The ultimate multi-sports genius. Fry captained England at cricket, played 26 Tests and scored nearly 31,000 first-class runs. He also set the world long jump record, played football for England and rugby for Oxford University, Blackheath and the Barbarians. He even nearly reputedly became King of Albania. Hardly surprising then that even in his seventies he was still able to perform his party piece: jumping backwards onto a mantelpiece from a standing position
Widely recognised as one of New Zealand’s greatest ever batsmen even if War and his country’s fledgling status restricted him to just seven Tests. His one appearance at fly half for England though resulted in a resounding and then record win for Ireland at Lansdowne Road.
The incongruously named Hornby, who was known as Monkey because of his small stature and energetic persona, was one of only two men to captain England at both cricket and rugby as well as being Lancashire’s skipper for 20 years. He led England to defeat at the Oval in 1882, about which the famous Sporting Life obituary was penned and the Ashes born.
The other man to captain England at both sports was the leading centre of his era and led England on two Ashes expeditions Down Under despite not taking up cricket seriously until he was 22. Beset with health and financial problems, he took his own life at the age of 52.
Over 75 years before South African born Kevin Pietersen made his Test debut for England, Owen-Smith arguably went one better when having already scored a hundred for his country against England at Headingley in 1929, he turned out for and eventually captained England’s rugby side as an attacking full-back just one year later. A leg-spinner, his maiden first-class wicket was none other than the great Wally Hammond.
Representing South Africa at cricket and England at rugby is one thing, but playing Test cricket for BOTH Australia and England as Sydney born Woods did is quite another. A tremendously fast and strong wing-forward, he was also capped 13 times for England at rugby.
The hero of England’s last-gasp win over Australia in the 1995 World Cup Quarter Final was also a very good cricketer, captaining Cambridge University and scoring a first-class ton against Notts. He also snared a young Mike Atherton with his off-spin whilst turning out for Yorkshire seconds.
Rudi van Vuuren
The only man to represent his country at the cricket AND rugby world cups and he did it in the same year too – 2003, starring in the former with five for 43 for Namibia against England and making a late cameo in the rugby world cup against Romania. It wasn’t all good for van Vuuren though with Darren Lehmann taking 28 runs off one of his overs.
The legendary full back scored 44 tries in his 60 Tests, but this Double All Black’s international rugby career was also sandwiched by four one day internationals for the Kiwis as a precocious 19 year old and two more 12 years later.
Long-serving Glamorgan captain Turnbull, not only played Test cricket for England and rugby for Wales, he also represented Wales at hockey too. Sadly, his youthful vigour was snuffed out by a German sniper in Normandy in 1944.
The Leicester full back was an unlikely hero of the young Reverse Sweep, with Hare’s trusty boot helping England to the Grand Slam in 1980. His cricket career was less successful however, with only a modest 171 runs at 12.21 from his ten games for Notts.
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