World Rugby has announced that five players who left their indelible marks on the Rugby World Cup stage will be inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame presented by TUDOR at the World Rugby Awards in Paris, France, on 29 October.
The contributions of Dan Carter (New Zealand), Thierry Dusautoir (France), George Smith (Australia), Juan Martín Hernández (Argentina) and Bryan Habana (South Africa) to the game will be celebrated at the gala event, which takes place a day after the Rugby World Cup 2023 final.
The World Rugby Hall of Fame presented by TUDOR recognises those who have made an outstanding contribution to the game of rugby throughout their careers, while also demonstrating rugby’s character-building values of integrity, passion, solidarity, discipline and respect.
Carter, a two-time Rugby World Cup winner and the record points-scorer in test rugby, produced a virtuoso display in the 2015 final to help New Zealand create history by winning back-to-back tournaments, while speedster Habana scored a record-equalling eight tries as South Africa lifted the Webb Ellis Cup in France in 2007.
RWC 2007 was a breakout tournament for Argentina with Hernández pulling the strings as Los Pumas stunned hosts France twice en route to winning the bronze final. Dusautoir and Smith, meanwhile, suffered final heartbreak in 2003 and 2011 respectively.
The five inductees bring the total in the Hall of Fame to 166 since it began in 2006.
World Rugby Chairman and Hall of Fame inductee Sir Bill Beaumont said: “Rugby World Cup 2023 is our 200th birthday party, the sport’s greatest celebration of togetherness. We are proud to be inducting five legends of the game, players who are indelibly linked to the remarkable Rugby World Cup story.
“Each have played a huge role in making the sport what it is today, exciting and inspiring in equal measure, while always being superb ambassadors for their sport. Their impact was greater than the field of play, it transcended sport and society, taking rugby to another level. Congratulations to our inductees. We look forward to celebrating their achievements at the World Rugby Awards in Paris on 29 October.”
Fellow World Rugby Hall of Fame inductee and Chairman of the Hall of Fame panel John Eales said: “As our game celebrates another successful Rugby World Cup it is timely to recognise those who have contributed to making our game the wonderful global sport that it is. Today we induct a series of rugby players into the World Rugby Hall of Fame who have each thrived on the world stage as exemplars of the athletic requirements of our game, and just as importantly, as ambassadors of the values of our game. Congratulations to our five inductees.”
For more information on the World Rugby Hall of Fame, visit www.world.rugby/halloffame.
World Rugby Hall of Fame 2023 inductees
No.162 – Dan Carter (New Zealand)
No.163 – Thierry Dusautoir (France)
No.164 – George Smith (Australia)
No.165 – Juan Martín Hernández (Argentina)
No.166 – Bryan Habana (South Africa)
Dan Carter (New Zealand)
World Rugby Hall of Fame – Inductee No.162
Dan Carter is the highest points scorer in the history of test rugby (1,598 points) and is without doubt one of the greatest players of the modern age.
Initially an inside-centre for both the Crusaders and the All Blacks, Carter announced his arrival on the international stage with 20 points against Wales in his first test start in Hamilton in 2003.
It wasn’t until the 22nd of his 112 caps, against Italy in Rome in November 2004, that Carter took hold of the 10 jersey and remained in possession of it virtually untouched for another 11 years. Many consider his 33-point contribution in the second test of the 2005 British and Irish Lions series to be the best match individual match performance ever.
As a fly-half, Carter was more than a brilliant tactician and world-class goal-kicker, he had the skills, agility and speed to open up defences in his own right as well as facilitating tries for others.
He was a hugely influential figure during a trophy laden era for the Crusaders and the All Blacks, as well as enjoying spells in French club rugby with Perpignan and Racing 92 and Kobelco Steelers in Japan, winning three Super Rugby titles and nine Tri-Nations/Rugby Championships and two Rugby World Cups.
Injury deprived Carter of any involvement in the business end of New Zealand’s win in 2011 – his third Rugby World Cup – but the man from Southbridge on the South Island was the inspiration behind their 2015 triumph. Carter scored 82 points in six starts, kicking 19 points in the final including a drop goal and long-range penalty to halt Australia’s fight-back.
Shortly after that international swansong, Carter joined team-mate Richie McCaw in becoming a record three-time recipient of the World Rugby Men’s 15s Player of the Year award, having also received the accolade in 2005 and 2012.
Thierry Dusautoir (France)
World Rugby Hall of Fame – Inductee No.163
Thierry Dusautoir became only the second Frenchman to be named World Rugby Men’s 15s Player of the Year in 2011, in recognition of his fine performances at that year’s Rugby World Cup.
Dusautoir, lauded for his tackling ability, led Les Bleus to the RWC 2011 final, and scored his side’s only try as he turned in a Player of the Match performance at Eden Park. It wasn’t to be, however, as the All Blacks held on to win a low-scoring affair 8-7.
The All Blacks proved to be a touchstone throughout Dusautoir’s international career. He feared his time in the France team had come to a premature end having been dropped following his third cap, a defeat to New Zealand in November 2006, but he returned to Les Bleus’ back-row ahead of RWC 2007. It was during that tournament that he provided one of the greatest individual performances. The flanker made a Rugby World Cup-record 38 tackles as the hosts memorably upset the form book and beat the All Blacks 20-18 in their Cardiff quarter-final.
New Zealand were also the opposition for Dusautoir’s final France appearance, again in Cardiff, during RWC 2015. By the time he called time on his test career, the indefatigable flanker had played in three Rugby World Cups, won 80 caps, 56 as captain, and scored six tries.
