Topping a list of England’s hardest rugby players? He was formerly the New Zealand Professional Boxing Association Heavyweight Champion and Wo The modern players are a different beast, incredibly fit, athletic and strong and there’s no doubt that the hits are as hard, if not harder than ever. Just don’t get him started on crooked scrum feeds. He really looked after me over there. We reckon he's pretty proud of that (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images), Even as a coach Richard Cockerill looks pretty damn scary (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images), When Maggie Alphonsi tackled an opponent they stayed tackled (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images), Fran Cotton (in the foreground) with a speck of mud in his eye (Photo by Adrian Murrell/Getty Images), Brian Moore loved winding up his opponents. A master at winding up the opposition, particularly the French, he has mellowed somewhat since hanging up his boots. Edwin Maka. Reilly is an OBE and a member of the British Rugby League Hall of Fame. His last fight was in Feb of 2013 but he has postponed his boxing career to focus on rugby. It comes as tragic new details emerge about the death of Titmuss that’s left the rugby league world in shock. With violence that would never be tolerated off the footy field, the game has always been rough, tough and dangerous. JONNY MAY – England – 10.71 SECONDS (100M) The speedster clocked 10.71 for the 100 metres. I was also coaching Great Britain and working for a brewery, so I had three jobs. Roger [Millward] was the standout player and with him in great form, we won the second and third Test matches. MR: I had a very good relationship with most, but they used to highlight aspects of my play. Fastest rugby players of all-time. The ranks of rugby league around the world have been liberally peppered with hardmen. I enjoyed Halifax. He simply wore them down, scrum after remorseless scrum, until they couldn’t take anymore. In 1973, hooker Pullin famously captained England against Ireland, in Dublin, at the height of The Troubles. It was a challenge, but the players could walk away after games and be proud of what they’d achieved. We’d played some ordinary teams, so some of the players who were selected weren’t up to it when the tough stuff came around. MR: We did, but you just have to live with the fact that we came up short. A seriously tough customer. Renowned for his relentless work-rate, he was the consummate open-side. Sheridan was capped 40 times by England and was known to be most powerful dude at his peak days. Nicknamed "Rocky", but Clarke wasn’t a fighter — just an old-school, tungsten-tough competitor. This list may not reflect recent changes . MR: In the first training session they left a lot to be desired, so I pulled them into the office one by one and went through my expectations. A karate black belt standing 6ft 6ins tall and weighing over 18 stone, Bath and England lock Danny Grewcock was the stuff of nightmares for his opponents. Enough said (Photo - Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images for Harlequins FC), Wade Dooley (left) charges down a kick with scant regard for his own well-being (Photo - Russell Cheyne/Allsport), A karate black belt and absolutely massive. He had a football brain and a great kicking game – the complete package. Two years later, I won the Lance Todd at Wembley. I knew they didn’t like Pommies. The New Zealander was voted the best Rugby League player at the annual RLIF Awards in 2013. I vividly remember coming up against Arthur Beetson. I managed to get on the plane and then an announcement came up before take-off, “Would Mr Reilly please press his call button, we have a lady here who wishes to speak to him.” We all knew what it was about, so every other player pressed their light. Despite retiring in 2012, he still holds the record for most red cards in the English Premiership, receiving his marching orders on five separate occasions. RR: You came home to coach Huddersfield. Sadly it was rugby, so the All Blacks won. Sonny Bill Williams ( New Zealand ) (Image: Alex Livesey) MR: Rugby League needs to be played on a good surface. Rugby, Rugby League, Australian Rules, and American Football. Lofty praise. MR: It was great because while I was on the field, I could ensure the game plan went as intended. After the first incident, we got wind that someone was trying to serve me a writ in Queensland and, had they successfully done so, I wouldn’t have been able to go to Sydney. RR: Which of your coaches do you have the fondest memories of? Tough doesn’t even come close. Smith will go into the history books as the most prolific player in the history of rugby league. A true master of the dark arts, he went on to become a citing commissioner for the RFU: a classic case of poacher turned gamekeeper. The hardest of all the hard men of league Vince Karalius, 1932-2008. The game was brutal then. The hardship fund will be administered by the independent charity RL Cares, who will award grants to help players deal with their most pressing financial difficulties. Whisper these names quietly, lest you stir their mighty anger - these are the 15 hardest players at the Rugby World Cup. It’s all about slowing the ruck. RR: What was it like coming into the Castleford team as a teenager? You could express yourself physically, but you had to be mentally prepared. Good players make good coaches, but they weren’t up to playing in Super League. I’m a bad loser and didn’t get on with some of the directors. He’d said to me on the plane, “How do you think you’ll enjoy playing in the second row?” But in the end, it was Doug who played there, with me in the loose-forward role we had competed for. From the loose cannons who start swinging punches at the slightest provocation to the silent assassins who relish putting in game-changing hits, every rugby team has its on-field enforcers. Paul Woods was one of the roughest, toughest, most notorious rugby players of his generation. MR: They’re titanium now and they’re great! Discipline left a bit to be desired. Manly had about seven internationals and were an amazing side. At the time I was concerned that Australia were playing to ten metres and were much fitter. A truly archetypal No.9, Harford still has a scar today on his lip from a Sam Allardyce elbow – but unsurprisingly he got his own back in an FA Cup clash down the line. With a strong argument to be England’s quickest wide man ever, May is gradually improving his finishing prowess and is now arguably the first name on the teamsheet for head coach Eddie Jones. I was young and raw and didn’t like being called a Pommy bastard. A three time Man of Steel winner, Hanley was named as the greatest British rugby league player … Of the four, rugby is neither the fastest, longest, toughest, or most skilful. There have been a lot of hard men who have played rugby. You didn‘t need to wrestle with the five-metre rule. Plying his trade for Wasps and London Welsh, Michael "Buster" White was one of the best back rowers never to play for England. Perhaps the hardest of them all, Harford was a throwback even in the early days of the Premier League. The only English captain to lift the Rugby World Cup, Martin Johnson had many skills but turning the other cheek wasn’t one of them. The 20 hardest players in Six Nations history. Anyone who plays rugby can rightly be considered a hard man. Meet the 20 hardest English rugby players that ever lived. I didn’t need that. He didn’t smoke or drink, but I once had to send him home, as an example because you had to have discipline in your squad. Why didn’t it work out for you there? Plenty of coaches today must wish they were out there, rather than firing instructions into a walkie-talkie. I was lucky to play though, because I’d been in bed with ‘flu the day before. Wikimedia Commons has media related to Leeds Rhinos players: Pages in category "Leeds Rhinos players" The following 200 pages are in this category, out of approximately 485 total. Kicking, stamping, biting, punching: you name it, Danny got done for it. Take a look at our rogues’ gallery of English rugby hard-nuts and see how many you recognise. During the late 80s and early 90s, Gloucester and England fans relished the sight of "Iron Mike" rampaging around the field, socks rolled down. I thought I could turn them around but couldn’t find the right people. But those past times represent a memorable period in time when as many fists were flung as tries scored. I remember asking team-mate Peter Peters each week who was the toughest player we were facing, because if I could take one of the tougher players, then people would have a bit of respect for me. You don’t want to be wading through muddy and wet fields. He moved into coaching, winning the Challenge Cup with Castleford in 1986 and the Grand Final with Newcastle Knights in 1997. RR: You also coached Leeds and Halifax before you went back to Australia. How did you deal with them? Height: 6ft 8” Weight: 313lbs/142kg. A big, burly number eight, what he lacked in athleticism he made up for in pure rugby nous and sheer bloody mindedness. MR: Yes, but I think that’s what made me mentally tough. 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