You need rare courage to be the rock at the rear. So any butter-fingered shrinking violets should step away now – full-backs need to spring like a hare and catch the ball unerringly in the face of dastardly challengers. Positional awareness is a given – you have a lot of ground to cover out there – and a solid boot is required to clear your lines. If you can also kick goals like Leigh Halfpenny, consider yourself hired. The best exponents of fullback play will pose endless threats as a runner, linking with their fellow backs or bursting into the line to create an overlap.

Israel Folau

Major teams: Broncos, Waratahs Country: Australia Test span: 2013 – Australia caps: 41 (41 starts) Test points: 100 (20T) – Figures correct as of 19/07/2016 – He arrived in rugby…

Gavin Hastings takes a high ball during a Test against Wales

Major Teams: Watsonians, London Scottish, Cambridge University Country: Scotland Test span: 1986-95 Scotland caps: 61 (61 starts) Lions caps: 6 (6 starts) Test points: 733 (18T, 87C, 160P) He was…

George Nepia of New Zealand

Major Teams: Hawke’s Bay, East Coast Country: New Zealand Test span: 1924-30 Test caps: 9 (9 starts) Test points: 5 (1C, 1P) Twice weekly he displayed remarkable pluck, uniquely appearing…

Ken Scotland

Major Teams: Army, Heriot’s FP, Cambridge University, London Scottish, Leicester Country: Scotland Test span: 1957-65 Scotland caps: 27 (27 starts) Lions caps: 5 (5 starts) Test points: 79 (8C, 16P,…

Don Clarke of New Zealand

Major teams: Waikato Country: New Zealand Test span: 1956-64 Test caps: 31 (31 Starts) Test points: 207 (2T, 33C, 38P, 5DG, 2Gfm) He wouldn’t have troubled Christian Cullen, one of…

Tom Kiernan of Ireland

Major teams: University College Cork, Cork Constitution, Munster Country: Ireland Test span: 1960-73 Ireland caps: 54 (54 starts) Lions caps: 5 (5 starts) Test points: 193 (2T, 27C, 42P, 2DG)…

Christian Cullen takes on France at the 1999 World Cup

Major teams: Manawatu, Wellington, Hurricanes, Munster Country: New Zealand Test span: 1996-2002 Test caps: 58 (56 starts) Test points: 236 (46T, 3C) Like a lightning bolt, he flashed dramatically into the…

Andy Irvine

Major teams: Heriot’s Country: Scotland Test span: 1972-82 Scotland caps: 51 (51 starts) Lions caps: 9 (9 starts) Test points: 301 (12T, 26C, 67P) The owner of an extremely accurate…

Serge Blanco attacks from deep

Major teams: Biarritz Country: France Test span: 1980-91 Test caps: 93 (93 starts) Test points: 233 (38T, 6C, 21P, 2DG) The Eighties were the halcyon of French rugby, where players…