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Ranking Ireland's 7 Best Scrumcap-Wearing Mavericks

Ranking Ireland's 7 Best Scrumcap-Wearing Mavericks
By Jeremy Fullam
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In rugby there are two types of players, those who wear scrumcaps and those who don't.

The majority of players decide against wearing the headgear, citing it as too uncomfortable or perhaps even distracting during a game. Players who choose to don the padded helmets usually achieve cult status, they stick out like a sore thumb on the pitch, and are respected for acknowledging their own health and safety.

Over the years Ireland has had many scrum cap heroes, ranging from a mixture of curios trialists to veteran stalwarts who were willing to put their appearance to one side in favour of their headgear.

We've franked the seven best scrumcap mavericks who've worn the green jersey over the years.

7. Brian O'Driscoll

Back before he bossed the number 13 jersey for Ireland Brian O'Driscoll used to strut his stuff for UCD. His coaches there convinced him to swap outhalf for outside centre and it's fair to say their advice has been justified.

Perhaps concerned with the increased physicality of his new role, O'Driscoll made the right decision to don a scrumcap. It clearly worked for him as got through his college days unscathed and went on to be arguably Ireland's greatest ever sportsman, however would he still be playing today if he'd stuck with it throughout his career?


6.Isaac Boss

New Zealand born Boss makes it onto the list by virtue of being the only scrum half I can possibly think of to wear a scrumcap.

Playing at scrum half gives you ample protection from your forwards and limits your chance of hard contact, making the protective headwear less necessary than other positions.


Boss has become well known over the years for his cameo appearances off the bench and he's always easy to spot with his trusty Canterbury scrumcap.

5.Sean O'Brien

I cannot think of another Irish player who needs to be wearing a scrumcap more than Sean O'Brien.


The Tullow Tank is famous for his powerful runs and all round physicality. Already an icon for his style of play, his decision to don the scrumcap puts him amongst the elite of Ireland's scrumcap mavericks.

The openside would feature higher on the list only for the fact that he sometimes has a tendency to ditch his headgear mid game.

4.Stephen Ferris


Oh how I miss Stephen Ferris, the Ulsterman openly admitted that he liked to inflict pain on his opponents and Paul O'Connell once sad that he'd never seen someone hit people as hard as Ferris did.

Ferris' decision to don the scrumcap made him appear as someone who was conscious about his physical well being and the well being of others, when in actual fact it was the perfect guise for him to inflict maximum damage on opponents.

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3. Mike Ross

The veteran prop has been a stalwart in the front row for Ireland since making his début in 2009, and he's rarely seen without his trusty black scrumcap.

Ross' decision to stick by his scrumcap through years of sweaty scrums has paid off as his ears have remained completely cauliflower free.


This is mainly down to the protection he's been receiving from the headwear as so many front row forwards end up with swollen ears.

2.Rory Best

One of Ireland's top performers at the World Cup and an icon of the green jersey.

I've lost count of the amount of times over the years we've won a penalty at the breakdown only for Best's glistening white scrumcap to emerge from the bottom of the ruck.

The Ulster captain has stood by his trusty white helmet over the years refusing to switch to a more colour coordinated option on the international stage. It clearly brings him good luck and I for one hope he never takes it off so I can spot him at all times.

1.David Humphreys

No man has done more for the scrumcap cause in Ireland than Ulster's rugby style icon, David Humphreys.

Some gave it a try and ditched it, some ditched it mid-match but David Humphreys stood by his honeycomb scrumcap from his first game to his last.

He famously only removed it for kicks prompting me to believe he wore it in both bed and the shower, and it was a strange sight seeing him without it.

His dedication to the scrumcap was made even better by the fact that he played as a flyhalf and he could've so easily ditched it when the going got tough in an attempt to try something different. But he always remained faithful to the headgear and he rightly deserves his place as Ireland's number one scrumcap maverick.

Honorable mention: Tyrone Howe. He may have only played 14 times for Ireland but we'll never forget his scrum cap exploits on the wing.

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