements are a testament to his dedication and talent.

26. Ian Kirkpatrick

Ian Andrew Kirkpatrick MBE is a former New Zealand rugby union player who is widely considered to be one of the greatest flankers to ever play the game.

He was renowned for his athleticism, speed, and fearlessness on the pitch, as well as his remarkable ability to anticipate plays before they happened.

His skill set made him a formidable presence on the field, and he was frequently praised for his exceptional performance. Kirkpatrick’s athletic frame and a keen eye for the game set him apart from his counterparts.

He was known for his speed, agility, and ability to read his opponents’ movements with ease. He was also praised for his courage and determination to succeed, which drove him to be one of the best in the sport.

His commitment to the game was second to none, and his ability to make the right decisions in the heat of the moment was extraordinary. Kirkpatrick’s impact on the game of rugby was immense. He was a key part of the New Zealand team that won the inaugural World Cup in 1987.

He was also part of the New Zealand team that won the Grand Slam tour of the United Kingdom and Ireland in 1978. His legacy will be remembered for generations to come, as one of the greatest rugby players of all time.

27. Portia Woodman

Portia Woodman-Wickliffe is an exceptionally talented rugby union player from New Zealand.

She excels in both fifteen-a-side and seven-a-side rugby union, and her skills and abilities have earned her a place on both the New Zealand women’s national rugby sevens team and the New Zealand women’s national rugby union team.

Her selection in these teams is a testament to her dedication to the sport and her commitment to excellence. Portia has dedicated her time and effort to the sport of rugby union, and her hard work and dedication have paid off.

She is a talented player and a valuable member of both teams. Her skills and knowledge of the game are invaluable assets to the teams and she has been an integral part of their success. Portia Woodman-Wickliffe is an inspiration to aspiring rugby union players everywhere.

She shows that with the right attitude and dedication, anything is possible. She is a role model for young players and a great example of what can be achieved with hard work and dedication.

28. Sam Whitelock

Samuel Lawrence Whitelock is a New Zealand rugby union player who has made an impressive career in the sport. He plays as a lock for the Crusaders in Super Rugby and Canterbury in the Mitre 10 Cup.

This is particularly impressive as the Crusaders are one of the most successful teams in Super Rugby, having won the championship nine times. Whitelock has been recognised for his outstanding performance and has been made captain of the Crusaders.

He has also been given the honour of captaining the New Zealand national team in five international games. This is a huge feat and speaks volumes of his ability to lead a team to success.

Whitelock has been an inspirational figure in the world of rugby and his achievements are something to be proud of.

29. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is an incredibly talented rugby footballer from New Zealand. He currently plays for the Auckland Blues in the Super Rugby Pacific, as well as for the New Zealand national team.

His career began when he made his debut for the New Zealand team against Ireland on 16th July 2022. Since then, Tuivasa-Sheck has been an integral part of the New Zealand rugby team.

He is known for his strong ball-handling skills, his speed and agility, and his ability to make calculated decisions on the field. He has helped the New Zealand team to a number of victories, and his contributions are invaluable to the team.

As a result of his skill and dedication, Tuivasa-Sheck has earned a great deal of respect from both his teammates and his opponents.

He is a truly talented player, and his presence on the field will continue to be a major asset to the New Zealand rugby team for many years to come.

30. Tupou Vaa’i

Tupou Paea’i Okalani Vaa’i is a professional rugby union player from New Zealand. He plays in the position of lock for two different teams. The first team he plays for is the Taranaki Bulls, who compete in the Mitre 10 Cup.

This is a tournament that involves the top teams from the provincial rugby unions in New Zealand. The second team he plays for is the Chiefs, who compete in the Super Rugby league.

This is a tournament that involves teams from New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Argentina, and Japan. Both of these teams have achieved success in their respective tournaments and Tupou has been an integral part of their success.

He is a hard working and dedicated player who always puts the team first and is a great asset to both teams.

31. Luke Jacobson

Luke Brittain Jacobson is a professional rugby union player from New Zealand. He currently plays for the Chiefs in the Super Rugby competition, as well as the New Zealand national team, the All Blacks.

