If you want to stay busy, this is the role for you. Ceteris paribus, no player will carry the ball more often than the No 8 and as one of the team’s heavyweights you will be expected to make good yardage and offload out of the tackle. As the player controlling the ball after it’s hooked in the scrum, the No 8 is a key decision-maker because you can elect to pick it up and run. So good hands are a must, but then pretty much everything is a must for the No 8 because this is one of the all-singing, all-dancing positions – two of our top ten have even dropped a Test-match goal!

Kieran Read of New Zealand

Major teams: Canterbury, Crusaders Country: New Zealand
 Test span: 2008- New Zealand caps: 87 (80 starts) Test points: 105 (21T) * correct as of August 2016 Death, taxes and Kieran…

Wayne Shelford of New Zealand

Major teams: North Harbour, Northampton     Country: New Zealand Test span: 1986-90 New Zealand caps: 22 (22 starts)
 Test points: 20 (5T) When debates rage over the hardest men to…

How many forwards are best remembered for kicking a drop-goal? Not many, but the extraordinary kick Zinzan Brooke slotted from almost 50m out during New Zealand’s 1995 World Cup semi-final…

The son of a Borders shepherd, Jim Telfer is a legend of Scottish rugby on two fronts. As a belligerent back-row, his courage, work-rate and rucking skills made him an…

Mervyn Davies, who passed away in 2012, will be remembered as a Wales and Lions legend for what he achieved during the Seventies. Had his career not finished so abruptly…

Though Auckland-born, Pat Lam is of Samoan descent and is revered on the rugby-mad island. Not only as a teak-tough No 8 who could offload, carry hard and drive attackers…

A treble champion of Europe and part of the backbone of Toulon’s star-studded team for six years, Juan Martin Fernández Lobbe is one of Argentina’s greatest players. Versatile enough to…

Few current players are as universally admired and lauded as Sergio Parisse. Rarely is a bad word written or spoken about Italy’s talismanic captain in the sporting media as his…