Super Rugby
Greg Growden's 10 favourite Super Rugby players
Greg Growden
February 11, 2015

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We all have our favourite players, folk we pay good money to watch irrespective of the team and form. With Super Rugby preparing to kick off its 20th season, ESPN columnist Greg Growden nominates the 10 players he has most enjoyed watching in the competition during its 19 years. Who are your favourite Super Rugby players? Let us know in the comments below, or by joining the conversation on Twitter using the hashtags #SuperRugbyFavourites or #10For20

Rupeni Caucaunibica

For a short period, this Fijian winger at the Auckland Blues was so far above everyone else. With Super Rugby rewarding points scoring, the best wingers are special jewels; Caucau certainly was a jewel in the early 2000s, when he at the centre of countless exceptional tries. And then he was gone.

Was there ever a more delightful sight than Rupeni in full flight? © Getty Images
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Matt Dunning

Matt Dunning was not the best prop to ever play Super Rugby, but was there one more entertaining? I think not. Vivid memories remain of him being the intercept king, making those frantic dashes down the field, and let's not forget those wacky field goal attempts for the Waratahs that led to back-page headlines. No wonder he had his own segment on an ABC comedy show.

Matt Dunning: never a more entertaining prop © Getty Images
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Stephen Larkham

He was the king of the glide, the slide, the cruise. It all looked so easy when the Brumbies relied upon him to get them on the charge. The Brumbies playmaker was the master of space and time, and he had a rare rugby brain - always willing to try something a little different.

Steve Larkham was sublime for the Brumbies, particularly when he wore the No.10 jumper © Getty Images
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Chris Latham

Queensland Reds have had some tough Super Rugby years, but their no-frills fullback always made them worth watching. With socks perched around his ankles, he often took on the opposition by himself with an excellent chip-and-chase game and a willingness to try anything. Under pressure, he never relented and saved the Reds so often with 50-metre plus clearing kicks.

Chris Latham was worth the admission price on his own © Getty Images
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Ollie le Roux

Ollie le Roux was central to one of the best rugby sledges of all time © Getty Images
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There's nothing more entertaining than a roly-poly front-rower. And this Sharks prop was also at the centre of one of the best sledges of all time. So it goes in a Super Rugby game, Le Roux fumbled the ball over the tryline only to hear a Brumbies opponent mutter: "I bet you wouldn't have dropped it if it was a donut!"

Victor Matfield

The most common of Super Rugby sights? The Bulls lock slowly telling his hooker exactly what type of lineout throw he wants. Getting what he wants. Winning the lineout and sending the Bulls off into attack. A rarity among forwards - as he was (Ed: still is!) virtually mistake free. Resurrecting his representative career last year was also inspiring.

Victor Matfield is the rock around whom the Bulls still build their franchise © Getty Images
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Keven Mealamu is a warrior who has played 15 Super Rugby seasons © Getty Images
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Keven Mealamu

For his longevity, and humble character.

Richie McCaw

He is just so dependable, so infuriating, so clinical, so effective. He is New Zealand rugby.

Richie McCaw: enough said © Getty Images
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Andrew Mehrtens was pivotal to the Crusaders success through the noughties © Getty Images
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Andrew Mehrtens

The All Blacks are renowned for being dim and dour, but not this Crusaders No.10. There was always a touch of fun, a sense of mischief, with this unpredictable character. Eventually he was moved on by Robbie Deans when Dan Carter emerged on the scene in Christchurch, but he was previously a key cog in the Crusaders' dominance.

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Brad Thorn

Brad Thorn is the most extraordinary footballer of recent times, due to his ability to flit continually between the top levels of rugby league and rugby union and always excel. Renowned New Zealand coach Fred Allen once told Australian Rugby Union chief John O'Neill: "The Wallabies will only perform at a consistent level when they find a Brad Thorn." The Wallabies still haven't found a Brad Thorn, and that's a prime reason they haven't performed with any consistency lately.

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

Brad Thorn has been a beast in both rugby codes © Getty Images
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