Welcome back to my “Top 5” rugby series. This 13-article series has been inspired by countless conversations among friends or other fans over the years and will see me selecting my top 5 men’s rugby players who are currently playing at each position.
With all of these lists, I am picking who I feel are the best 5 at each position, so there may be some surprises in there as I select the players who I feel are most appropriate to the position despite there being multiple ways to play many positions. I try to watch rugby from a broad range of leagues as well as plenty (or too much, depending how you ask) of Test matches, but I appreciate that I still have some blind spots, while a list like this is subjective; so while the majority of each article will be my list, I also set my good friend and occasional collaborator Phil the challenge to select his top 5, which I will include below. I’d also love to hear your picks, so go ahead and post them in the comments!
And so, we reach the end today and conclude this series with a look at fullback.
- Loosehead prop
- Tighthead prop
- Blindside flanker
- Openside flanker
- Number 8
- Scrum half
- Fly half
- Inside centre
- Outside centre
Currently the starting 10 for the Pumas and has spent much of the latter half of the season playing their for Gloucester too, but to me, Santi Carreras is so much better at 15. Has the intangibles to play across the back line, with a great range of passes and kicks (though he may overhit the odd kick), incredible footwork and enough pace to hold his own on the wing, while from a defensive standpoint, he is one of the best around under the high ball and a solid and reliable tackler.
One of the silver linings from the dark cloud on All Blacks history that is the Ian Foster era, Jordan is one of the most exciting attacking fullbacks in the game. With the pace to also cover on the wing, he is solid under the high ball, an has great footwork to beat his man, while always appearing to pick the right line to break through the defense, or constantly on the shoulder to finish off the break.
Gets the nod over Willie Le Roux, but Kolbe’s ability to also cover wing means I would look to get both of them in my team if possible. Kolbe is almost impossible to put down, with a great blend of pace and footwork making it near-impossible to get hold of him and then an incredible strength and leg drive making it hard to get him down if you do grab him. And with all that focus on how hard it is to tackle him, what then gets overlooked is his range of distribution that makes him capable of playing fly half.
One of the new young stars of English rugby. Steward is a big-bodied 15 who excels under the high ball, combining his height with an impressive vertical leap. Meanwhile, he picks his time and spots to come forward in attack, having great success in and around the 13 channel, using his pace and size to create a good momentum to put the team on the front foot or even go over for the try himself.
And last but not least, a player who makes the list simply from reliably doing the basics right 99.9% of the time. Has good al-round attributes in attack and knows how to pick his moment to hit a deadly line, but it is hs defensive game that really sets him apart, as he always seems to be in just the right place to deal with whatever kick the opposition send into the backfield, including being super reliable in the air, while this reliability also continues to being in the right place to make a crucial tackle too.
Phil’s top 5: Will Jordan, Hugo Keenan, Liam Williams, Kotaro Matsushima, Santiago Carreras
Who makes your top 5?
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