OPINION: Young players to watch
SUPER RUGBY SPOTLIGHT: Last season’s competition saw the likes of Rieko Ioane burst onto the scene for the Blues.
With Super Rugby being one of the main platforms for showcasing the stars of the future in the Southern Hemisphere, we look at five of the most promising players for the season ahead.
Curwin Bosch- The dynamic flyhalf showed glimpses of his talent last season, however, he has failed to nail down his place in either Sharks and Springbok squads. Competing with Robert Du Preez for the number ten jersey, Bosch must start showing signs of consistency. With one of the highest kicking percentages in the competition in 2017 at 84%, could this be the year Bosch realises his full potential and helps the Sharks into the finals?
Emiliano Boffelli- With an excellent change of pace, a reliable presence in the air and an ability to finish off tries with ease, Boffelli is sure to play a key role in helping the Jaguares to their first ever Super Rugby quarter-final. Despite only making his Argentinean debut in 2017, Boffelli has made 11 appearances, scoring 30 points. He is sure to light up the competition this season and can only get better.
Alex Fidow- One of two players nicknamed the ‘Bash Brothers,’ Fidow looks to make the step up to Super Rugby, having enhanced his reputation at the Brisbane Tens. Weighing in at around 120Kgs and having previously plied his trade at Scots College, Fidow is not only a strong scrummager but also has the ability to beat players with the ball in hand, whether that be by running around them or alternatively through them. The retirement of Reggie Goodes can only help his cause and his chances will rely on consistency, especially in the scrum.
Asafo Aumua- Showing his pace and power in last season’s ITM cup for the Wellington Lions, Aumua has played at 2, 8 and even 12 during schoolboy rugby. With Dane Coles expected to be out for most of the upcoming season, this could be Aumua’s chance to shine. He will need to improve his fitness however as he has been left out of the Hurricane’s squad which is due to tour South Africa. Aumua is one of few players who has been selected to play for the All Blacks before playing in Super Rugby, with the Hooker selected on the bench to play for a New Zealand XV side against the French last Autumn. Although his lineout throwing has been questioned, Aumua is sure to add an extra dimension to the set up at the canes.
Jordie Barrett- Despite making his breakthrough last season, Barrett required shoulder surgery during the Rugby Championship and was ruled out for the rest of the year. Barrett offers a strong running game, well known for his ability to pick a good line. Offering Hurricanes coach, Chris Boyd an option at both centre and fullback, Barrett has worked hard in the off-season, gaining six kilos to add to an already impressive physique at 6ft 5in- could this suggest that he will be used in the midfield? Add this to his impressive set of skills which clearly runs in the family and this could be another impressive year for the youngster.