Brock James: The greatest foreign player in TOP 14 history?
The TOP 14 will return without Brock James for the first time in 14 years. The Aussie fly-half was denied a fairytale farewell by COVID-19 but he will go down in history as a legend. Will he be remembered as the best foreign import to ever play in the TOP 14?
Let’s look at some numbers. In 307 league appearances, Brock James notched a whopping 2,494 points. He ranks third on the list of all-time top scorers and is the only foreign player in the top ten. He averaged more than 8 points per game despite having to appear as a substitute on 74 occasions. He also shared kicking responsibilities with Morgan Parra for seven of his ten years at Clermont.
Brock’s best points total for one season came in his first campaign. In fact, his 377 points in 2006/07 are the most by any player in any TOP 14 season ever. He was also the league’s top points scorer in the following two seasons. Between 4th January - 28th March 2009, he scored a record 41 consecutive place kicks without missing.
There’s no doubting his individual kicking ability but what about his team performances? Brock collected an agonizing four TOP 14 runners-up medals in ten seasons at Clermont. He was deservedly a champion in 2009/10. He also won the 2007 European Challenge Cup and was twice a runner-up in the Champions Cup.
Brock James is not a global superstar like Jonny Wilkinson or Dan Carter. Nor is his trophy cabinet as full. In the world of TOP 14 rugby, though, he is just as significant. Unmatched for longevity. Unrivaled for consistency. He is a worthy contender for the title of best foreign import.
Brock will spend the 2020/21 season coaching the Ospreys in the PRO14.