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Rugby World Cup ‘Ones to watch’ – Pool A

Ruck has already placed the World Cup danger men under the spotlight, now the attention turns to the lesser known players that could set the tournament alight. Mark SIglioccolo dives into Pool A to find the small fish set to make a big splash.

Ruck has already placed the World Cup danger men under the spotlight, now the attention turns to the lesser known players that could set the tournament alight. Mark SIglioccolo dives into Pool A to find the small fish set to make a big splash.

Australia: Henry Speight

With just five Australian caps to his name, Henry Speight is an unknown quantity on the international stage. The ‘flying Fijian’ has however been widely touted as one of the best wingers to ply his trade down under, and he has scored 26 tries for Super League side Brumbies. The tall and powerful Wallabie became eligible for selection through citizenship, having previously represented Fiji at the 2008 Junior World Cup. Speight is not only seeking to make his name on the international stage, but also some personal retribution, after serving a four match ban earlier this year for a tip tackle on Juan De Jongh in the Super League. 

England: Jack Nowell

Whilst many eyes will be on super centre Jonathan Joseph, Jack Nowell could quietly steal the headlines on the wing. The unassuming back announced himself on the international stage at last year’s Six Nations with a try against Italy. He impressed even further at this year’s edition of the competition, with a further three tries, including a double over France as England desperately chased the title. The World Cup host nation possess an embarrassment of riches amongst their backs, with Joseph, Anthony Watson, Mike Brown and Jonny May to name but a few who can be devastating on their day. Nowell’s stats for England make for fantastic reading however with four tries from nine games, and his tenacity and energy is evident all over the pitch, from the trail of blue stains that he leaves from his scrum cap.

Wales: Hallam Amos

Two tries in six caps for the Under 20s has earned Hallam Amos a coveted spot in the senior side. Warren Gatland has rewarded him with three caps, and the opportunity to shine for the Welsh down the wing. Amos made his debut back in November 2013 at the age of 18 and he has been kept in the junior side in order to nurture his game. Gatland clearly thinks that the time is now right to unleash the youngster and provide him with some invaluable World Cup experience. With 80 points in 60 appearances for Newport Gwent Dragons, the pacy wing will turn 21 two days before the Pool A clash with England, and could have a very bright future ahead of him.

Fiji: Lepani Botia

The 26-year-old Flying Fijian is yet to live up to his full potential, and this could be his time to shine. A brutish inside centre, Botia has a reputation for tearing through opposition defences and bursting through tackles. His tank like physique and bullish nature helps him to tear through players and either cross the white wash himself, or set up his teammates for five points. One try in five caps suggests that there is plenty more to come from the La Rochelle man, and his versatility to also be able to play on the wing or as a flanker will make him an invaluable utility man.

Uruguay: Andres Vilaseca

With just 14 Uruguay caps to his name, Andres Vilaseca has one try under his belt as he enters his first World Cup. Head Coach Pablo Lemoine has experimented with the 24-year-old in the first team during Uruguay’s warm up games, and he is a wily campaigner down the wing. The Old Boys back may well be used as a substitute during the World Cup, but he is a great replacement to have on the bench, and a possible game changer in what will be a tight and hotly contested Pool.