Rugby is a very demanding sport and so it can be difficult for younger players to really make an impact. Quite often the best players in the world don’t hit their primes until they approach 30. But that does not mean that rugby has not given opportunities to young players.
Who was the youngest rugby player ever? Ninian Finlay is considered the youngest rugby player of all time. The Scottish international made his test debut at just seventeen years and thirty-six days old. However, rugby players tend to start playing from a very young age.
Despite possibly holding one of the biggest records in rugby, not a lot of people will have heard of Ninian Finlay before. He is recognised by Scottish Rugby as the youngest player to ever be capped for Scotland, having been just barely over 17 when he made his debut against England in 1875.
Finlay was so young when he made his international debut that he was still at Edinburgh Academy, still a schoolboy when he got the call to represent his country. Finlay was one of the first Scottish internationals to attend Edinburgh Academy, with Blair Kinghorn, Ross
Rennie and Mike Blair all attending the academy.
Despite making his debut at such a young age, Finlay only played for Scotland nine times, making his final appearance for his country at the age of 23. But he likely savoured his debut, playing alongside his brothers Arthur and James in the 0-0 draw against England, making his debut in the same game as brother Arthur.
Who is the youngest ever All Black?
The New Zealand international team is one of the most successful in the history of rugby. It is an honour to play for the All Blacks, so it’s no surprise that one of the most famous rugby players of all time is also the youngest All-Black ever.
Legendary All-Black Jonah Lomu is still the youngest All-Black of all time, making his international debut at 19 years and 45 days old. Lomu was seen as a rising star in rugby from a very early age thanks to appearances at sevens tournaments where he was gilding through defences while still a teenager.
An exceptional athlete in high school, Lomu made his domestic rugby debut in 1994, the same year where he was brought into the All Blacks squad. Clearly, in the team’s long-term plans, Jonah Lomu made his debut against France in 1994. He had only turned 19 in the previous month.
By making his debut at such a young age, Lomu became the youngest ever All Black, breaking the record set by Edgar Wrigley in 1905. Despite turning into one of the best rugby players of all time, Lomu did not have the best start to his international career.
His debut was part of New Zealand hosting the French touring team. The All Blacks lost 22-8 in Lomu’s debut, losing the second test 23-20. This was the first time that a northern hemisphere nation had defeated New Zealand in a tour. The French team took advantage of Lomu’s inexperience and got rewards from that.
After that tour defeat, few teams would ever go near Lomu. He developed into one of the best players in rugby history. Lomu would have likely gone on to become the All Blacks record appearance maker because of how young he was when he made his international debut. But Lomu struggled with serious kidney problems that cut his international career short.
Since making his debut for the All Blacks, no player has really come close to breaking his record. Rieko Ioane is the closest player to break his record since he became the youngest-ever All-Black. Ioane was 19 and 239 days old when he made his debut against Italy in 2016.
Who Is the youngest English Premiership rugby player of all time?
The Premiership is the perfect place for young players to get valuable experience against world-class talent. There have been a lot of young debutants in the Premier League but only one player is the youngest Premiership player of all time.
David Doherty is the youngest Premiership player of all time. Born in Leeds, Doherty initially pursued a career in rugby league before being signed by Yorkshire Carnegie in the Premiership. Part of the reason he chose to stick with union is because of the immediate opportunities he got.
Doherty made his Premiership debut at 17 years and 95 days old, becoming one of the most exciting young prospects in English Rugby. He became a regular for Leeds Tykes but moved to Wasps when the team was relegated. Sadly for Doherty, he never really lived up to the hype his initial career brought.
Despite joining Wasps while they were one of the best domestic sides in Europe, Doherty failed to establish himself there and could not resurrect his career with Sale in a subsequent spell. Doherty ended up finishing his career playing in the Championship, returning to Yorkshire Carnegie in 2012.
Youngest Welsh rugby player of all time
Wales have a long and successful history in rugby that has seen them feature countless international stars. But the man who is the youngest Welsh international of all time is not quite a Welsh legend.
Tom Prydie is the youngest Welsh international player of all time, making his international debut at just 18 years and 25 days. This came in the final game of the 2010 Six Nations when Prydie was named on the wing for a game against Italy.
He would also become Wales’s youngest try scorer at 18 years and 102 days when he scored against South Africa in the June test that Wales lost by just three points. But despite making his debut at such a young age, Prydie would only make seven appearances for his country.
His career did not live up to the hype, with Prydie dropping down to the Wales under-20 team two years after making his international debut. Despite being just 30 years old, he is currently without a team after a short stint with Bath.