The All Blacks, New Zealand’s national rugby team, boast a rich history of exceptional talent across all positions. Among the key positions is the scrum-half, a vital playmaker responsible for orchestrating the team’s attack. In this article, we celebrate the greatness of the All Blacks’ scrum halves by highlighting the 10 best players to have graced the position in the history of New Zealand rugby.
- Justin Marshall (1995-2005): Justin Marshall’s tenure as an All Blacks scrum-half spanned a decade, during which he showcased his exceptional skills. Known for his lightning-fast pass, excellent decision-making, and relentless energy, Marshall was a true leader on the field. His 81 Test caps and ability to perform under pressure made him an iconic figure in New Zealand rugby.
- Chris Laidlaw (1963-1970): A pioneer of modern scrum-half play, Chris Laidlaw revolutionized the position with his emphasis on quick distribution and fluidity. Laidlaw possessed a superb kicking game and played a significant role in the All Blacks’ success in the late 1960s.
- Sid Going (1967-1977): Sid Going’s agility, elusiveness, and exceptional service from the base of the scrum made him a standout scrum-half. Renowned for his sidestepping abilities, Going consistently troubled opposition defenses and played a vital role in the All Blacks’ dominant era during the 1970s.
- Dave Loveridge (1984-1988): Dave Loveridge was a dynamic and influential scrum-half known for his skillful passing and tactical acumen. Loveridge played a key role in the All Blacks’ success during the mid-1980s, including their historic series win against the British and Irish Lions in 1983.
- Aaron Smith (2012-present): In recent years, Aaron Smith has established himself as one of the finest scrum halves in world rugby. With exceptional speed, crisp passing, and a superb kicking game, Smith consistently demonstrates his ability to control the game’s tempo. His combination of skill, vision, and work rate make him a crucial component of the current All Blacks squad.
- Graeme Bachop (1992-1997): Graeme Bachop was an influential scrum-half known for his accurate passing, solid defense, and exceptional support play. Bachop’s contributions during the mid-1990s were instrumental in the All Blacks’ success, including their series win against the Springboks in 1996.
- Ant Strachan (1957-1962): Ant Strachan was a dynamic scrum-half who played with a high level of intensity and a never-say-die attitude. His strong decision-making and crisp passing made him a valuable asset to the All Blacks, particularly during their series victory against the Springboks in 1956.
- TJ Perenara (2014-present): TJ Perenara’s tenacity, speed, and skill set him apart as one of the most talented scrum halves in recent All Blacks history. A strong defender and dynamic attacking threat, Perenara has consistently proven his worth as a key member of the squad, offering both quality and versatility.
- David Kirk (1983-1987): David Kirk captained the All Blacks to their historic Rugby World Cup victory in 1987, solidifying his status as one of the greatest scrum halves of all time. Kirk’s exceptional leadership, accurate passing, and tactical intelligence were instrumental in the team’s success.
- Piri Weepu (2004-2013): Piri Weepu’sversatility and ability to perform under pressure earned him a spot among the best All Blacks scrum halves. Known for his strong kicking game, intelligent decision-making, and composure in high-stakes matches, Weepu played a vital role in the All Blacks’ triumph in the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
The All Blacks have been blessed with a rich lineage of exceptional scrum halves throughout their storied history. From the trailblazing play of Chris Laidlaw to the current brilliance of Aaron Smith, these 10 players have left an indelible mark on New Zealand rugby. Their skill, leadership, and contributions to the team’s success have solidified their status as some of the greatest scrum halves to ever wear the famous black jersey. Their legacy serves as a testament to the importance of the scrum-half position in the rich tapestry of All Blacks rugby.