2018 Rugby Stars

2018 Rugby Stars

2018 Rugby Stars

As 2018 gets underway it’s a good time to reflect on some of today’s biggest and best rugby stars This list includes rugby players from around the world who are moving the game forward in speed, technique and power and challenging sports bettors who move from the free casino games to the world of real money sports betting.

A selection of these players include:

David Pocock

Openside flanker David Pocock of Australia has been playing with the Wild Knights of Japan but now he’s set to return to Super Rugby where he has a good chance to make the Test Team. At age 29, Pocock is poised to put past injuries, including two knee reconstruction surgeries and damage to his anterior cruciate ligament behind him to make the Wallabies into a serious threat in the 2019 World Rugby Cup.

Highlights of Pocock’s career include being named finalist for the IRB International Player of the Year in both 2010 and 2011, taking over the Wallabies captaincy during the 2012 midseason test series and scoring two tries in Australia’s opening game of the 2015 Rugby World Cup and a try in the 2015 Rugby World Cup Final.

Robbie Henshaw

Henshaw is recognized as one of Ireland’s top players. He is best known as a centre though he has also played at fullback in the past. He played for Connacht for most of his rugby career and represented Ireland at youth events. In 2015 Henshaw was included in the Irish squad for the Rugby World Cup where he played on the starting team in the World Cup match against Italy and then went on to play full games against both Argentina and France. Today he is playing with Leinster where Brian O’Driscoll, former captain of the Leinster team, has said “I think he has all the attributes to be a seasoned campaigner for Ireland for many, many years.”

Ben Spencer

Ben Spenser is looking forward to 2018 when, he hopes, he’ll be able to establish himself as the first-choice nine for the Saracens. Well into last year Spenser was tagging behind Wigglesworth and de Kock but now the talented half back should be able to take his turn to dominate the field.

Spencer has attracted notice as a player in the ’15-’16 Aviva Premiership and in the 2016 and 2017 European Rugby Champions Cup. He also played in the Anglo Welsh cup where he kicked a last-minute penalty for the Saracens to help them defeat Exter Chiefs.

Kwagga Smith

2018 could be the career-defining era for Smith, an all-rounder who seems to take every challenge in his stride. Smith was initially identified as a Sevens specialist as a fleet-footed openside. He made his mark in 15s by leading the Lions to a Super Rugby final. After that match Smith moved on, impressing in the Barbarians’ defeat to the All Blacks.

Some of the highlights of Smith’s career include being selected for the squad that played at the 2014 Commonwealth Games where he helped his team achieve a 17-12 victory over New Zealand and being included in the Golden Lions first team squad for the 2014 Currie Cup Premier Division. In the 2016 Summer Olympics Smith joined the South African team in Group B as a starting player in a match that saw South Africa beat Spain 24-0.

It isn’t clear whether the South African selectors recognise his talents as of yet but one assumes that they’ll see Smith for what he’s worth in the near future.

Huw Jones

The Glasgow back generally plays centre but he can also play as a full-back or winger. Jones, whose rugby skills were honed during a gap year in South Africa, has become a key player for his native Scotland. Before joining the Glasgow Warriors Jones played for Cape Town’s False Bay while studying at university, the Ikey Tigers and the Western Province Stomers. While with the Stormers, Jones is remembered for opening the scoring against NWU Pukke by achieving a try in the 4th minute which helped his team clinch the title.

While playing for the Stormers Jones made a total of four starts and four appearances as a replacement in the 2015 Currie Cup Premier Division where he scored one try in their home match against the Blue Bulls and assisted as a last-minute substitute as they rolled to victory in the semi-final match. He also took to the field in the final which saw the Golden Lions win in a 32-24 victory.

Bundee Aki

Aki is a New Zealander who currently plays as a centre for the Connacht team of Ireland. Aki is best known for being named of the league’s player of the season In 2015–16 as well as his win of a Super Rugby title with Chiefs. Before playing for the Chiefs Aki was part of the Counties Manukau team where he participated in their fourth place finish in the Championship Division of the 2011 ITM Cup.

After moving to the reigning Super Rugby champions Chiefs in 2012 Aki performed superbly. He is best remembered for his start in the Chiefs’ quarter-final game against the Brumbies where he scored a try, giving the Chiefs the point (even though the Chiefs lost to the Brumbles 32-30. Aki’s present contract will keep him at Connacht until 2020. When he completes his 3 years of residence he’ll be eligible to play for Ireland.

George North

North is hoping for a comeback after a 3-year slump. Yet his coach isn’t ready to write him off quite yet, given that he won 70 caps for Wales and 3 for the Irish and British Lions. North generally plays winter but is also seen success as an outside winger.

At age 18 North became the youngest player ever to score a try when he debuted for Wales. He also became the youngest player to score two tries against a major rugby nation. North’s return home to Wales for the start of the 2018/19 season will hopefully get the back three player into form and once again become a major force on the rugby field.