International Rugby's Best 5 Scrum-Halves

Steve MunfordContributor IJanuary 7, 2011

International Rugby's Best 5 Scrum-Halves

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    BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 05:  Fourie du Preez passes the ball during the 2009 Tri Nations series match between the Australian Wallabies and the South African Springboks at Suncorp Stadium on September 5, 2009 in Brisbane, Australia.  (Photo by Brad
    Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

    World rugby is filled with talented scrum-halves at the present. There are world class number 9's unable to even break into their national teams. Whilst there are many traditional scrum-halves plying their trade currently, there are also a few rogues bringing a new breed and style to the position. Here is my list of the top 5, see if you agree.

1. Fourie Du Preez

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    Fourie Du Preez
    Fourie Du PreezGallo Images/Getty Images

    Simply a cut above the rest, all South-African fans will be praying for his return before the World Cup. Du Preez is the most effective 9 in the world at controlling a game and from the arm-chair usually provided for him by his pack, he can single-handedly keep opposition teams penned in with his immaculate kicking game, or construct a path forward for his own team by intricately linking his forwards and backs. He rarely makes any sort of mistake and is a constant thorn in opposition teams, almost unplayable at times. South Africa’s World Cup triumph in 2007 was largely of Du Preez’s making.

    Age: 28

    International caps: 56

    Tries: 13 

2. Will Genia

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    Will Genia
    Will GeniaMichael Steele/Getty Images

    The Antipodean, fondly known as George Gregan Junior, has had a huge impact on the Australian team already. He is fantastically strong and powerful and has a superb ability at breaking the first line of defence. Having captained the Queensland Reds in 2010, at only 21 years of age, he is a certain Wallaby skipper of the future. If Genia maintains his form he might even surpass his great predecessor’s number of International caps.

    Age: 22

    International caps: 20

    Tries: 4 

3. Mike Phillips

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    Mike Phillips
    Mike PhillipsSandra Mu/Getty Images

    Phillips stands apart from every other scrum-half in world rugby due to the physical threat he poses the opposition. He possesses a physique more akin to that of a back-row and he plays like one as well. He is a ferocious tackler and strong ball carrier, able to cause havoc around the fringes of the breakdown. His performances for the Lions against South Africa were superb and had his Welsh colleague Jamie Roberts not been in such scintillating form, Phillips would have surely won the Man of the Series award.

    Age: 28

    International caps: 45 (Including 3 for the British and Irish Lions)

    Tries: 5 (Including 1 for the British and Irish Lions) 

4. Ben Youngs

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    Ben Youngs
    Ben YoungsScott Heavey/Getty Images

    Youngs burst onto the scene with a fantastic solo try against Australia last Summer and has gone from strength to strength ever since. He possesses immense pace and few can read the game like him. He is constantly on the look-out for opportunities to up the pace of the game and is not afraid to run the ball from anywhere. He has got bags of potential and, injury-permitting, should be a constant feature of the English team for years to come.

     Age: 21

    International caps: 7

    Tries: 1

5. Mike Blair

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    Mike Blair
    Mike BlairDavid Rogers/Getty Images

    Scotland in fact possess two very accomplished scrum-halves in Blair and Chris Cusiter, both of whom captain the side on their inclusion. They both deserve immense credit for their tireless work ethic in a Scottish side usually on the back foot. However, I feel that Blair just merits his place in this list over his counterpart for his organisational skills. Although Cusiter poses more of an attacking threat, the Scottish engine seems to function better with Blair at the helm.

     Age: 29

    International caps: 65

    Tries: 5