Brothers in Rugby – 5 Families With Very Talented Sporting Siblings

Mallorie Ronan

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The 2015 RBS 6 Nations is in full swing and that means two things; 1) I’m a very happy lady and 2) It is about time I put up some sort of rugby post. I’m surprised I have resisted for this long to be honest.

Ireland v France, ^ Nations, Aviva Stadium. Photo Credit: Mallorie Ronan
Ireland v France, 6 Nations, Aviva Stadium. Photo Credit: Mallorie Ronan

Just to mix things up a bit I will stay away from the usual preview stuff about upcoming matches this weekend or my predictions based more than likely on nothing except my very biased opinion and instead turn your attention to what I can only imagine would have any parent bursting with pride, not to mention keeping the rugger huggers happy; Brothers in rugby.

Sibling rivalry has long played a part in almost every sport, giving bragging rights to the winner and the burden of being the butt of endless jokes to the loser. Rugby is no different and has a tradition of brothers representing the same team at both club and international level, and what better time to look at brothers who have played together on the rugby pitch than midway through this year’s tournament.

Below is a list of my 5 favourite sets of brothers who play or have played together for their country over the years.

1. The Kearney brothers (Ireland)

Rob Kearney - Photo Credit - M+MD (flickr)
Rob Kearney – Photo Credit – M+MD (flickr)

Rob and Dave Kearney. Aside from being blessed with dashing good looks, they have proved plenty of times they are more than just two pretty faces. Rob, the elder of the Louth lads joined Leinster in 2005 and currently has 161 caps for the province along with 3 Heineken cup medals and 2 British and Irish Lions tours under his belt. He has 59 Irish senior caps and has scored 52 points for his country. Younger brother, Dave, has 79 Leinster caps following his debut in the 2009 season. He has 7 caps for the Irish senior side and was only one of 3 players, along with his brother Rob to play the full 80 minutes in every game of the 2014 6 Nations Championship when Ireland won their 12th Championship title.

2.  The Youngs brothers (England)

Ben Youngs clearing out a ruck -Photo Credit - Vincent Cornelius (flickr)
Ben Youngs clearing out a ruck – Photo Credit – Vincent Cornelius (flickr)

Tom, the older of the two brothers plays as hooker for both Leicester tigers and England alongside his younger brother, scrum-half Ben. Both brothers were part of the winning Lions squad in 2013, however only Ben was capped (2) on the tour. Both are currently part of this year’s 6 Nations squad with Ben being the number 1 choice scrum-half.

3. The Armitage brothers (England)

Delon Armitage ready to run - Photo Credit - Mark Turner (flickr)
Delon Armitage ready to run – Photo Credit – Mark Turner (flickr)
Steffon Armitage - Photo Credit - cormac70 (flickr)
Steffon Armitage – Photo Credit – cormac70 (flickr)

Delon and Steffon Armitage, born in Trinidad and Tobago, are the two most notable out of four rugby playing brothers. Both play for RC Toulon and England with Delon usually taking his place at full back or on the wing and younger brother Steffon at no. 8. Delon also represented France at under-16 level but they said he was too tall and skinny so he returned to England where he received 26 caps between 2008 and 2012. In 2010 the youngest Armitage, Guy became the third Armitage brother to play for Aviva Premiership side London Irish when he made his debut against Sale Sharks and although his two older brothers have moved to France he has remained at Irish except for some loan spells to London welsh and Toulon. That’s one talented family.

4. The Gray brothers

Richie Gray - Photo Credit - M+MD (flickr)
Richie Gray – Photo Credit – M+MD (flickr)

Richie and Jonny Gray are both young at 25 and 20 respectively but between them they already have an impressive 64 caps for Scotland. The elder of the two, Richie plays for Castres Olympique and is probably most recognised for his peroxide blond hair (look at that mop of hair he has) and his height, standing at 6ft 10in. Richie was also part of the 2013 winning Lions team. Jonny, the baby of the two, plays his club rugby for Glasgow Warriors and after captaining the Scottish under-20’s in their 2012/2013 season he was given a 3 year contract and forced his way into the 2015 senior squad.

 5.  The Wallace brothers (Ireland)

David Wallace - Photo Credit - Rugby Connacht (flickr)
David Wallace – Photo Credit – Rugby Connacht (flickr)

 

Lest we forget, the wonderful trio of sporting brothers that are Richard, Paul and David Wallace (eldest to youngest) who are perhaps the most accomplished of brothers to have lined out in the rugby green of Ireland, with the Wallace debut coming in the form of winger Richard in 1991. He earned 29 caps for his country and also played alongside his brother David at Saracens before his retirement. Paul, the middle brother, once regarded as the world’s best tight-head prop, earned 45 Irish caps during the seven years he played for his country. Last, but certainly not least, David earned his first of 72 Irish caps when he lined out against Argentina in 2000 on the back of an impressive Heineken Cup campaign for Munster. Thanks to his ball carrying ability he was seen as one of the top back rows in Europe, not to mention a gent off the pitch.

Fun fact: All 3 Wallace brothers made it into the Guinness World Records for being the only three members of one family to play for the British and Irish Lions.

On that gem of knowledge I have come to the end of this article. I know I haven’t included a number of brothers who play rugby together, just my favourites. Let me know your favourite brotherly duos, trios or even quartets in the comments below.

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Mallorie Ronan

  • Dai

    Ella brothers, Mark, Gary & Glen who all played for the Aussies.
    Milne brothers, Iain, Kenny & nDavid who represented Scotland
    Tuilagi brothers, 5 for Samoa and 1 for England, Freddie, Henry, Anitelea, Alesanna, Vavae and Manu
    Quinnell brothers, Scott & Craig supplemented by father Derek and Uncle Barry John and, of course his brother Clive who toured Argentina with Wales