The greatest sledges in sport as Welsh rugby legend Mike Phillips reveals brilliant Bakkies Botha taunt – Wales Online

When it comes to sledging in sport, cricket tends to be king.

Watching West Indian tailender Tino Best, not the best of bats, struggle against Ashley Giles, Andrew Flintoff shouted from slip ‘MInd the windows Tino’.

The inevitable happened. Best raced down the wicket to try to hit Giles out of the ground, missed the ball and was stumped by a mile!

Cue hilarity from Flintoff and the England close to the wicket fielders.

Rugby has had its moments, mind.

The great Mike Phillips recalled in an in-depth interview with WalesOnline the time when giant Springbok lock Bakkies Botha denied him a Lions try by knocking the ball out of his hands at the last second.

“I’m gutted now and I look up and he’s standing there smiling at me with all his mates, who were all about 7ft tall,” recalled Phillips.

“I’m thinking I can’t let him just smile at me, so I made some comment about them all being on steroids.

“At this point, I’m expecting a punch in the face or at least a push of some sort. But, in his thick accent, he’s come back with: ‘Oh, you have sexy blue eyes’.

“I was so confused. Fair play to him, I didn’t have any comeback for that.”

The aren’t many times Mike Phillips was speechless on a rugby pitch, but that was one of them.

We take a look at other rugby sledges and some classics from other sporting fields.

George Gregan (v New Zealand, 2003 Rugby World Cup semi-final)

One of rugby’s greatest players managed to get right under the skin of Australia’s big southern hemisphere rivals in their 22-10 win over the All Blacks in Sydney.

In the closing stages and with a Wallabies final ticket in the bag, he taunted the Kiwis by saying: “Four more years.”

It was a comment that won’t have been received well by the New Zealand players as they saw yet another World Cup dream fall.

George Gregan

Austin Healey (Shane Williams, England v Wales, 2000 Six Nations)

Shane Williams may have gone on to become Wales’ record try scorer, but he was left ‘mentally broken’ just three games into his international career by England’s Healey.

After making his Six Nations bow against France, wing wizard Shane found himself heading off to Twickenham for a date with an England side parading the likes of Lawrence Dallaglio, Jonny Wilkinson, Richard Hill and Jason Leonard.

But it was Healey who left a lasting impression that day after the two lined up on opposing wings.

‘Come on Williams, I thought you had gas. You’re much slower than I thought you’d be’, is Shane’s recollection of what Healey taunted.

England’s Austin Healey taunted Shane Williams

“By the end, I was looking at the touchline thinking ‘I’ve had enough now, he’s absolutely broken me,” admits Shane.

“He’s like that – he’s still chopsy. But it’s banter and that’s how it goes.”

Muhammad Ali ( v George Foreman)

The sporting legend was as quick with his mouth as he was with his footwork during a golden era for heavyweight boxing.

He was a grand master in the art of sledging and had a tremendous ability to beat his opponents before they even stepped foot inside the ring.

“I’ve seen George Foreman shadow boxing and the shadow won,” he once taunted Foreman with.

Rivalry and respect: Joe Frazier, George Foreman and Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali (v Joe Frazier)

Before one of the famous bouts with his nemesis, Ali said: “Joe Frazier is so ugly that when he cries, the tears turn around and go down the back of his head.”

Eddo Brandes (to Glenn McGrath)

The Aussie bowler said to the Zimbabwean batsman: “Oi, Brandes, why are you so fat?”, to which the Zimbabwean replied “because every time I sleep with your wife she gives me a biscuit.”

Daryll Cullinan (to Shane Warne)

Warne loved nothing better than getting the upperhand on his rivals through verbals, as much as he did with his mesmeric leg-spinners.

The Aussie had the measure of South African batsman Cullinan at cricket, but not when it came to sledging.

After a gap in their rivalry, Warne greeted Cullinan by saying: “I’ve been waiting two years for another chance at you”.

Cullinan replied: “Looks like you spent it eating.”

Sir Viv Richards (to Greg Thomas)

“It’s red, it’s round and it’s fast,” the England fast bowler is said to have taunted Viv Richards as the legendary West Indian struggled for a change to put bat on ball during a Somerset v Glamorgan match in Taunton.

His Glamorgan team-mates were said to have sighed – and the inevitable happened.

Richards smashed the next delivery out of the ground and into the nearby river.

“You know what it looks like, you go and fetch it,” he retorted.

Ouch. Even beats Bakkies Botha, that one.

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