10 All Black hard men

Wayne 'Buck' Shelford was the ultimate All Blacks hard man.
Wayne 'Buck' Shelford was the ultimate All Blacks hard man.

Sam Whitelock is growing into the role of All Black enforcer. But he wouldn't yet make a top 10 of great New Zealand enforcers.

10. Keven Mealamu
The current All Black coach was once asked who in his squad would win a cage fight - the answer was Keven Mealamu. It's true, he'd only give up when he was dead.

9. Richard Loe
The Herald on Sunday columnist was prone to playing outside the laws of the game. It worked for him in the long term. His reputation preceded him and he had opponents running scared before he'd turned up.

8. Kevin Skinner
The All Blacks needed a hard man in 1956 and they found one in Kevin Skinner - the Boks had been up to no good in the second test. In came Skinner, a top-class boxer, for the third. The nonsense ended. Series won.

7. Jerry Collins
Big Jerry's biceps had a diameter of 58cm which meant when he hit people, they stayed down. Remember Colin Charvis and Chris Jack? Collins was more of a terminator than an enforcer.

6. Brad Thorn
With forearms the size of a Christmas ham, Thorn couldn't help but terrify people. Any hint of trouble and Thorn would be on the scene before anyone could count to two. He arrived, trouble stopped - it was always that simple.

5. Keith Murdoch
Even Pinetree Meads was wary around Murdoch - that's what happens when a man allegedly pulls his car up Dunedin's steepest street...with his teeth.

4. Michael Jones
Those who ran into Michael Jones knew they had just met irresistible force. Quiet and God-fearing, he was a new breed of destroyer, inflicting his damage exclusively legally.

3. Richie McCaw
He played throughout the World Cup on a broken foot and has been subjected to a legion of cheap shots in his 116 test career and taken them all without retaliation. McCaw is a genuine hard man: an old school hard man, even.

2. Colin Meads
It wasn't just playing with the broken arm that made Meads a legendary enforcer. He had an aura - he emanated a definite vibe that suggested he should be approached with caution.

1. Buck Shelford
Shelford changed everyone's thinking about what being tough actually meant. The fact he was able to play on with badly ripped testicles says it all.

- NZ Herald

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