2019 Rugby World Cup – Tier 1 players to watch

2019 Rugby World Cup
WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - JULY 23: Sbu Nkosi during a Springboks training session at Porirua Park on July 23, 2019 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

With the 2019 Rugby World Cup less than a fortnight away Robert Rees takes a look at the Tier One players to ‘keep an eye on’.

Ireland – Tadgh Beirne

The former Leinster man found plenty of form when he joined the Scarlets and has carried that through to Munster where he picked up his Irish international dream.

An excellent mauler and disruptive over the ball he’ll prove invaluable to Ireland’s challenge to reach their first semi-final, and more.

Scotland – Darcy Graham

A man who physics doesn’t apply to! An elusive runner, regardless of whether he has space or not, can find his way to the tryline from almost anywhere on the park.

Despite being small in stature, his livewire nature is exactly what Scotland need to boost their hopes of making it beyond a likely quarter final meeting with either New Zealand or South Africa.

Italy – Braam Steyn

The Italian back-row forward burst into form during this year’s Six Nations competition.

The Benetton player has strong competition to fight against with the likes of Seb Negri and Jake Polledri also trying to gain a starting flanker spot but, his turnover and mauling ability are sure to boost his chances.

steyn will be crucial to Italian success, and will definitely cause opposing teams grief.

Sevu Reece – New Zealand

A product of the Waikato Chiefs, now playing his rugby at the Crusaders Reece offers a multi-functional player who can adapt to wing, centre or full back as easily as you or I eat a sandwich.

Born in Fiji with an athletics background it’s not hard to see why Reece will light up the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

With two tries already in a short All Blacks career – including a sensational effort against Australia, at Eden Park – he could be vital to gaining the Kiwis their hat-trick of World Cups. An unknown factor, he might very well ‘set the New Zealand backline on fire’.

South Africa – Sbu Nkosi

The 22-year old Sharks winger (see main photo) is already an established try scorer. With nearly 700m run to his name this year the young Springbok gets around and he isn’t shy of defending either – Slamming in 80 tackles over the past nine months as well.

A prolific try-scorer with a powerful running ability is just the type of man South Africa needed to get them back to the heights they once held and lift the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Argentina – Emiliano Boffelli

A product of the Pampas XV, now plying his trade with the Jaguares in Super Rugby. A powerful midfielder who is equally as strong out wide or in the middle of the park.

Argentina may not have won a test since September of last year but you can be sure they’re fighting back in the 2019 Rugby World Cup and this man will be crucial for that.

He’ll get their attacks going and break the gain line whilst holding their defensive line strong.

England – Tom Curry

Well known to northern hemisphere fans after a dominant Six Nations display earlier this year. A powerful jackaler and rock solid ball carrier Curry has also lit up the Gallagher Premiership with Sale.

Pretty much established now under Eddie Jones this young man is undoubtedly one of England’s key men.

France – Damian Penaud

Having a player who can do randomly great things in your team is a metaphor for French rugby. Penaud is that man at the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Slamming in tries for Clermont has earned his return to the French international scene and he lit up the Six Nations scoring four wonderful tries in the process.

A staple in the French club Clermont’s winning Challenge Cup attack, Penaud will lead France’s uncompromising slaughter on their opponents try line.

Australia – Christian Lealiifano

With the expulsion of Israel Folau Australian rugby needs a new spark. Step forward Christian Lealiifano.

Having spent a short while at Ulster some northern hemisphere fans will recognise this man but they may not remember just how good he was.

Explosive out of the blocks and averaging nearly seven metres per carry in Super Rugby he’s going to make yardage for the Aussies.

Wales – Aaron Wainwright

Having only taken up rugby aged 17 with Whiteheads RFC having been released by Cardiff City FC, Wainwright soon laid into the new dream of becoming a pro rugby player.

His debut for the Dragons came in October 2017 and h made his test debut just eight months later.

A strong carrier of the ball, he’ll be just at home smashing back the incoming attacks of the opposition. Strong over the ball as well, he’s the latest of big-name players to come into the Welsh back row scene.

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The 2019 Rugby World Cup begins on September 20

 

“Main photo credit”

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