Paul Hodgson’s stock was never higher than in the 2007-08 season, when he won the first of his nine England caps. A few weeks later, he lined up in a Heineken Cup quarter-final for London Irish against Perpignan. The match-turning moment occurred just before the break, when Perpignan wing Adrien Plante found himself in space and with the try-line beckoning. What happened next, said Irish’s director of rugby Brian Smith, “proved to me again that Paul Hodgson is the best cover-tackling No 9 I have seen”.Like Rugby World? Subscribe to the magazine for the latest comprehensive content.