• Francois Pienaar rated greatest No 6 in rugby history

    Francois Pienaar rated greatest No 6 in rugby history

    The 1995 World Cup-winning Springbok captain Francois Pienaar was rated the greatest No 6 to ever play Test rugby in a global poll of more than 200 000 votes. Two other Springbok legends made the team, reports Mark Keohane.

    Winger Bryan Habana and scrumhalf Joost van der Westhuizen were also among the players more than 200 000 fans voted for the most in each position.

    Ruck.co.za reported that BBC ran a poll for the world’s greatest starting XV of all time and after receiving more than 200 000 votes, it was Pienaar who took the No 6 jersey ahead of anyone who has played the game.

    Pienaar, who inspired the Springboks to the 1995 World Cup win against the All Blacks in Johannesburg, South Africa, made his Test debut in 1993 and played just 29 Tests for the Boks in an international career that was ended in 1996 when the then Springbok coach Andre Markgraaff axed him.

    Pienaar’s glory year was in 1995 when he captained the Springboks under the guidance of his old Lions (then Transvaal) coach, the late Kitch Christie.

    England 2003 World Cup winner Jonny Wilkinson also named Pienaar in his all-time greatest XV.

    There was no place in the fans’s greatest World XV for the iconic Springbok flanker Schalk Burger, who won the World Cup with the Springboks in 2007, was a World Rugby Player of the Year winner and was named by both All Black legends Richie McCaw and Dan Carter as among the toughest five opponents both respectively faced in a decade of Test rugby.

    Equally, there was no place for All Blacks loose-forward Michael Jones, who many consider the best to have ever played for the All Blacks.

    Seven All Blacks appear in the Greatest XV and France’s Serge Blanco was the only player from the amateur era to make the side.

    Out of sight, it would appear, is out of mind.

    What do you think of the Fans’ Greatest Ever World XV?

    15. Serge Blanco (Fra)

    14. Bryan Habana (SA)

    13. Brian O’Driscoll (Ire)

    12. Ma’a Nonu (NZL)

    11. Jonah Lomu (NZL)

    10. Dan Carter (NZL)

    9. Joost vd Westhuizen (SA)

    8. Zinzan Brooke (NZL)

    7. Richie McCaw (NZL)

    6. Francois Pienaar (SA)

    5. John Eales (Aus)

    4. Martin Johnson (Eng)

    3. Owen Franks (NZL)

    2. Sean Fitzpatrick (NZL)

    1.Jason Leonard (Eng)


    Dan Carter rates his five toughest opponents

    Richie McCaw rates his five toughest opponents

    Read ruck.co.za for some very different Dream Teams, as picked by some of the game’s best players


    Article written by

    Keo has written about South African and international rugby professionally for the last 25 years