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Ten Championship Players to Watch

Ten players to watch in The Rugby Championship

Ten players to watch in The Rugby Championship

With the tournament kicking off this Friday, here are some of the players we suggest you keep an eye out for.

10) Tomas Cubelli

  • Age: 26
  • Position: Scum-half
  • National team: Argentina
  • Caps: 34
  • Points: 40

The sprightly Scum-half has developed quite the partnership with Fly-half Nicolas Sanchez over the last year, with both men playing key roles in the Pumas against the odds victory against Australia in last year’s Rugby Championship. He has a great ability to bring in the strong Argentina pack, but also has the genius to sidestep and bring the backs forward. Therefore, with him continuing to develop as a player, Argentina will have a greater platform to play off and, as a result, should be able to cause a considerable threat when they have possession.

9) Willie le Roux

  • Age: 25
  • Position: Full-back
  • National team: South Africa
  • Caps: 25
  • Points: 35

Following a hat-trick last week against World XV, sensational attacker Le Roux will be full of confidence heading into this Saturday’s opening fixture against Australia. Since making his debut in 2013, he has been crucial to the Springbok’s side and at his still young age could be for year’s to come.

8) Waisake Naholo

  • Age: 24
  • Position: Wing
  • National team: New Zealand
  • Caps: 0
  • Points: 0

The explosive winger, who is a formidable line breaker was the star of the 2015 Super Rugby season and now could be in line to detonate onto the international scene. He is well suited to the demands of modern rugby, and if given the chance could be the next biggest thing in rugby on the international stage.

7) Damian de Allende

  • Age: 23
  • Position: Centre
  • National team: South Africa
  • Caps: 3
  • Points: 0

De Allende is currently the best inside centre in South Africa. The 23-year-old from Milnerton in Cape Town is a special player and it looks likely that if he is given the opportunity, he will still play an integral role in the Bok set-up for year’s to come. He is a skilful player that can quickly sum up a situation. He runs with the ball in both hands and prefers to attack space to really test his opposition defences wits.

6) Agustin Creevy

  • Age: 30
  • Position: Hooker
  • National team: Argentina
  • Caps: 36
  • Points: 0

The Argentina captain has been the spearhead behind the Pumas development in the last two year’s. He recently committed his future to the new Super Rugby Argentina franchise, joining from English side Worcester. The veteran makes up for what he lacks in some areas with his leadership, meaning if the Pumas are to have a good Championship he will be crucial every step of the way.

5) Quade Cooper

  • Age: 27
  • Position: Fly-half
  • National team: Australia
  • Caps: 53
  • Points: 126

Cooper looks likely to get first crack at the Wallabies No10 jersey on Saturday night and lay down the platform for a shot at World Cup redemption. He is a player who can be unpredictable and captivate capacity crowds. The 27-year old picked up his first cap against Italy aged 20 in 2008, memorably scoring a try to spare the Wallabies’ blushes against the Azzurri. If the Aussies are to create any momentum heading into the World cup they will need him back at his very best.

4) Israel Folau

  • Age: 26
  • Position: Wing
  • National team: Australia
  • Caps: 29
  • Points: 85

Folau has emerged as one the games greatest players following his high-profile switch to union following stints in rugby league and Australian Rules football. When he first began playing the 15-man code he showed glimpses of class, but now he is outright one of the most dangerous wingers on the planet. Although the Australian side may not be at their very best currently news earlier this month that Folau has signed a flexible three-year deal with the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) and New South Wales Waratahs can only be fantastic news for the Wallabies.

3) Malakai Fekitoa

  • Age: 23
  • Position: Centre
  • National team: New Zealand
  • Caps: 8
  • Points: 10

From teenage talent to outstanding All-Blacks centre, Fekitoa has managed to combine his uncanny ability to break through any defence with his tough tackling to make Highlanders man one of the most devastating packages in world rugby at the moment.

2) Eben Etzebeth

  • Age: 23
  • Position: Lock
  • National team: South Africa
  • Caps: 33
  • Points: 0

The powerful lock is an essential cog in the colossal Bok pack and will be a certainty in the back row of the first XV throughout the Rugby Championship, as long as he remains fully fit. His strength, hugely athletic gifts and rugby intelligence make him a fantastic talent wit him often looking for space to break into, rather than just contact.

1) Dan Carter

  • Age: 33
  • Position: Fly-half
  • National team: New Zealand
  • Caps: 103
  • Points: 1475

Carter is one of those special players who can do almost everything you would ever want; he can attack, make a break, kick tactfully and most importantly kick accurately for goal. He is the highest point scorer in Super Rugby history as well as New Zealand’s all-time top-scorer after he surpassed the great Andrew Mehrten’s mark of 967 points. The veteran is still showing no sign of giving up his place as No. 10 and will likely be one of the players’ when all is said and done.

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