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Fifteen players who should play Super Rugby

Enforcer Roar Rookie

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    One of the most enjoyable things about following a sport is seeing how that new or exciting player fares when he’s called into the fray.

    Whether you’ve seen him in action for another club or if he’s an unknown quantity, there’s something special when you see that signing take the field.

    One such player is Englishman James Haskell, who despite being a great international has produced mixed performances so far; another is the Frenchman Freddie Michalak; who proves week after week that not all Frenchmen should be known for their inconsistency.

    These two players have got me thinking, who do I want to see don a Super Rugby jersey?

    The bustling American Todd Clever did it. Why can’t other “minnow nation” players do it?

    For that matter wouldn’t some of the up-and-comers from traditional rugby nations benefit from Super Rugby experience?

    So, to appease my curiosity this armchair expert has jotted down an XV of the players I’d love to see play in our great tournament.

    1. Soane Tonga’uiha (Tonga)
    Northampton’s monumental prop is known as much for his size as he is for his bullocking runs. Soane missed out in his first attempt to play Super Rugby but as a new man with international experience he’d cut the mustard.

    2. Yusuke Aoki (Japan)
    The diminutive, but hard-working, hooker was a highlight in Japan’s World Cup campaign and would be perfect for the quick pace of Super Rugby. It’s time to break the mould of Japanese-born players playing exclusively in Japan and Aoki could be the first.

    3. Tom Court (Ireland)
    This Aussie-born man-mountain has certainly taken to the Irish Rugby and way of life, but would he perform on home soil? He’s another who just missed out on Super Rugby his first time around and would no doubt relish a second shot.

    4. Julio Farías Cabello (Argentina)
    The big hustling flanker/lock was a stand out for Argentina in the World Cup with his huge tackle counts. He knows how to defend and would no doubt stand out as much in Super Rugby as he will in this year’s Rugby Championship.

    5. Joe Tekori (samoa)
    Did anybody say Super Rugby doesn’t have enough goose-stepping second rowers? Tekori is capable of doing both the basics of being in the tight five, as well as bringing that X-factor.

    6. Mamuka Gorgodze (Georgia)
    A Georgian mightn’t be as marketable as a Fijian-flier, but fans would certainly come around to the now-famous Gorgodzilla’s style of rugby. Capable of covering second row and the entire back-row he’d be an asset to any team.

    7. Michael Leitch (Japan)
    The young New Zealand-born but Japanese-raised opensider impressed at the World Cup. Leitch is a kind of rare on-baller seven that any side needs and would no doubt come at a fraction of the price.

    8. Robert Barbieri (Italy)
    The Italian knows how to run the ball. And he runs hard. Trapped behind Parisse in the Italian line-up for a few years the Canadian born player has recently come to the fore by showing his ability to play 7. If you love how Jarred Saffy plays you’ll love Barbieri.

    9. Ben Spencer (England)
    Rising to prominence through his success in the Oxford-Cambridge Varsity game, Spencer has a big future. He’s still young and can do the number one thing a halfback needs to do: create fast-accurate ball. No doubt he’ll crack the England squad soon.

    10. Duncan Weir (Scotland)
    Having just picked up his first Scottish cap, Duncan has a build that wouldn’t look out of place on a modern-day hooker. Still, he’s electric with ball in hand and will no doubt grow as he gets more time in Scotland’s colours. A year or two of Super Rugby wouldn’t hurt a player like Weir at all.

    11. Simon Zebo (Ireland)
    Many thought the Munsterman would gain his first cap this Six Nations but alas it didn’t happen. Possessing speed to burn and a great understanding of the game, this man wouldn’t look out of place in any Super outfit.

    12. Albert VuliVuli (Fiji)
    Some backs like to dance around people; VuliVuli likes to dance through people. The Fijian of Queensland Reds experience is one of those rare players that make damaging runs look so natural. Can play across the backline.

    13. Tommaso Benvenuti (Italy)
    This Italian-born-and-bred back is proving to be one of the great victories of Italy’s development system. He has the footwork and hands to be a world rugby great and Italy’s on-field improvement can already be partly attributed to him at just 21 years old.

