Too Much Too Young: Nine rugby players who peaked too early

7. Ataata Moeakiola

After being nominated for Breakthrough player of the year in 2016; he won three caps for the Brave Blossoms the same year, scoring three tries, and was labelled the ‘Japanese Jonah Lomu’. The 22-year-old nevertheless hasn’t played for Japan since and has struggled to make an impression for the Sunwolves in Super Rugby.

8. Ben Atiga

There was a time when Atiga was seen as such a potent attacking weapon that British Lions coach Clive Woodward singled out the Aucklander as the man of whom he was most wary ahead of the 2005 tour to New Zealand. But despite the centre/fullback looking set for superstardom, he only played one test for the All Blacks, against Tonga in the 2003 Rugby World Cup.

9. Tom Varndell

On 26 November 2005, aged 20, he scored a try against Manu Samoa at Twickenham in his first full 15-man international. Despite going on to become the Premiership’s all-time record scorer the speedster has only won four caps.

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