10 Players To Watch At The Rugby World Cup 2015
It has been six years since England was chosen to host the rugby world cup, the biggest event rugby union has to offer. The six year wait is over and the rugby world cup is in full swing, rugby union fans from all over the world have come together to support the mighty sport!
We’ve put together a list of 10 players who will undoubtedly be on your radar during this year’s Rugby World Cup and if they are not, they definitely should be!
Louis Picamoles – France
Position: Number 8
After being left out of head coach, Phillipe Saint-Andre team in 2014 Picamoles is back in the French back-row and seemingly on great form, the same form that had led many to name him the best number 8 in the world!
Tim Nanai-Williams – Samoa
Position: Utility Back
Despite Williams only playing 8 Super Rugby matches last season, he still managed a respectable 18 clean breaks. Williams, the cousin of New Zealand’s Sonny Bill, boasts great attacking talents that will be of huge importance to his country’s chances of getting past the group stages.
Jacques Burger – Namibia
Leading a side that features several young and inexperienced players will be no problem for Namibia’s captain Jacques Burger. His 5 years at Saracens Burger has earned himself a reputation as one of the most powerful tacklers in the Premiership and a master of seizing possession in rucks.
Josh Strauss – Scotland
Position: Back Row
Over the last 3 years Strauss has excelled in the back-row for Glasgow Warriors and played a vital part in the club’s incredible Pro12 victory last season. Scotland’s controversial selection of Strauss and other overseas players has aided some discussion about the merit of the residency rule but there is no doubt about Strauss’ ability within the back row.
Jesse Kriel – South Africa
Position: Utility Back
After Kriel’s remarkable debut for South Africa in their opening game of this year’s Rugby Championship against Australia. One of Kriel’s best attributes is his pace, but his impressive ball in hand skills and versatility should see Kriel getting plenty of game-time.
Fumiaki Tanaka – Japan
Tanaka is not only the first Japanese player to play for the mighty Barbarians for nearly 20 years he is also the first Japanese player to play in and win a Super Rugby title. Some pretty impressive statistics! Tanaka is not afraid to get stuck in, he is willing to tackle low, and hard, when needed coupled with his ability to zip the ball makes him an obvious choice for the Highlanders scrum-half.
Leone Nakarawa – Fiji
After quitting his job in the army is order to represent his country in the last World Cup Nakarawa is set to make a big impressing throughout this year’s World Cup. The 6ft6 lock played a major part in the Glasgow Warriors’ Pro12 triumph and collected the man of the match award in the final.
David Pocock – Australia
Pocock is showing promising signs of returning to his former glory, having undergone reconstructive knee surgery in 2013 and 2014 Pocock showed only a few ill-effects during this season and goes into the World Cup looking dynamic as ever .
Sam Burgess – England
Position: Inside Centre
The controversial choice from England’s Head Coach Stuart Lancaster, Burgess has been selected to play as a centre this has raised doubt with the likes of Brian O’Driscol and Chris Ashton due to Burgess playing mostly in the back row. Burgess’ strength and skill in the tackle was noted during warm-ups.
Nehe Milner-Skudder – New Zealand
Skudder received a phone call from the All Blacks’ team manager who let him know that he had been selected to represent New Zealand in the World Cup. It apparently came as a shock to Skudder but for everyone who watched him in action for the Hurricanes knew it was coming.