World Cup - Top 10: World Cup speedsters
We look at the Top 10 speed merchants in World Cup history.
Christophe Dominici (France)
Not especially prolific – as his total of 25 tries in 67 Tests proves – but he was blessed with amazing pace, something the All Blacks discovered in their shock 1999 semi-final loss to France. Dominici finished with a tally of eight tries in 15 RWC games, his other tournaments being 2003 and 2007.
Bryan Habana (South Africa)
Habana is so fast – his best 100 metres time is 10.2 seconds - that he once raced a cheetah. Although he lost, it is one of few head-to-heads where he has come off second best. Equalled Jonah Lomu’s record for most tries in one RWC when he touched down eight times in South Africa’s 2007 success.
Doug Howlett (New Zealand)
Once timed at 10.68 seconds for 100 metres, Howlett was renowned for his pace rather than his power. The All Blacks’ record try-scorer with 49 from 62 Tests, he is second only to Jonah Lomu in the overall RWC try charts with 13 in 10 games in 2003 and 2007.
Patrique Lagisquet (France)
Nicknamed the ‘Bayonne Express’, the former left wing made his name in RWC 1987, touching down four times as France reached the final. He was also involved in the try of the tournament when Les Bleus ousted Australia in the dying seconds of a thrilling semi-final. Closed his career with 20 tries in 46 Tests.
Jonah Lomu (New Zealand)
Although he will largely be remembered for running through the opposition rather than round them, Lomu was still incredibly fast for such a big man. Despite weighing in at over 18 stone, he once clocked the 100 metres in 10.8 seconds. The Rugby World Cup’s leading try-scorer with 15 touchdowns from only 11 games.
Dan Luger (England)
Boasted an excellent strike-rate at international level of 24 tries in 38 Tests through his lightning speed and would surely have obtained more if he hadn’t been so injury-prone. Scored six tries in nine World Cup outings in 1999 and 2003, but gained more fame in 2003 for appearing as England 16th man against Samoa.
Takudzwa Ngwenya (USA)
Deserves a place in this list even if it is only for leaving Springbok speedster Bryan Habana in his slipstream in scoring one of the tries of the 2007 tournament. Had been timed at 10.5 for 100 metres, but many pundits felt that was on the low side for the Zimbabwean-born flyer.
Joe Rokocoko (New Zealand)
Reported to have run 40 metres in 4.44 seconds, the Fijian-born wing has used a combination of speed and power for many of his 46 tries in 68 Tests. This included 17 in 12 Tests in 2003 – a world record for a calendar year – and 11 in eight RWC matches, in 2003 and 2007.
Rory Underwood (England)
A flyer in more ways than one, the fleet-footed former RAF pilot would often leave the opposition trailing in his wake. At home on either wing, he still holds the England try-scoring record with 49 in 85 Tests between 1984 and 1996, which included 11 in 15 Rugby World Cup appearances.
Shane Williams (Wales)
A midget in the land of giants at 5ft 7in, but he more than makes up for his lack of inches with his electric speed. Wales’ record try-scorer and third in the all-time global list, he approaches his third Rugby World Cup with a tally of seven from six matches.