Remarkably, given all that he achieved in the game, Dusautoir did not pick up an oval ball until he was 16. However, his grounding in judo was perhaps evident in his approach to defence. At club level, his senior debut came at Bordeaux and he would go on to represent US Colomiers, Biarritz and Toulouse with distinction, winning five French titles and one Heineken Cup. As a 19-year-old he also represented his country on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and played two matches for the Barbarians following his test retirement.
George Smith (Australia)
World Rugby Hall of Fame – Inductee No.164
Plucked from relative obscurity to make his test debut as a 20-year-old in November 2000, George Smith would go on to become arguably rugby’s first openside superstar. His first test ended in an 18-13 victory against France at the Stade de France and Smith’s maiden year on the international stage would also include a series win against the British and Irish Lions and a Tri Nations title.
In 2003, having become a mainstay of the Wallabies back-row, Smith made his Rugby World Cup debut as Australia beat Argentina 24-8 in Sydney. He would go on to score his first tournament try during a 90-8 defeat of Romania, while his second proved crucial to a narrow 17-16 win against Ireland.
Victory sent the hosts through to the quarter-finals as Pool A winners and subsequent defeats of Scotland and New Zealand secured their passage to the final. Smith played all 100 minutes of the showpiece match, but it would end in heartbreak as Jonny Wilkinson’s late drop goal sealed a 20-17 victory for England.
During his second Rugby World Cup at France 2007, Smith became the 75th player to captain the Wallabies when he led the team out for a 37-6 defeat of Canada in Bordeaux, scoring one of his side’s six tries.
Smith would go on to captain Australia a further six times, winning three and losing three. He became a test centurion in July 2009, wearing the number seven jersey in a 22-16 defeat by New Zealand at Eden Park, but it looked as though he had made his 110th and final Wallabies appearance in November of that year after he announced his international retirement in February 2010. However, he made a remarkable return in 2013 when he was selected to start the deciding test of the Lions series. Unfortunately for Smith, the match ended in a 41-16 defeat.
Smith enjoyed a stellar club career with the ACT Brumbies – where he won two John Eales Medals and four Super Rugby Player of the Year awards – Toulon, Suntory Sungoliath, Stade Français, Lyon, Wasps, the Queensland Reds and Bristol. He hung up his boots in 2019 with his place as one of the greats of the modern game firmly assured.
Juan Martín Hernández (Argentina)
World Rugby Hall of Fame – Inductee No.165
“El Mago” or the “The Magician” was a once-in-a-generation player with a brilliant all-round skillset who made the game looked effortless.
Juan Martín Hernández’s performances for Los Pumas over a remarkable 14-year period were as eye-catching as the result on his debut in 2003 – a record 144-0 win against Paraguay.
Capable of making a big impact in a number of different positions, Hernández started his test career as a full-back and played the majority of his early games with the number 15 on his back.
However, it was when he moved to fly-half on the eve of Rugby World Cup 2007 that Hernández really started to grab everyone’s attention.
The man from Buenos Aires had only started one test in the pivotal position prior to that tournament. But his game-controlling influence and craftmanship really shone through as a 10 in France, where he also played a starring role for his club side, Stade Français.
With Hernández the fulcrum of a 9-10-12 axis involving Agustín Pichot and Felipe Contepomi, Argentina upset the host nation in the opening match and went on to beat them again, to finish third and achieve their highest position at a Rugby World Cup.
His sleight of hand and trickery with the boot was a recurring theme throughout the tournament and won him a nomination for the World Rugby Men’s Player of the Year.
Injury deprived Hernández of the opportunity of playing at Rugby World Cup 2011 but he appeared in his third tournament in England in 2015, mainly as a centre, where Argentina stormed into the semi-finals again with a record win against Ireland in Cardiff.
By that stage of his career, Hernández was playing for Toulon, his third club in France, having also played for Stade’s Paris rivals, Racing 92.
He continued playing international rugby until he was 35, retiring in 2017 after 74 tests.
Bryan Habana (South Africa)
World Rugby Hall of Fame – Inductee No.166
Bryan Habana was crowned World Rugby Player of the Year for his stunning contribution to South Africa’s Rugby World Cup 2007 victory, becoming the second Springbok to receive the award after Schalk Burger in 2004.
The lightning-quick winger, who once famously took on a Cheetah in a sprint race, was nigh on unstoppable at the tournament in France, finishing as the top try-scorer after touching down a record-equalling eight times. Habana scored two more tries at Rugby World Cup 2011, to become the Springboks’ all-time leading try scorer, and added a further five in his tournament swansong in 2015 to take his overall tally to 15 and draw level with Jonah Lomu as the men’s Rugby World Cup all-time leading try scorer.
Habana announced his arrival in the test arena in November 2004 by making a try-scoring debut off the bench against England at Twickenham, scoring with his very first touch of the ball. That was the first of 67 tries in 124 tests for the Springboks, a record only bettered in world rugby by Japan’s Daisuke Ohata.
After initially impressing with the Golden Lions, Habana’s club rugby career moved on apace when he joined the Bulls in 2005. This is where the trophy-laden side of his career started as he won Super Rugby titles in 2007 and 2009 which he paired with a Currie Cup. He appeared in another Super Rugby final after switching to the Stormers before signing off in South Africa with a second Currie Cup success, this time with Western Province.
A move to reigning European champions Toulon followed and alongside other greats of the game like Jonny Wilkinson and Matt Giteau, Habana played a significant role in establishing the club as the team to beat. During his time on the Mediterranean coast, Habana won back-to-back European Cup winners medals in 2014 and 2015 as Toulon became the first, and only, club to win three titles on the bounce.
Source World Rugby