    14. D.T.H. van der Merwe (Canada)
    The Canadian with the bottle-blonde hair proved in this World Cup that he can match it with the best of them in the centre. He would no doubt look at home doing the finishing in any Super Rugby outfit.

    15. James So’oialo (Samoa)
    Younger brother of famous All Black Rodney, James sports an equally notable haircut in the form of a mullet. James has just been involved in the terrific Samoan World Cup Campaign and shows the kind of decision-making and swagger you love to see from a fullback.

    Who would you like to see play Super Rugby?

    How do you think these guys would go?

    Have Your Say

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    The Crowd Says (37)

    • March 20th 2012 @ 3:45am
      Football United said | March 20th 2012 @ 3:45am | ! Report

      There are so many people i want to see super rugby, after all rugby is a international game and thus as super rugby is so often touted as the best competition in the world, surely it should include the best of other nations. yet the dinosaurs at the ARU will continue this silly Wallabies first attitude to the detriment of their competition while europe gets stronger and stronger with it’s international flavour in it’s clubs.

      • March 20th 2012 @ 4:15pm
        granville said | March 20th 2012 @ 4:15pm | ! Report

        but i would also like to see our entire Australian frontrows go to England to play/train there and learn how to scrum properly, watching England destroy Ireland in the scrums were scary………..but i think recruiting foreign players will hurt Australian rugby because we do not have that much depth and we need to develop our own players, e.g look at the Waratahs, they should have developed 2more halfbacks for Australia instead of bringing in a South African, it will hurt our rugby development if the ARU opens the door for foreign players. England and France have the depth thats why they are able to recruit alot of foreign players.

    • March 20th 2012 @ 4:19am
      Moreton Bait said | March 20th 2012 @ 4:19am | ! Report

      Chauncey O’Toole: really impressive on-the-ball #7. Had a good world cup for Team Canada. Would love to see him adding some depth at the Reds for a season or two. Wouldn’t mind seeing Tom Court back at the Reds either.

      So many foreign players filling important positions in French Top 14 teams that it is starting to look like the development line in France may be slowing to the detriment of the national team. Perhaps not but the ARU is wise to proceed cautiously and observe the French situation carefully before flinging the doors wide open.

      • March 20th 2012 @ 9:11am
        enforcer said | March 20th 2012 @ 9:11am | ! Report

        Absolutely, in regards to not having too many foreign players but between the 8 foreign player spots at the Rebels and 1 at the Tahs, Brums, Reds and Force respectively there’s plenty of spots already.

        You’d have to say the Brums and Reds especially aren’t doing anything too creative with their established foreign player spot.

      • March 20th 2012 @ 1:42pm
        Denby said | March 20th 2012 @ 1:42pm | ! Report

        I agree, it would be a complete waste to end up with something akin to the EPL. All the money in the world yet when England assemble they haven’t won anything since 66.

    • March 20th 2012 @ 7:22am
      Ben S said | March 20th 2012 @ 7:22am | ! Report

      I’d like to see Ben Morgan, Sean O’Brien, Jamie Roberts and Richie Gray play in the S15.

      • Columnist

        March 20th 2012 @ 8:22am
        Brett McKay said | March 20th 2012 @ 8:22am | ! Report

        Ben, if we could arrange to get Dan Lydiate and Thierry Dusautoir on opposing sides within Super Rugby, I’d quite happily watch them going at it again for 80 minutes…

        • March 20th 2012 @ 8:38am
          Ben S said | March 20th 2012 @ 8:38am | ! Report

          I thought you SH boyos would prefer a fleet footed gazelle like Tom Croft to those two ol’ carthorses thundering into people, Brett?

          On another note, I’d like to see some young English backs and opensides gain some Super experience: Matt Kvesic and George Ford, for example.

          • March 20th 2012 @ 9:07am
            enforcer said | March 20th 2012 @ 9:07am | ! Report

            I’ve listed Ben Spencer, surely he’s on the way up.

