Scrum-halves shouldn’t count sheep in their sleep – they should count the number of passes they’ve hopefully made in that week’s training. And it should run to hundreds, because they need to deliver rapid and accurate service to their fly-half off both hands. But a good No 9 must also be willing to snipe himself or link with his back row – keeping the defence guessing. A towing box-kick is mandatory and if you’re not one of the gobbiest members of the team you’re in the wrong job, because communication is critical. This role is made for a bossy boots!

Joost van der Westhuizen of South Africa

Major team: Blue Bulls Country: South Africa Test span: 1993-2003 Test caps: 89 (78 starts) Test points: 190 (38T) When Gareth Edwards was knighted in June, rugby pundits tried to…

George Gregan of Australia

Major teams: Brumbies, Toulon, Suntory Sungoliath Country: Australia Test span: 1994-2007 Australia caps: 139 (133 starts) Test points: 99 (18T, 3DG) In the dying seconds of the deciding Test against…

Agustin Pichot fires a pass away

Major teams: Richmond, Bristol, Stade Français, Racing Metro
 

Country: Argentina
 
Test span: 1995-2007 
Argentina caps: 71 (69 starts) 

Test points: 60 (12T) In the immediate aftermath of Argentina’s maiden Rugby…

Justin Marshall makes a break

Major teams: Canterbury, Crusaders, Leeds, Ospreys, Montpellier, Saracens Test span: 1995-2005 Test caps: 81 (74 starts) Test points: 120 (24T) France, at the old Parc des Princes, is nobody’s idea…

David Kirk holds aloft the Webb Ellis Cup

Major teams: Auckland Country: New Zealand Test span: 1985-87 Test caps: 17 (17 starts) Test points: 24 (6T) The No 9 from Wellington led a stellar team featuring John Kirwan,…

Australia's Ken Catchpole

Major teams: Randwick, NSW Country: Australia
 Test span: 1961-68 Australia caps: 27 (27 starts) Test points: 9 (3T) He captained Australia on his Test debut and 12 other occasions, he…

Gary Armstrong in action against England

Major teams: Jed-Forest, Newcastle, Borders Country: Scotland Test span: 1988-99 Scotland caps: 51 (49 starts)
 Test points: 21 (5T) “Inside me at scrum-half I have one of the toughest players…