Top 6 New Zealand Rugby Players Of All Time


There is no denying that when it comes to creating rugby players, New Zealand does the job well. The country has smashed many international tournaments which is largely down to the quality of players they have.  We thought we would take a look at some of the best rugby players New Zealand has ever had; it was a hard choice but here’s what we came up with.

Zinzan Brooke

Although now retired, Zinzan Brooke is considered by many the best flanker in the history of rugby/ In the 90’s he played numerous high-stake games and helped his team come out as winners. He was captain of the Auckland Blues in both 1996 and 1997, where he led the team to victory in the Super 12 Championship.

He also played for the national team – All Black New Zealand where he earned 58 caps – scoring 89 points. He also played for them internationally in over 40 games! He often makes various greatest rugby player list put together, and when he retired held the record for 17 tries scored during test matches. This is similar in some ways to a study conducted by Betway Sports about the most recent Six Nations, which found that the number of tries jumped once again to 74, while the number of penalty goals had dropped to just 49.

Michael Jones

Michael Jones was a highly regarded player during his time playing rugby union, until his retirement in 2004. However, he continued to work in the industry, being the coach of the Samoa team for a number of years following his own exit from the game.

He didn’t always have the best of luck when playing – known as The Iceman due to the number of ice packs he would need for games due to injuries. However, despite all manner of cuts & scrapes, during his time playing for New Zealand All Black, he earned 56 points and 55 caps – making him their most successful flanker.

Jonah Lomu

During his career, Jonah Lomu captured the attention of many – considered at the time the biggest drawcard within rugby union leagues. He played for New Zealand All Black for 8 years from 1994 and during this time earned 63 caps and scored 185 points. Although he never won a world cup during his career, he does hold the World Cup record for all-time top scorer, with 15 tries. Sadly, Lomu passed away in 2015, which was several years after he retired from rugby which was due to ill-health. He has been part of the International Rugby Hall of Fame since 2007.

Dan Carter

When it comes to test match rugby, Dan Carter is the highest point scorer. He has played numerous games for New Zealand All Blacks – earning 1,442 points and 100 caps. He has also played Super Rugby league games just as successful. He led his team to victory at the Rugby World Cup in 2011 & was awarded player of the year in 2005 and 2012 by the International Rugby Board.

Richie McCaw

Now retired, Richie McCaw is a legend in New Zealand rugby. He played international rugby from 2001 – 2015, and captained the All Blacks from 2004 – 2015. Richie McCaw won the World Rugby player of the year award a record three times, was the first All Black to reach 100 caps, the first rugby union player to win 100 tests, and was the most capped test rugby player of all time.

In 2019, World Rugby inducted Richie McCaw into its Hall of Fame, and in 2011, then Prime Minister John Key nominated McCaw for knighthood, however McCaw turned this down.

Charles Monroe

We simply could not put together a list like this and not include Charles Monroe – the man who returned from England introduced New Zealand to the game. Had he not done so, it is unlikely that rugby in New Zealand would be anywhere near as popular as it is today regardless of the rugby grass conditions. He started to arrange matches, teaching the rules to various teams and helped rugby to grow in popularity throughout the whole of New Zealand.

Anna Hayes


Anna Hayes

I'm a passionate Kiwi with a huge love for the outdoors, photography, sports, my kids, healthy living and everything New Zealand. I've worked for many years in the tourism and internet industry, and I love supporting clean green New Zealand.

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