            • March 20th 2012 @ 9:57am
              Ben S said | March 20th 2012 @ 9:57am | ! Report

              Ben Spencer is on the way up, enforcer, but he’s only 19 (I think) and despite playing for the Saxons I’d be very, very surprised to see him in the Senior EPS squad for a while now. Ben Youngs would be a big success IMO if he had some big forwards to play off of him.

              • March 20th 2012 @ 1:03pm
                enforcer said | March 20th 2012 @ 1:03pm | ! Report

                That’s the point, we don’t have French budgets in the SH but a stop-gap 1-2 solution in the form of a young exciting halfback would do both the player and the team some good.

                Sure he’d ride the pine much of the time but the different skills and perspective he’d gain would be invaluable.

              • March 20th 2012 @ 10:53pm
                Ben S said | March 20th 2012 @ 10:53pm | ! Report

                But if we’re talking in terms of excitement and/or draw cards then Spencer is pretty much a long shot. At best he’s arguably the 6th best English scrum half in the EPL.

          • Columnist

            March 20th 2012 @ 9:43am
            Brett McKay said | March 20th 2012 @ 9:43am | ! Report

            Ben, I’ve watched about 90% of the Six Nations this season – and thoroughly enjoyed it, for the record – but seeing Lydiate and Dusautoir battling it out on Saturday was one of the highlights of the tournament for mine. I know they’re blindsiders, but it was a throwback to watching Smith and McCaw back in the day..

            • March 20th 2012 @ 9:56am
              Ben S said | March 20th 2012 @ 9:56am | ! Report

              They’re a pair of hard fellas, that is for sure, Brett. I recall Lydiate against Australia a few seasons ago and thought how totally physically out of his depth he looked. He has improved staggeringly. There are some awesome 6s playing Test rugby in Europe atm. Blindside flanker is going to be a hard one to pick when the Lions tour next season. Can’t wait for that back row dilemma.

              • Columnist

                March 20th 2012 @ 11:19am
                Brett McKay said | March 20th 2012 @ 11:19am | ! Report

                what a horrible probelm to have…

              • March 20th 2012 @ 10:56pm
                Ben S said | March 20th 2012 @ 10:56pm | ! Report

                At this juncture (and there’s a lot of rugby to be played) I think this could be the best Lions squad that I’ve ever seen in my lifetime. The 1997 tour was the first tour I was old enough to appreciate.

      • March 20th 2012 @ 9:09am
        enforcer said | March 20th 2012 @ 9:09am | ! Report

        Those guys would be great but I went for more eclectic options, guys who would probably (but not definitely) play well at Super level.

        Ben Morgan is sure one for the future isn’t he.

    • March 20th 2012 @ 10:58am
      klatu said | March 20th 2012 @ 10:58am | ! Report

      I would like the following players to show up in Super15 rather than your list….. Tatafu, James Howell, Berrick Barnes, Genia, Ben Robinson, Faingaa boys, Sekope Kepu……. why are they not playing yet…….. Will they be start playing soon?

      • March 20th 2012 @ 12:41pm
        allblackfan said | March 20th 2012 @ 12:41pm | ! Report


      • Roar Guru

        March 20th 2012 @ 3:33pm
        Cattledog said | March 20th 2012 @ 3:33pm | ! Report

        I’m sure they be start playing soon, Klusta 😉

      • March 20th 2012 @ 5:33pm
        rl said | March 20th 2012 @ 5:33pm | ! Report

        They are all currently unavailable – by the look of it Piri Weepu ate them

    • March 20th 2012 @ 12:20pm
      manalien said | March 20th 2012 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

      The same Tom Court who’s remains are still being picked out of the twickenham turf and Alex Corbisiero’s boots?

      He is better of staying in Europe and learning to scrummage. That said he might prefer to head south and avoid another embarrassment…

    • March 20th 2012 @ 12:45pm
      King of the Gorgonites said | March 20th 2012 @ 12:45pm | ! Report

      Not to sure about poor old Tom Court after the weekend effort.

      I loved watching the Japanese hooker. was sublime with some of his skills.

      Also would loveto see Goorgonzilla run around.

      Nice list.

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