The Roar
The Roar


Who are the up-and-coming Australian players in Super Rugby?

Pick me Mike, pick me! Sean McMahon is loving life in Japan. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
Roar Guru
28th July, 2016
3259 Reads

I want to counter some of the gloom surrounding Aussie rugby with a look at who the bright up and coming players are around each of our Super teams.

The Reds are top of the class here with their stand out being hooker Andrew Ready.

The 24-year-old Ready meets the number one criteria for a hooker with excellent set piece work. He operates at the centre of a strong scrum and was top of the tree in Super Rugby 2016 lineout, throwing with 91.7 per cent lineout accuracy.

Beyond his core competencies in the set piece he is tough and mobile with breakdown turnover stats of seven penalties forced/turn overs won over the course of 15 games. That is a fine return for a front rower.

The Reds have seen continued improvement from Samu Kerevi and it was great to see him rewarded with a couple of Wallabies caps. His debut performance in gold contributed to one of the most dangerous attacks we have seen from a Wallabies backline in some time.

The Reds also managed to blood some youngsters with Taniela Tupou graduating to the senior side and not looking out of place, his youth for a prop bodes well for how he could develop.

Lukhan Tui looks one to keep an eye on in 2017 as will the likes of Caleb Timu joining from the Broncos and Leroy Houston returning from the UK.

The Waratahs started the season with a pack that was getting steamrolled. Their find of the season was 22-year-old, tighthead Tom Robertson.

The Tahs scrum steadied once Tom was consistently picked in the starting front row following a solid debut in Round 4 against the Highlanders. The stability that Robertson and Tatafu Polota-Nau along with the now-retired Benn Robinson provided was one of the keys in turning the Waratahs season around and saw them narrowly miss the finals.


Paddy Ryan switched to loosehead and was struggling early in the season but had some very promising performances in the final couple of games.

Jack Dempsey looked good in the backrow, starting and ending the season strongly while Jed Holloway started the season well only to once more suffer a season ending injury.

Andrew Kellaway finally got some consistent game time and showed some promising touches. He wasn’t the breakout sensation some thought he might be after his performances at youth level but the bump offs involved in his try against the Sunwolves showed some glimpses of his footwork and drive to make the try line.

Over the course of the season he showed some excellent support lines and played with quite a bit of maturity for a young man.

The Brumbies were a little disappointing in identifying new or developing talent. Their best in this department was probably Rory Arnold who continued his development in his second season of Super Rugby culminating in selection for the Wallabies.

Scott Sio looks to have made some adjustments to his foot position at scrum time since the international break Ruan Smith was solid and looked to take over the first choice tighthead spot, while Leslie Leulua’iali’i-Makin showed potential with his chances.

Out wide Nigel Ah-Wong was solid and Aidan Toua showed some decent pace but there wasn’t a new name really shining a light coming through their squad.

Sadly the player that could have done that, developing number eight Ita Vaea succumbed to his blood clotting issues and has had to give the game away. He was a highly promising player and it is a shame we’ll not see him reach his full potential. I wish Ita all the best in life post rugby.


The Force’s stand out developing player wasn’t a rookie. 28-year-old Dane Haylett-Petty took his game to a new level this season and was duly rewarded with Wallabies selection. Joining him at the Wallabies was Adam Coleman who did not look out of place in his debut at the higher level.

Jono Lance started the season well at flyhalf before injury set him back. Bench halfback Ryan Louwrens continues to impress with his crisp accurate passing, speed to the breakdown and ability to snipe on the fringes against tiring defences.

The clear standout for the Rebels was 21 year old Reece Hodge, his booming left boot is something relatively rare in Australian rugby and his nine tries was a fantastic return for a rookie. He possesses good size at 1.91cm and 94kgs and if he can develop his goal kicking could become a hugely influential player.

Sean McMahon had his strongest Super season yet proving very difficult to hold on to, beating 48 defenders over the course of the season. His defence was outstanding as well making 126 successful tackles for only nine missed.

Sefanaia Naivalu returned strongly from his broken leg scoring six tries in only ten matches, adding Marika Koroibete to the other wing next season should create a very dangerous attacking unit.

So Roarers, do you agree or disagree? Who have I included incorrectly and who have I missed?