Only a select few players have managed to transcend rugby and find success in both codes of the game. Below are seven of the most talented and successful players to achieve this feat.
LEAGUE TO UNION –
JASON ROBINSON – ‘Billy Whiz’ scored 137 tries in 8 years for Wigan Warriors RLFC before making the switch to union. He settled quickly into the new code for both Sale Sharks, England and the British Lions. Winning the World Cup and the Premiership in a ten year spell.
CHRIS ASHTON – Another convert from Wigan Warriors. He scored 30 tries in 52 games before switching codes and moving to Northampton. He found his feet straight away and has scored 78 tries in 81 games for the Saints as well as making a big splash on the international scene. He currently has 9 tries in 9 games for England and is revolutionising wing play in Union.
SONNY BILL WILLIAMS – In 2010 the New Zealand centre became only the second player to play for both the New Zealand Kiwis and the All Blacks. Sonny Bill turned down the largest ever contract offer ($6 million) for a rugby union player in order to play for New Zealand. He is also an undefeated heavyweight boxer.
UNION TO LEAGUE
JONATHAN DAVIES – A Welsh fly half who picked up 27 caps for the Welsh Rugby Union side and 19 for the Welsh and Great British RUgby league sides. Even winning the RFL’s Man of Steel Award, for the 93-94 player of the season.
SCOTT GIBBS – Another Welsh convert, who played in the centre for Wales and the British Lions in union, as well as Wales and Great Britain in league. he’s best remembered for winning the ‘player of the series’ in the memorable 1997 Lions tour of South Africa.
GARETH THOMAS – A Welsh phenomena. He picked up 100 caps for the Welsh Rugby Union team before converting to league in 2010. Despite being 36 he is still making an impact in league and has picked up 4 caps, scoring 3 tries for the Welsh Rugby League team.
DALLY MESSENGER – The first and arguably the greatest cross code player of all time. Messenger was the first ever player to play both rugby league and rugby union at an international level, and is still considered as one of the greatest players in both codes. On top of his success in both forms of rugby while touring England with the ‘Kangaroos’ in 1908 he was offered football contracts by Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspurs. Only to turn them down, dismissing football as decadent.