Jacobson is a forward, a position which requires strength and athleticism in order to compete on the rugby field. Jacobson’s career began in 2014 when he was selected for the New Zealand Schools team.

In 2016, he was selected for the New Zealand Under 20 team and then again in 2017. This impressive record of achievement has seen him quickly rise to the highest level of rugby in New Zealand. Jacobson has been praised for his hard-working attitude and dedication to the sport.

His commitment to the game has enabled him to reach the top and become one of the most respected players in the game. He is an inspiration to young rugby players around the world, showing that hard work and dedication can take you far.

32. Julian Savea

Sio Julian Savea is a professional rugby union player from New Zealand. He currently plays the position of wing for the Hurricanes in Super Rugby, the highest level of professional rugby in the Southern Hemisphere.

Prior to this, Savea played for Toulon in the Top 14, one of the top rugby leagues in Europe. He was also the captain of the Wellington Lions in the Mitre 10 Cup, a top-level rugby competition in New Zealand.

During his time with the national team, Savea was very successful, earning 54 caps for New Zealand between 2012 and 2017.

33. Codie Taylor

Codie Joshua Dane Taylor is a professional rugby union player from New Zealand. He currently plays for the Crusaders in the Super Rugby tournament, the Canterbury team in the ITM Cup, and the New Zealand national team.

He plays the position of hooker, which involves being the main player responsible for the lineouts and scrums, as well as having the important task of linking the forwards and backs in the attacking game.

Taylor has been playing rugby since a young age and has garnered a reputation as one of the best hookers in New Zealand. His performance for the Crusaders has been impressive, as he has helped the team to multiple Super Rugby titles.

Furthermore, he has been a key player for the Canterbury team in the ITM Cup, providing them with leadership and critical playmaking ability. Taylor has also been a part of the New Zealand national team for many years.

His experience and skill have been an integral part of the team’s success, as they are one of the top teams in the world. He has helped the team to multiple international championships, as well as inspiring the younger players in the team.

Codie Joshua Dane Taylor is one of the best rugby union players to come out of New Zealand in recent years.

His performances for the Crusaders, Canterbury, and the New Zealand national team have been nothing short of exceptional, and he is considered one of the top players in the world. His skill and experience will continue to be an asset to these teams for many years to come.

34. Zinzan Brooke

Zinzan Valentine Brooke MNZM is a renowned former New Zealand rugby union footballer.

He is widely known for his prowess at the number eight position, having played 58 international test matches and 42 non-international matches for the All Blacks. During his time with the All Blacks, Brooke was a key member of the team and was a major factor in their success.

He was renowned for his strength and athleticism, and his ability to read the game and make the right decisions at the right time.

He was also an excellent kicker and was renowned for his ability to kick accurately from long distances. Throughout his career, Brooke received many accolades, including being made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 1998.

He was also inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame in 2001 and was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2003. Brooke’s legacy continues to live on, and he is remembered as one of the greatest players of his generation.

He was a leader on and off the field and was respected by all who came into contact with him. He will always be remembered for his skill and his determination to make the All Blacks a force to be reckoned with.

35. Aaron Smith

Aaron Luke Smith is a highly accomplished rugby union player from New Zealand. He plays in the halfback position, representing both the Highlanders in Super Rugby and Manawatu in the ITM Cup.

Smith is the club’s all time leader in caps for the Highlanders and has also reached an impressive milestone with the New Zealand national team, earning 117 caps and becoming their most-capped back.

This is a remarkable achievement, showcasing the quality of Smith’s talent and his commitment to the sport. He is an inspirational athlete who is a role model for aspiring rugby players in New Zealand and beyond.

36. Quinten Strange

Quinten J. Strange is a professional rugby union player from New Zealand.

He plays as a lock, which is a position in the forwards, for two teams: the Tasman Makos in the Bunnings NPC, which is the National Provincial Championship of New Zealand, and the Crusaders in the Super Rugby competition.

The Super Rugby competition is a transnational professional rugby union competition that includes teams from Argentina, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and South Africa. Quinten J.

Strange is no stranger to success, having won multiple titles with both the Tasman Makos and the Crusaders. He is highly regarded within the rugby community for his impressive work rate and his ability to read the game on the field.

