Updated: Mar 29, 2021
It's an adage as old as time itself that diving is left to nancy ball whilst Rugby is a sport played by surprisingly eloquent, yet snub nosed thugs. It's a boring phrase which, to be honest, has become less relevant over the last decade due to the folks we are including on this very list! To my surprise, this list isn't COMPLETELY made up of Frenchmen, but there is a rather blue tinge prominent throughout. Let's dive into it...
5. Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs/Scotland)
We know Hoggy has had a couple of howlers when it comes to late challenges; unfortunately being one of the best players in your sides history gets you targeted a lot. He also suffered a horrific injury on the Lions tour after running into his own mans elbow... That injury made his face swell up like he'd been stung by a nest of hornets. However, he does also fancy himself somewhat of a ballerina it would seem, throwing himself into players who are tracking back to feign a penalty. Unlike a Liam Williams, a Rob Kearney or even a Dan Robson most recently, he often overdoes the theatricality to the extent that not even the officials will give him a second look. Look back to the South Africa vs Scotland game a couple years back when he flung himself into the 'Beast' just to be laughed off by players and fans around him... He even got a right telling off by our Nigel.
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4. Bryan Habana (Retired)
Put down your pitchforks and use your inside voices! Bryan Habana is one of the all time greatest wingers to ever grace the sport; perhaps the most gifted finisher in Rugby history and a real superstar of his time. However, he loved a good dive. It usually came from the same set play wherein Habana would hoof the ball upfield, as he knew he could gas anyone on the outside, and barrel his way into the slowest, dopiest forward tracking back.. Then there would be fireworks! He'd throw himself up in the air, acting as if he'd just been clotheslined from the biggest WWF villain, in hopes of winning a penalty for his side. A great example of this was for Toulon against Saracens in the Champions Cup where he ran into 'No-Arms Magee' Owen Farrell and threw his legs up in the air to win a penalty with one of the worst dives in European history.
3. Johnny Sexton (Leinster/Ireland)
Sure the last two have some pretty woeful examples of diving throughout their illustrious careers, but at this point we have to dial the diving up to 11 to see some consistent cases of terrible diving. Jonathan Sex'Robot, as Squidge Rugby lovingly refers to him, is a serial diving offender with notable instances against Scotland, England and Wales throughout the last few years. We know he has a terrible injury record and ever so rarely lasts 60 minutes, let alone the full 80, but you'd think every time he was tackled that he'd been hit by a 2 tonne bus. He has a habit, a rumoured habit we should state that we couldn't possibly agree with or deny, of coming off early by feigning an injury when his team have downed tools and he doesn't see a route to victory. He's done this in the ANC, the Six Nations and the World Cup previously. He also was cleared out by Scotsman, admittedly illegally, a couple years back and put in one of the acting performances of the decade. Tom Daley tier no doubt...
2. Morgan Parra (Clermont/France)
Parra is a notorious s***house in both attack and defence. Whether it's whining at the referee, winding up his opposite number or retaliating during little disputes unnecessarily, Morgan Parra has done it all. He's also a grade A diver. He's from the Habana and Hoggy school of 'throwing yourself at a big forward and hoping for the best' after he hoofs the ball. The problem with Parra however, is being a Scrum Half he's always box kicking and he looks for it after EVERY box kick. He's another one that's felt Farrell's wrath when they clashed a couple years back; Farrell shouldn't have dropped his shoulder but Parra made a five course meal with after eights out of it.
1. Yoann Huget (Toulouse/France)
To commemorate his retirement, we created this list in his honour. It's popular to hate Huget for his blatant s***housery but the Rugby purist in me can't help but love him. He's one of the most creative, multi-skilled but bewildering players I've seen in my lifetime. He had the power to turn a game on it's head in either teams favour... Capable of brilliance and utter stupidity game after game. However, we are here to talk about Huget's diving and he is by far the best to ever do it. Whether it was from kick chases, tackles that were a fraction out of time, or flailing around in rucks he shouldn't be involved in, Huget was the crème de la crème of fakers. He had each performance down to a tee, from stopping in his track, throwing a quick glance to the official, holding his face and falling backwards with not one, but two rolls. *Chefs kiss* it was beautiful.
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