The dirty dozen

Well actually, it’s ten, but you get the picture. From one-on-one cheap shots to 30-man brawls, we bring you a host of examples of the rare occasions when rugby’s physical nature gets the better of the players.

McRae’s moment of madness

This was a particularly unsavoury assault on Ronan O’Gara by former Saracens and Gloucester utility back Duncan McRae, who just seems to lose his rag during a News South Wale v Lions clash in 2001, which left O’Gara heading to the doctor’s room for a few stitches.

Johnno’s darker side

England’s talismanic skipper was nothing if not confrontational during his playing career, and often found himself in a scrap or two with the opposition, as this clip from a Leicester Saracens game shows.

Call that a punch?

England’s shellacking of South Africa and Twickenham in 2002 was noted not only for the size of the victory but also for no small amount of unsavoury behaviour from the Boks. But Robbie Fleck’s slap on Ben Cohen wasn’t exactly going to break many bones.

Krige caught in the act

In the same game the violent tone of South Africa’s performance was set by skipper Korne Krige. It’s a brave man who aims a cheap-shot elbow at Martin Johnson.

Wayne ‘lights out’ Shelford

To the 1987 World Cup and the World cup semi-final between Wales and New Zealand. Wales lock Huw Richards gets himself in to a scrap with the All Black pack but obviously didn’t account for the arrival of Buck Shelford on the scene, who turned the Welshman’s lights out with one punch.

The Battle of Boet Erasmus

South Africa courted a fair bit of controversy on their way to the 1995 World Cup final, notably for their punch-peppered clash with South Africa in the pool stages, which saw three players head for an early bath.

On 99, unleash hell

The famous Lions tour of South Africa in 1979 still stands out as a high point in the history of the touring team, and this incident in particular encapsulated the fighting togetherness the side had. When 99 was called, it was the signal for everyone to stand up and be counted.

Jersey’s heavyweight clash

Long before Matt Banahan was running amok on the wing for Bath, he was doing much the same in his native Jersey, but his temper sometimes got the better of him.

Scrum-half scrap

Number nines are seldom the source of trouble on the field, so it was somewhat surprising to see Robert Jones and Nick Farr-Jones spark this mass brawl during the 1989 Test series.

Heads I win

To an obscure field and an obscure game, and a totally uncalled for head butt that starts the trouble. No need.

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