World Cups capture the imagination of the public like few other events. Even the most casual football observer can be swept up in the excitement of a national team when the tournament only comes around once every four years.
The Biggest Rugby Players
Who is the best UK-born rugby player to have ever set foot on a pitch? It's obviously not an easy question to answer. After all, you could argue that the answer should be reached not merely by bringing together various statistics.
It’s always difficult to compare the relative performances of players whose careers were often in very different places and circumstances. Nonetheless, here at Top 10 Sports Betting, we’re going to give the impossible challenge a go.
Take a look at our definitive top 10 below.
10. Will Greenwood (England)
Greenwood was part of the England squad that won the 2003 World Cup - at the quarter-final of which, he scored a try against Wales that helped England to edge ahead in a tight match.
However, his versatility as a player - he could play in both inside- and outside-centre - could be seen on an array of occasions. He made 55 appearances for England, 151 for the Leicester Tigers, and 205 for the Harlequins across two separate spells with the London-based club.
9. Adam Jones (Wales)
Jones has played for Harlequins since 2015, but his impressive history in the game goes a long way back. He regularly appeared in the Wales national team from 2003 to 2014; that stint included all of the side's games during the 2003 World Cup.
He was instrumental in the Welsh team that won the Grand Slam in 2005, forming a formidable partnership with teammate Gethin Jenkins. That was before Wales went on to win a further two Grand Slams with Jones among the ranks.
8. Scott Gibbs (Wales)
Named "Player of the Series" in the British Lions' trip to South Africa in 1997, Gibbs also had the distinction of scoring a brilliant try late in the Wales team's final Five Nations clash with England in 1999. His two separate rugby union tenures took in periods with Swansea and the Ospreys. However, from 1994 to 1996, he was a rugby league player with St. Helens - a club you can still choose to bet on at one of the many highly-regarded rugby betting sites.
7. Gethin Jenkins (Wales)
Jenkins has a long history with the Cardiff Blues, having first signed for them in 2004. Since then, he has stayed - bar a brief stint at Toulon in 2012-13 - and appeared in over 175 games for the Welsh club. He has been capped more often than any other player for Wales, with which he won a trio of Grand Slams; he remains one of few Welsh players to have achieved that feat.
Nonetheless, become well-versed with rugby betting, and you might be confident enough to bet on another player adding themselves to that very prestigious group!
6. Jason Robinson (England)
Capable of playing as a fullback or wing, Jason Robinson amassed 51 rugby union caps with England - while he collected, in rugby league, seven caps for England and 12 for Great Britain. Robinson was often fun to watch due to his side-stepping and defender-beating abilities. Such abilities are worth taking account of in modern players if you want to devise a rugby betting strategy.
5. Richard Hill (England)
When playing for either England or Saracens, Hill was often depicted as a "silent assassin" in his role as a flanker. He was with Saracens for 15 years, during which he made 275 appearances. He also helped England to defeat Australia at the 2003 World Cup final. His support play and shrewd driving were key aspects of his performances; WalesOnline has declared him "the ultimate players' player".
4. Lawrence Dallaglio (England)
Dallaglio often appears today as a BT Sport pundit, and he certainly has the credentials to be a good judge of other players, having excelled as one himself - certainly with his power, pace, pride, and aggression. Performing in the positions of flanker and number eight, he garnered 163 points during 227 games for Wasps and also triumphed, with the England team, at the World Cup in 2003.
3. Martin Johnson (England)
Johnson was England's captain and therefore the man handed the silverware after the team sealed victory at the 2003 World Cup in Sydney. However, he also led the British and Irish Lions on a couple of tours - to New Zealand in 1993 and South Africa four years later.
In 2007, England teammate Will Carling wrote for The Telegraph: "He didn't ask you for effort or even have to demand it, his very presence made you want to live up to his standards." It's also worth recalling his tenure with the Leicester Tigers; he scored 90 points for them in 362 appearances.
2. Jonny Wilkinson (England)
Whatever perfection actually is when it comes to playing rugby, Wilkinson was diligent in his pursuit of it. Obviously the greatest highlight of his time on the pitch was his World Cup-winning drop goal in 2003 - scored, especially remarkably, with his less strong right foot.
However, in total, Wilkinson amassed 1,246 points in 97 caps for England and the British and Irish Lions. He was also capped 182 times for the Newcastle Falcons, for which he picked up 2,049 points, and 141 times at Toulon, where his points tally reached 1,884.
1. Shane Williams (Wales)
Sorry to the English, but we have indeed deemed a Welshman the UK's best-ever rugby player. While concerns about his size might have hampered him early in his on-pitch career, he seized a crucial opportunity at the 2003 World Cup and - ahem - ran with it. Through improving his physique and letting his clear skill shine, he became the leading light of his generation of Welsh players.
Overall, Williams played in 373 games, clocking up a massive 1,240 points along the way, in a career taking in the clubs Neath, Ospreys, Mitsubishi Dynaboars, Amman United and at international level, Wales and the British and Irish Lions. It’s little wonder that he was IRB Player of the Year for 2008.
Has this rundown of the UK’s all-time rugby legends whetted your appetite for a bit of betting? If so, don’t hesitate to compare and contrast the leading online portals for rugby betting today, with the help of the ratings and reviews compiled by our experts right here at Top 10 Sports Betting.