Did you enjoy mucking about in flowerbeds as a toddler, emerging from the garden covered in mud? Welcome to the world of blindside flankers, the players who do the dirty work. The No 6’s raison d’être is to tackle, tackle, tackle – you are there to destroy so that colleagues can create. Bigger and slower than the openside, you will be happiest mixing it with the heavy guys close to the rucks, mauls and set-piece; big hits and ruck clean-outs are your staple. Coaches sometimes tinker with the back-row balance but whoever they select, the unit must always contain somebody who picks up that shovel and does the hard graft.

Major teams: Western Province, Stormers Country: South Africa
 Test span: 2003-2015 Test caps: 86 (72 starts) Test points: 80 (16T) Many northern hemisphere supporters simply cannot forgive Schalk Burger for…

Major teams: Gloucester, Moseley, Cardiff Country: England
Test span: 1985-1993 England caps: 27 (26 starts) Lions caps: 3 (2 starts) Test points: 15 (3T) His finest hour was the 1989 Lions…

France's Jean Prat

Major teams: Lourdes Country: France Test span: 1945-55 Test caps: 51 (51 starts) Test points: 144 (9T, 27C, 15P, 6DG) French rugby suffered an inferiority complex as international rugby’s ‘also-rans’…

Ian Kirkpatrick

Major teams: Poverty Bay, Canterbury Country: New Zealand 
Test span: 1967-77 New Zealand caps: 39 (38 starts) Test points: 57 (16T) When he emerged in the mid-1960s, flankers usually played…

Major teams: Saracens Country: England Test span: 1997-2005 England caps: 71 (68 starts) Lions caps: 5 (5 starts) Test points: 60 (12T) Soon after joining Saracens in 1993, Hill was…

Jerry Collins

Major teams: Wellington, Hurricanes, Ospreys, Toulon Country: New Zealand Test span: 2001-07 Test caps: 48 (42 starts) Test points: 25 (5T) There are back-rows who have been capped more, players…

Major teams: Fylde, Gosforth, Wasps Country: England Test span: 1973-80 England caps: 23 (23 starts) Lions caps: 4 (4 starts) Test points: 12 (3T) He was a granite-like forward who…

John Jeffrey on the attack against France

Major teams: Kelso Country: Scotland     Test span: 1984-91 Scotland caps: 40 (40 starts) Test points: 44 (11T) Ceaselessly circling the breakdown, ruthlessly attacking on the counter or nibbling at…