By playing as a lock, he acts as the cornerstone of the defensive line, providing stability and leadership when the team is under pressure. His presence in the team is invaluable, and his skills and experience are essential to the team’s success.

37. Sevu Reece

Sevuloni Lasei Reece is an outstanding rugby union player. He was born in Fiji and moved to New Zealand in 2014. Since then, he has been playing for the Crusaders in Super Rugby and Tasman in the Bunnings NPC.

In 2019, he was selected to play for the New Zealand national team, the All Blacks. Since then, he has made an impressive 23 appearances for the team and continues to shine in the field of rugby.

His reliable and consistent performance on the pitch have earned him respect and recognition both in New Zealand and around the world. He is a role model for aspiring rugby players and his career is a testament to hard work, dedication, and passion.

38. Asafo Aumua

Asafo Junior Aumua is a highly talented and successful rugby union player from New Zealand. He plays as a hooker for both the Hurricanes, a New Zealand franchise, and the New Zealand National Team.

His skills and talent have been recognized since his youth, as he was chosen to represent his country in the 2016 and 2017 World Rugby Under 20 Championships.

Since then, he has gone on to become a professional rugby union player, and he continues to demonstrate his excellence and skill on the field. Aumua is a rising star in the sport, and he is sure to have a long and prosperous career.

39. Braydon Ennor

Braydon Maurice Ennor is a talented rugby union player from New Zealand. He currently plays as a wing and centre for both Canterbury in the Mitre 10 Cup and the Crusaders in Super Rugby.

This means he is a professional player in both of the two highest levels of the sport in New Zealand. His presence in both of these teams speaks to his exceptional talent and skill in the sport. Ennor began playing rugby in his hometown of Christchurch.

He was part of the Canterbury U19 team in 2014 and was part of the Canterbury U20 team in 2015 and 2016. From 2017 to 2019, he was part of the Canterbury Mitre 10 Cup squad. Ennor made his Super Rugby debut in 2019 for the Crusaders.

He has since become an integral part of the team and has been praised for his performance. He has also been selected for the New Zealand national team. Overall, Braydon Maurice Ennor has earned a place among the top rugby union players in New Zealand.

His skill and talent have earned him spots on both the Mitre 10 Cup and Super Rugby teams. His presence on the national team is a testament to his abilities. He is sure to continue to be successful in the future.

40. Dalton Papalii

Dalton Reece Papalii is a talented rugby union player from New Zealand. He currently plays for Counties Manukau in the Mitre 10 Cup and the Blues in the Super Rugby competition.

Since making his debut for the All Blacks in 2018, Papalii has gone on to feature in 22 tests for New Zealand’s international rugby team. He plays his rugby primarily from the flanker position.

Papalii is a hardworking and dedicated player who has earned the respect of fans and players alike. His impressive performances for the All Blacks have made him a key part of the team, with his athleticism and technical ability proving to be invaluable.

He is highly regarded in the rugby world and is sure to continue making a big impact on the sport in the years to come.

41. Du’Plessis Kirifi

Du’Plessis Ariu Kirifi is a professional rugby union player hailing from New Zealand. He currently plays for the Hurricanes in the Super Rugby competition. Kirifi’s playing position is that of a flanker, a position characterized by its defensive and offensive responsibilities.

Kirifi signed with the Hurricanes in 2019 and has been a valuable member of the squad since. He hails from New Plymouth and attended Francis Douglas Memorial College while growing up.

Kirifi is of Samoan descent, further highlighting the vast cultural diversity present in the game of rugby. Kirifi’s presence in Super Rugby has been a boon for the sport in New Zealand, and he is an inspirational figure for many young rugby players in the country.

His success serves as a reminder of the potential of hard work and dedication to those looking to pursue a career in the sport.

42. Ma’a Nonu

Ma’a Allan Nonu is a professional rugby union player from New Zealand. He is a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, an honour given to people who have made significant contributions to their country. Nonu currently plays for the San Diego Legion in Major League Rugby.

He is typically an inside centre but has the ability to cover other positions including outside centre and wing. Nonu has had a long and successful career in rugby, having played for the Blues, Crusaders, Hurricanes, and Highlanders in New Zealand’s Super Rugby competition.

