RUCK supporters have been voting to rank the world’s best No. 8s for 2022, with an England star in the top six.
Support play, tackling and ball carrying are the No. 8’s areas of expertise, making their roles similar to those of the two flankers. Together, the trio form a unit called a back row.
Linked to the right at the back of the scrum, the No.8 is also the only player on the forwards who can collect the ball from the base of the scrum.
It’s a move that is often used to gain vital yards when a team is scrummaging close to the opponent’s try line, and to be truly effective, the No.8 needs to be an explosive and dynamic running back.
Here, then, is RUCK supporters’ top six list of the best number 8s in world rugby today:
The best number 8 in the world:
#6. alex dombrandt
- Years: 25
- Test limits: 7
- Nation: England
- Club: Harlequins
Alex Dombrandt Facts:
- Dombrandt began playing rugby at the age of six for Warlingham RFC in Surrey.
- He played for Wales under-20s in all five games at the 2017 Under 20 Six Nations Championship, qualifying as a resident student at a Welsh university.
- However, he has no birth, family or residence qualifications to play for Wales at Test level.
- He did not play rugby for representative teams or a professional academy before joining Cardiff Metropolitan University in 2015.
- On 10 July 2021, Dombrandt made his senior England Test debut in a 70–14 win against Canada at Twickenham.
#5. Taulupe Faletau (Wales)
- Years: 31
- Test limits: 92
- Nation: Welsh
- Club: dragons
Facts about Taulupe Faletau:
- Faletau was born in Tofoa, Tonga, the son of Tongan international Kuli Faletau, who represented Tonga at the 1999 Rugby World Cup.
- He began his career as a prop but was later moved to number 8.
- As a child, his school friends had a hard time pronouncing his Tongan name, so he adopted the nickname Toby.
- The Faletaus are good friends of the Vunipola family. England forwards Billy and Mako Vunipola describe Taulupe Faletau as their ‘cousin’
- Faletau is in a long-term relationship with Charlotte Rhys Jones, the sister of Welsh footballer Gareth Bale’s wife, Emma.