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Springbok World Cup winner John Smit takes time out to name the five toughest opponents he ever faced on the field. John Smit played in three World Cups, winning caps for South Africa and lifting the trophy after defeating England in the final in Paris.

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Over the 20 years since Italy ed the Championship, the Guinness Six Nations has provided countless magical moments, stunning tries and special players. And as we head into the Guinness Six Nations, it feels like the perfect time to reflect on those players who have had the biggest impact on the last two decades. Where else to start than the man who called time on his Ireland career at the end of after a remarkable decade and a half. One of just two men to play in both Ireland Grand Slams in the 21 st century, along with Rob Kearney, Rory Best captained his country to a clean sweep in

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Marrying solidity at the scrum with accuracy at the lineout plus the ability to get around the park, the modern day hooker has plenty to do.

The undisputed king of the No. Excellent at the scrum, pinpoint accurate at the lineout and outstanding in the loose, the 29 year-old is the epitome of the modern day hooker. With his deft hands, side step and turn of pace, Coles could undoubtedly play in the backs. He made an immediate impact on his provincial debut for the Wellington Lions against Otago back incoming off the bench late to score two tries. Since making his Super Rugby debut for the Hurricanes inthe Paraparaumu-born hooker has racked up 93 appearances and an impressive 13 tries.

John smit picks his top five hookers

After playing second fiddle to ex-All Blacks No. Since then he has gone on to make 41 appearances, picked up two Rugby Championship titles a coveted World Cup, and made the No. Extremely powerful in the scrum, reliable in the lineout, and destructive with ball in hand the South African is a class act.

With his raw strength over the ball, Du Plessis is also excellent at the breakdown, garnering important turnovers for his side.

Currently at French Top 14 side Montpellier, the year old spent ten years at the Sharks, picking up two Curry Cup titles and becoming their most capped Super Rugby player with appearances. But he finally made his international debut off the bench against Australia in His exceptional form the following year helped South Africa to a first Tri-Nations title since Consistency, he continued his outstanding form in the World Cup as South Africa were controversially knocked out at the quarter-final stage by Australia.

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His aggressiveness has sometimes got the economics graduate into trouble. He was banned for three weeks after being found guilty of careless conduct against All Black Adam Thompson, after his hand made contact with the eyes of the Kiwi.

He also received a one-month ban last year for kicking Chiefs No. Strong in the scrum, good at lineout time, and superb in the loose, the Pumas skipper is a quality operator. Since making his pro debut inthe La Plata-born star has made 51 appearances for his country and appeared in two World Cups.

World rugby’s top three hookers

The 5ft 11in, 17st 5lbs star started off his career at flanker before switching to the front row on the suggestion of former Argentina coach Santiago Phelan in About: Adriaan StraussAgustin CreevyAll BlacksArgentinan rugbybiarritzbismarck du plessisClermont RugbyDane Coles HurricanesJohn Smitlos pumasMario LedesmamontpellierRugby World Cuprugby world cupsharks super rugbysouth africa rugbyspringboksthe rugby championshiptri nationsworcester warriorsWorld's top 3 hookers.

This article was written by a member of The PA Team. View all posts by The PA Team.

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