No player will want to be a part of this team because we’ve put together a side of individuals who have received at least one of the 147 red cards handed out in the history of Test rugby.
This writer has put together a team featuring some of the most unusual, intriguing or just unpleasant stories from rugby’s elaborate history that warranted the ultimate sanction on the rugby field.
In case you were wondering why CJ Stander is not here, in total 47 players have been red carded and still won the match, whereas 100 players been red carded and lost the match.
The ‘Seeing Red’ XV
15) Andre Stoop
Hardly a household name, but Namibia’s Stoop makes the list because he is the first known fullback to have received a red card in 1990. Only seven fullbacks have received red, including Stuart Hogg in 2014 and Percy Montgomery back in 2005.
14) Drew Mitchell
Drew Mitchell makes the list because he is only one of ten players to have received a red card against the All Blacks – back in 2010 in Melbourne. Other names include Jamie Heaslip, Danny Grewcock, Simon Shaw and Andre Venter. However, Mitchell is also only one of six players to have scored a try and been red carded in the same match.
13) Brendan Venter
Newly-appointed London Irish technical director Venter is one of eight Springboks to have been red carded. He was given the sanction against minnows Uruguay in the 1999 Rugby World Cup, making Venter one of only 17 players to have received a red card during a World Cup.
12) Philippe Sella
Sella is the only ever French centre to be red carded, but one of eleven French players to be sent off. He saw red against Canada in 1994, the only time Les Bleus have lost to the North American nation. It’s a nasty blot on a majestic career for the Frenchman.
11) Alesana Tuilagi
Samoa’s gigantic winger is one of only two players to have been red carded twice in international rugby: one against England in 2005 and the other against South Africa in 2013. The other player to have received two red cards is the USA’s Paul Emerick.
10) Gareth Rees
Canada’s Gareth Rees received a red card during Canada’s 20 – 0 Rugby World Cup loss to South Africa. He is only one of four fly-halves to have ever been red carded, but also was sent off with two other players in the same game: team-mate Rod Snow and South Africa’s James Dalton.
9) Freddie Muller
Tonga’s Muller is the first ever scrum-half to be sent off in international rugby, back in 1967.
8) Abdelatif Benazzi
French number eight Benazzi is infamous for being one of the few players to have received a red card on his debut against Australia in 1990.
7) Lewis Moody
Former England back rower Moody is one of the few players to have been involved in a double red carding incident. Moody reacted after winger Mark Cueto was taken out in the air by a completely ludicrous and dangerous tackle from Alesana Tuilagi. Both players were sent off.
6) Ted Greatorex
Australian Edward Neville Greatorex might well just be the first player to have received a red card in Test rugby. He was sent off in 1923 against a New Zealand XV in Wellington. Although the Kiwis were not awarded caps, the Australians did so. However, for those pedants who would rather it was two capped teams playing, New Zealand’s Cyril Brownlie was sent off against England in 1925.
5) Marco Bortolami
Italy’s Bortolami is only one of seven captains to have ever been red carded, which includes Gareth Rees. Perhaps the most memorable incident of this kind in recent years is that of Wales v France in the 2011 World Cup semi-final, where Sam Warburton was sent off.
4) Colin Meads
Legendary All Black Colin Meads was red carded against Scotland back in 1967, only the second All Black to have seen red in the country’s history.
3) Rod Snow
Like Gareth Rees, Rod Snow was one of three players to be sent on in the same game in 1994 but this was also one of the few times in Test rugby when a team has lost two players to red cards.
2) Federico Mendez
Well, if you were unaware of this rather nasty incident from rugby’s history then you’re in for a shock. Argentina’s Mendez was sent off in only his second Test for his country. Jason Leonard claimed in his autobiography that there was perhaps rather a sensitive reason why the Argentinian player reacted so aggressively.
1) Michele Rizzo
Italy’s Rizzo is only one of 13 players to be a replacement and be red carded. Like Moody and Tuilagi, he was involved in a double red carding with France’s Rabah Slimani back in 2014.
Paul Wassell, Pundit Arena