The 5 Biggest Prima Donnas in Rugby
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Rugby is a hard, hard sport and not known for producing prima donnas.
Such are the traditions and physical demands of the game, the traits that might characterize someone as a prima donna are rarely accepted due an ethos that puts the team before an individual.
However, a few characters have stood out over the years that perhaps make them as close to a prima donna as you are likely to get in a sport associated with such physicality.
Here are a selection of players that fall into that category, and it probably won't come as a surprise to many that three of the players are from England.
David Campese, Australia
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No one, and that means no one, questions David Campese's standing among the all-time greats of rugby.
Campo was, quite simply, a genius on the rugby field. However, he also possesses what are best described as the "individual characteristics" often associated with geniuses.
He liked to try things that other players could only dream about, and sometimes that got him into trouble—never more so than when conceding this crucial try in Australia's deciding Test with the 1989 British and Irish Lions.
Campese was also smart in realizing his commercial potential and claimed to be rugby's first millionaire, and this was before the game had turned professional.
Fans the world over love to hate Campese but also admire him for his remarkable attacking skills. He is, in particular, a pantomime villain for all fans of the Red Rose due to his regular snipes at the style of rugby played by the England team.
Will Carling, England
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England captain Will Carling was respected as a tough, hard-running centre who never shirked a tackle.
He also led England to three Grand Slams and the final of the 1991 Rugby World Cup, and his standing in the history of the sport is never in question.
Yet there was something of the individual about Carling that rubbed up the opposition and was not always appreciated by his teammates, though he ultimately earned their respect.
Perhaps it was because he was the highest-profile player in Europe during what was still the amateur era, and perhaps because people knew he was earning reward away from the game.
The fact he was romantically linked to Diana, Princess of Wales, also had tongues wagging. Yes, he was a successful rugby player and captain, but he certainly possessed prima donna qualities as well.
Gavin Henson, Wales
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Again, no one would question the all-round talent of Gavin Henson, and there is no doubting the important role he played in Wales winning Grand Slams in 2005 and 2008.
But there is also something over-groomed about "Our Gav." Whether it's his perma-tan, reality television performances or fondness for tabloid attention, he definitely comes as close to a prima donna in modern-day rugby as anyone.
Henson not only riles fans who accuse him of wasting his talent, he clearly has issues with teammates, as this video of him recently being lumped by a Bath player while in a pub clearly illustrates.
The former Wales and Lions player is in the last-chance saloon (pardon the pun) in terms of his career and must make sure he does not blow his chance at current club Bath due to his prima donna qualities.
Danny Cipriani, England
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Tabloid fodder Danny Cipriani represents the worst side of the professional game.
Although he developed a deserved reputation with Wasps as a talented playmaker, rugby has always seemed to come second to the allure of celebrity.
This is probably a tad harsh since Cipriani is known as a dedicated trainer and even moved to Australia to try to develop his game, but he just seems unable to keep out of the papers.
Whether its dating high-profile "selebs," getting into trouble in nightclubs or getting hit by a bus on a drink-fuelled night out, Cipriani has an ability to make a fool of himself wherever he goes.
Like Henson, Cipriani is in grave danger of wasting the talent that at one stage had him down as a shoo-in for the No. 10 shirt.
Perhaps if he spent less time attracting the lenses of tabloid snappers and more time working on his defense, he may stand a chance of getting his international career back on track.
Austin Healey, England
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England have never been the most popular rugby nation, their on-field success, colonial past and perceived arrogance marking them as the team every country enjoys beating most.
Certain players stand out for perpetuating this image during England's most successful period, which culminated in their 2003 World Cup triumph, one of which was Austin Healey.
Healey was also part of a highly successful Leicester team that was never known for its modesty.
Throw into that mix Healey's public falling-out with coach Graham Henry on the 2001 Lions tour of Australia, and his public spat with Wallabies lock Justin Harrison, and there is much to suggest that Healey enjoyed the limelight.
Perhaps his ensuing media career was always in the making, though it must be said he does make a very good pundit.