He has also represented New Zealand at the international level, appearing in the 2003, 2011, and 2015 Rugby World Cups, and was part of the team that won the 2011 trophy. Nonu is known for his power and physicality, as well as his defensive prowess in the midfield.

He is a respected leader on and off the field and is a great role model for aspiring rugby players.

43. TJ Perenara

TJ Perenara is a renowned New Zealand rugby union player. He is well known for his versatility, playing both Halfback and First Five-Eighth positions.

Currently, Perenara plays for the Wellington Lions in the Mitre 10 Cup, the Hurricanes in Super Rugby and New Zealand’s national team, the All Blacks. Perenara has had an impressive career thus far, starting out with the Wellington Lions in 2011.

He has since gone on to represent the Hurricanes and the All Blacks. He has earned several accolades, including being named the Hurricanes Player of the Year in 2015 and 2016, and being named the Super Rugby Player of the Year in 2018.

He was also part of the All Blacks squad that won the Rugby World Cup in 2019. Perenara is widely regarded as one of the best rugby players in the world. He has a strong physical presence and is renowned for his passing and kicking skills.

He is also a natural leader, and his leadership skills have seen him captaining both the Hurricanes and the All Blacks. TJ Perenara is an inspirational figure in New Zealand rugby, and his success is a testament to his hard work and dedication.

He is an example of what can be achieved with commitment and determination.

44. Akira Ioane

Akira Ioane is a renowned rugby union player from New Zealand. He plays at the blindside flanker and number 8 positions for the Auckland Rugby Union team in the Mitre 10 Cup.

He is also part of the Blues team in the Super Rugby competition and has been an integral part of the team for several years. Ioane has shown exemplary skills on the field and has a great understanding of the game.

He is a physical presence and an excellent ball carrier with good strength that allows him to fend off opponents. He also has an excellent work rate and is an effective defender. He is an important leader on the field and his presence is a big factor in the success of the team.

Ioane is respected by his teammates and coaches and is an outstanding player that has contributed to the team’s success.

45. Scott Barrett

Scott Kevin Barrett is a talented rugby union player from New Zealand who currently plays as a lock for both the Crusaders in Super Rugby and Taranaki in the Mitre 10 Cup.

His skill and leadership capabilities were recognized by the Crusaders, who chose him to be their Captain for the 2020 Super Rugby season. Barrett is an experienced player, having played for the Crusaders since 2015 and for Taranaki since 2014.

He has also represented New Zealand in international matches and has been part of the All Blacks squad since 2017. He has been an inspirational leader for both teams and has helped them to many victories. His presence on the pitch is a major factor in their success.

He is a great example of a player who has risen through the ranks to become an influential leader and an inspiration for his teammates.

46. Shaun Stevenson

Shaun Stevenson is a professional rugby union player from New Zealand. He plays as an outside back for two different teams: North Harbour in New Zealand’s domestic Mitre 10 Cup, and the Chiefs in the international Super Rugby competition.

Stevenson is highly regarded for his athleticism and agility, which allows him to excel in both attack and defence. He has been a reliable contributor for both teams, providing speed and skill in the backfield.

His strong defensive work has been integral to the success of the Chiefs in the Super Rugby competition, and his ability to quickly transition from defence to attack has been a key factor in North Harbour’s success in the Mitre 10 Cup.

His versatility and experience make him a valuable asset to both teams, and he is an important part of the game plan for both teams.

47. Ricky Riccitelli

John Ricky Riccitelli is a professional rugby union player from New Zealand. He currently plays as a hooker for the New Zealand franchise Blues.

He has had an impressive career in his youth, having been selected to participate in the 2015 World Rugby Under 20 Championships for New Zealand.

Additionally, Riccitelli was also part of the Francis Douglas Memorial College’s first XV, further demonstrating his commitment to the sport.

His selection for the World Rugby Under 20 Championships speaks to his talent and dedication to the sport, and it is clear that he has taken his rugby career seriously from a young age.

Riccitelli’s success in the sport is a testament to his hard work and perseverance, and he is sure to continue to be a successful rugby player.

