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Most premiership rugby appearances of all time

By Jack Tunney
Saracens' Richard Wigglesworth watches a scrum during the Champions Cup match against Cardiff Blues in December 2018 (Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images)

With the English premiership now over 25 years old, we take a look at the most experienced players to have ever played in the league.


With improved sports nutrition and a greater emphasis on player safety, professionals are continuing TO play on their careers longer.

Here we have the top ten most caps in the history of the English premiership.

10) Alex Waller – 243

Exeter Baxter mind games
(Photo by Ashley Western/PA Images via Getty Images)

A mainstay in the Northampton Saints first team ever since his debut against The Ospreys in 2009, Waller is a powerful Loosehead Prop capable of standing up to any opposition that comes his way.

Waller is most famously known for his match-winning, extra-time try in the Saints first-ever premiership final win in 2014.

He has two England Saxons caps, and despite having never achieved a full international cap he has appeared in uncapped matches against both the Crusaders in the summer of 2014, and the Barbarians in 2015.

9) Hugh Vyvyan – 245

LONDON, ENGLAND – MAY 28: Hugh Vyvyan of Saracens lifts the trophy after the AVIVA Premiership Final between Leicester Tigers and Saracens at Twickenham Stadium on May 28, 2011 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)

A member of the English Premiership Rugby Hall of Fame, Vyvyan had a terrific career at both Newcastle Falcons and Saracens. In his time he predominantly played in the second row, with a 198cm (6 ft 6 in) frame he was a real weapon in the line out.


In 1993 Vyvyan made history at the Penryn Invitation Sevens tournament. As the youngest of seven brothers, Vyvyan and his siblings made up the entire team and went on to win the tournament two years in a row.

During the 2011 premiership final, the one-time England international came off the bench to become the most capped premiership player at the time.

8) Tom May – 247

BATH, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 11: Tom May of Newcastle races through to score a try during the Zurich Premiership match between Bath and Newcastle Falcons at the Recreation Ground on September 11, 2004 in Bath, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

An incredibly versatile player, May could cover most places in the backline.

He spent the majority of his time at the Newcastle Falcons, before heading over to France to join the emerging Toulon. After two years in the sunny south of France, May made the decision to move back to England, where he joined up with the likes of the previously mentioned Alex Waller at the Northampton Saints.


The two-cap international finally ended his 16-year career at London Welsh in 2015 after helping them to return to the English premiership.

7) Charlie Hodgson – 254

Charlie Hodgson Saracens
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

The record points scorer in premiership rugby history had a remarkable 16-year career which saw him achieve international honours on multiple occasions, as well as holding down the much sought-after number ten shirt for both Sale Sharks and Saracens.

Charlie Hodgson holds the record for the most amount of points scored by an English player in any test match, with a total of 44 points. This was achieved on his debut back in 2001 in their thumping of 134-0 over Romania.

The fly-half has won three premiership titles in his time, and was voted the Sale Sharks Player of the Year three consecutive times; in 2008, 2009, and 2010.

6) Mike Brown – 257

Mike Brown
Mike Brown of Harlequins looks on during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Wasps and Harlequins last year. (Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images)

He will forever be known as one of England’s greatest-ever fullbacks, Mike Brown was as solid as they come. Thought to be a very defensively-minded player, the former Salisbury youth player turned out for the national team 72 times.

It was at Harlequins that Brown spent the majority of his career, becoming a fan favourite with his passionate attitude and terrific work rate. Such was his impact at the club, one of the bars at The Stoop was renamed in Brown’s honour.

5) Danny Care – 257

Care England
(Photo by Alex Davidson/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

One of England’s greatest ever scrum halves, the electric Danny Care still to this day proves himself to be one of the very best players in the premiership.

A former Sheffield Wednesday football youth player, Care chose to focus on rugby in his mid-teens and went on to sign for Leeds in 2003. It was here that he started to truly develop his skills, before making the move over to the Twickenham-based side, Harlequins.

Since then, Care has become a stalwart at Quins. An incredibly exciting player to watch with fantastic passing and an unmatched ability to read the game, he holds a phenomenal record of tries scored and assists made over his career.

In 2022 Care was called back up to the England squad after a five-year absence. This was due to his incredible form noted by pundits, fans, and most importantly, England coach Eddie Jones.

4) Phil Dowson – 262

(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Dowson was an athletic player who turned out for Newcastle Falcons, Northampton Saints, and Worcester Warriors in his time. Predominantly used as a number 8, he could also play on the flanks when required.

The powerful back-rower was capped seven times by England and holds the joint third record for most ever premiership caps.

Since hanging up his playing boots, Dowson took on coaching roles at former club Northampton Saints. After impressing as an assistant coach, Dowson went on to prove his ability as a forwards coach, before eventually becoming the Director of Rugby for the club at the start of the 2022/23 season.

3) George Chuter – 262

LEICESTER, ENGLAND – APRIL 14: George Chuter of Leicester prepares to throw the ball during the Aviva Premiership match between Leicester Tigers and London Wasps at Welford Road on April 14, 2013 in Leicester, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Chuter started his club career at London side Saracens where he made 92 caps over a five-year period. It was only after his year-long sabbatical in 2000 that Chuter made his way back to the English premiership with the Leicester Tigers.

It was here that the Hooker played the next fourteen years of competitive rugby, winning three premiership finals and two European trophies.

Chuter appeared in the 2007 world cup final as a substitute and went on to win a total of 24 caps for England.

2) Steve Borthwick – 265

Steve Borthwick
Steve Borthwick /PA

Arguably one of the greatest rugby men of all time, Borthwick has become synonymous with the English premiership ever since its introduction.

With a career stretching over sixteen years, the giant lock played for two of England’s greatest-ever sides, Bath and Saracens.

An incredible leader on the field, Borthwick was granted the captaincy for both sides. In his final game for Bath, he led them to victory in the European Challenge Cup. In his following adventure over in London, Borthwick became an important figure as he helped Saracens to their first-ever premiership title.

Since retiring the former England international captain has taken on coaching roles with Bristol and England, before going on to become the head coach at Leicester Tigers.

1) Richard Wigglesworth – 320

Leicester Wigglesworth
Saracens’ Richard Wigglesworth watches a scrum during the Champions Cup match against Cardiff Blues in December 2018 (Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images)

Ahead by a long stretch comes legendary scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth. A career stretching over two decades is sure to come with it a whole load of appearances.

With 33 England appearances to his name, the experienced half-back is no stranger to high-level competition. With seven premiership rugby titles under his belt, Wigglesworth has always been a man for the big occasion.

Now at Leicester Tigers, the 39-year-old is up there with some of the oldest to have played the game.


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