Sam Warburton OBE
A schoolmate of Gareth Bale and Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas in Cardiff, Sam, still only 31, retired in 2018. In his own words, he ‘lived my childhood dream’ – and what a dream.
First capped by Wales in 2009, Sam, an openside flanker, earned 74 caps and captained his country a record 49 times. Under his lead, Wales won back-to-back Six Nations titles in 2012 and 2013 and claimed the Grand Slam (winning every game) in 2012. He played in the 2011 and 2015 World Cups, reaching the semi-finals in 2011.
That wasn’t all though. Sam was handed arguably the biggest accolade in northern hemisphere rugby when he was named captain of the British Lions not once, but twice – 2013 and 2017. The youngest-ever Lions captain in 2013 (aged 24), he led two unbeaten tours to Australia in 2013 and New Zealand in 2017. He was awarded an OBE in 2018.