48. Ethan de Groot

Ethan de Groot is a professional rugby union player from New Zealand. He is currently playing for the Highlanders in Super Rugby, the top-tier professional rugby union competition in the Southern Hemisphere.

De Groot plays in the prop position, which involves carrying the ball, scrummaging, and providing support in the tackle. In 2020, de Groot signed with the Highlanders for their Super Rugby squad.

This was a major accomplishment for him, as Super Rugby is the highest level of rugby union in the Southern Hemisphere.Not long after signing with the Highlanders, de Groot made his international debut for New Zealand.

On July 10th, 2021, he faced off against Fiji at Dunedin in his first international match.

It was a memorable moment for de Groot, as he was able to represent his country and show off his talents on the rugby field. Overall, Ethan de Groot is a talented rugby union player from New Zealand.

He has achieved success in the Super Rugby competition and made his international debut for New Zealand. He is sure to be a major contributor to the Highlanders and the national team in the future.

49. Brad Weber

Brad McCormick Weber is an accomplished rugby union player from New Zealand.

He currently plays as a halfback for Hawke’s Bay in the National Provincial Championship and the Chiefs in Super Rugby. Weber was raised in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand, and was a local rugby star from an early age. He attended St.

Paul’s College and represented his school, as well as the Hawke’s Bay U18s and U20s teams.

His impressive skills on the pitch earned him a spot in the New Zealand U20s Squad in 2015. Weber made his professional debut for Hawke’s Bay in 2016 and quickly became an integral part of the team.

He cemented his place in the hearts of Hawke’s Bay fans with his outstanding performances throughout the season. In 2017, Weber was signed by the Chiefs in Super Rugby, the highest level of rugby union in New Zealand.

He has since become a key player for the Chiefs, regularly making appearances in the starting lineup.

Weber has also been selected for the Maori All Blacks squad, further cementing his reputation as one of the best halfbacks in the game. Brad McCormick Weber has established himself as a top-level rugby union player, with his impressive performances for Hawke’s Bay and the Chiefs.

He is a true rugby star whose skill and talent will continue to shine in the future.

50. Anton Lienert-Brown

Anton Russell Lienert-Brown is a professional rugby union player from New Zealand. He is currently playing for two teams: the Chiefs in Super Rugby and Waikato in the Mitre 10 Cup.

Lienert-Brown is a second-five-eighth or Centre, meaning he is responsible for both attacking and defensive duties. He made his debut for the New Zealand national team in 2016 and has since become a key member of the team.

His skill and experience is an invaluable asset to the Chiefs and Waikato teams and the New Zealand national team.

51. Conrad Smith

Conrad Gerard Smith MNZM is an accomplished rugby union coach and former player from New Zealand. He is best known for his skill and expertise at the centre position and has played in the Super Rugby for the Hurricanes.

Smith was a key member of New Zealand’s Rugby World Cup winning teams in 2011 and 2015, and he represented New Zealand from 2004 to 2015. Smith is a highly-respected figure in the rugby union world, and his experience and dedication to the sport have earned him a number of honours.

In addition to captaining the Hurricanes in Super Rugby, he was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2016 for his outstanding career. Smith has also been involved in coaching, having served as an assistant coach for the Crusaders and the Blues in Super Rugby.

He has also been a consultant coach for the All Blacks and is currently the backs coach for the Hurricanes. Smith’s passion for rugby is evident in his commitment to the game.

He is an inspirational figure to aspiring rugby players and coaches alike, and his years of experience have earned him a great deal of respect from all areas of the sport.

Conclusion

New Zealand is home to some of the best rugby players in the world. From All Blacks legends such as Richie McCaw and Dan Carter to young, up-and-coming stars like Beauden Barrett and Ardie Savea, New Zealand’s rugby scene is filled with talent and passion.

From the grassroots to the international stage, New Zealand is a rugby powerhouse, and its players have been the envy of the world for decades.

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John Rizzo

I am a professional rugby player in the Washington DC-Baltimore area. I have been playing rugby for over 10 years and have had the opportunity to play in many different countries. I am also a coach for both youth and adult rugby teams. I graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a degree in Sports Management and Marketing. I am currently working on my MPA from American University and plan to pursue this career path after graduating next year. LinkedIn