Super Rugby
Super Rugby cult heroes: 10 fan favourites
Sam Bruce
February 2, 2015
Join us as we look back at some of Super Rugby's cult heroes © Graham Cousens /

Super Rugby hits a major milestone in 2015 with the competition bringing up its 20th season after launching way back in 1996.

The southern hemisphere's premier provincial tournament has come a long way since its inception 20 years ago, growing from 12 to 15 teams as it helped forge the careers of some of rugby's modern day greats. And it will grow once again in 2016 when a Japanese and Argentine team are added to the mix.

So to mark the 20th anniversary of Super Rugby and to help preview what will no doubt be another bumper season we're pleased to bring you the 10For20 series. Join us as we relive years gone by and build up to the season kick-off; starting with our top 10 cult heroes.

Joeli Vidiri

While he is sometimes forgotten due to the enormous shadow of Jonah Lomu, there is no doubting Vidiri's place in Blues folklore. The Fijian-born winger was a devastating finisher and fan favourite at Eden Park back in the Super 12 days, so much so the song "Give me hope, Joeli," was penned.

Sona Taumalolo

Chiefs prop Sona Taumalolo is wrapped up, Chiefs v Crusaders, Super Rugby, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, New Zealand, July 27, 2012
Chiefs prop Sona Taumalolo is wrapped up © Getty Images

There have been plenty of try-scoring props over the years but none have quite matched the feats of Taumalolo. The Tongan prop enjoyed an amazing purple patch in 2012 when he crossed the stripe an amazing nine times to finish as the Chiefs' leading try-scorer and second-equal overall.

Ollie le Roux

One of the early cult heroes in Super Rugby, le Roux wasn't exactly the fittest of campaigners. However it was his large frame and powerful short bursts that saw him become a household name in the Republic, and throughout Super 12.

Tendai Mtawarira

He has one of the best nicknames in world rugby and Tendai "Beast" Mtawarira is now one of the most recognisable figures in the game. A cry of "Beaaaaaaaaaaaaast" is heard just about every time he touches the ball nowadays, both at home and away.

Paul Tito

Easily distinguishable thanks to his bright red hair, Paul Tito developed a cult following during his eight-year stint at the Hurricanes. The lock also played a number of games for the New Zealand Maori.

The Blues' Paul Tito is tackled by Australia's Ryan Cross, Cardiff Blues v Australia, City of Cardiff Stadium, Cardiff, Wales, November 24, 2009
The Blues' Paul Tito is tackled by Australia's Ryan Cross © Getty Images

Mark Allen

Long before The Beast there was The Bull, and the good folk in Wellington just loved former skipper Mark Allen. A cry of "Bullllllllllllll" went up every time the chrome-domed hooker was in action at the old Athletic Park.

Rene Ranger

There have been few highlights for Blues fans since their 2003 triumph but Ranger at least gave them something to smile about between 2009 and 2013. Ranger earned a reputation as a hitman in both attack and defence while his afro hairstyle was particularly popular with young Blues fans.

Chris Latham

Before the Reds moved across to Suncorp Stadium they played at Ballymore where the NSW-raised Chris Latham was undoubtedly a favourite son. Impossible to miss with socks around ankles, Latham was adored on XXXX Hill, particularly when he was inflicting pain on the Waratahs.

Carlos Spencer

Arguably the most freakishly talented player in the history of game, Spencer had an endless supply of jaw-dropping party tricks. They weren't always well received in the Test arena but his glorious season for the Blues in 2003 rightfully earned him the name "King Carlos".

Nick Cummins

If you're to look up the definition of "cult hero" in, say, 20 years' time, there might well just be a picture of Cummins and the animal from which his nickname is taken "The Honey Badger". Cummins has almost singlehandedly put rugby on the map in Western Australia while his status as the "most Australian man alive" has gone global.

Who are your favourite Super Rugby cult heroes? Let us know in the comments below, or by joining the conversation on Twitter using the hashtags #SuperRugbyCultHeroes or #10For20

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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