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The biggest rugby players ever – literally

While rugby doesn’t have the following of football, for example – both sports that are called this, on both sides of the Atlantic, routinely steal the show – it would be a mistake to think rugby doesn’t have its share of legends.

On the contrary – the long history of the sport is filled with amazing players with amazing records. You can read more about them in this list with 5 of the greatest rugby players ever. But let’s set performance aside for a while, and focus on something else that gives the attributive “biggest” for a player: height.

Who are the tallest rugby players in the world? Find out below.


5. Richie Gray (207cm)

The only British & Irish Lion to feature on this list, Gray has been one of the tallest locks in northern hemisphere rugby this decade after breaking through at Glasgow Warriors. After making his debut in 2008 for the Scotstoun outfit, Gray went on to become a key first-team regular during the 2010/11 season when he was named in the Celtic League (PRO12) Team of the Year in an otherwise fruitless season for Glasgow.

Moves to Sale Sharks, Castres and Toulouse have followed to see Gray feature on the international scene alongside his younger brother Jonny – who doesn’t quite measure up to his brother being 9cm shorter than his older sibling.

4. Rory Arnold (208cm)

John Eales, Nathan Sharpe, Rob Simmons. Australia tend to encourage height as much as mobility when it comes to their second row, but the three players listed don’t quite reach the heights of Arnold despite topping over 200cm.

Arnold was a recent addition to the Wallabies fold when he featured against England in Eddie Jones’ first overseas summer tour back in 2016. The Brumbies lock has since gone on to make a total of 15 appearances under Michael Cheika in the Green and Gold.

3. Luke Charteris (209cm)

The Wales team-mate Shane Williams rarely liked standing next to. Charteris’ huge engine has seen his international career amass 74 Test caps and counting since his debut in South Africa back in 2004.

Often a partner in the second row alongside Alun Wyn Jones, Charteris has had to contend with competition from fellow veteran lock Bradley Davies, Ian Evans, and, in the present, from Cory Hill’s emergence. The 34-year-old was part of the squad that landed Wales their most recent Six Nations Grand Slam back in 2012.

Making close to 150 appearances for the Dragons, Charteris’ career has taken his to France with Perpignan and Racing 92 to his current stable block at Bath in the Premiership.


2. Devin Toner (210cm)

The tallest player currently playing and one who Ireland coach Joe Schmidt relied on to ease the burden of Paul O’Connell’s retirement from international rugby. 6’10” Toner has been a consistent performer for Ireland and for Leinster over the span of his career and will pursue a Six Nations title with his country knowing a Champions Cup quarter-final awaits when he returns from duty.



1. Richie Metcalfe (213cm)

The only player on this list to be 7’0″ or taller, Scotland’s Richie Metcalfe really was a giant of rugby and will be familiar to supporters of Newcastle Falcons and Northampton Saints.

The Leeds-born lock played 13 times for Scotland and is not only known for being rugby’s tallest player but also the player who was dropped to the replacements bench for Northampton’s victorious Heineken Cup final win in 2000.


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