With the QBE Autumn Internationals due to kick off this Saturday it's time to take a look at five players who have the potential to show their true potential, less than 12 months before England hosts the Rugby World Cup.
1. MALAKAI FEKITOA
Fekitoa won his first cap for the All Blacks against England in June, just four months after making his Super Rugby debut.
The centre has already scored twice in his first seven Tests, his second and most significant score came against Australia in October. Fekitoa crashed over in the 79th minute, Colin Slade slotted the conversion and New Zealand claimed a clean sweep in the Bledisloe Cup.
The Tongan-born centre has an extremely aggressive and effect running style, complemented by raw pace, which enables him to burst through strong tackles and small gaps. But he is also equipped with a mean side step, deft hands and an acute sense of timing. And of course, in true-Tongan style, he is a ferocious tackler.
2. RHYS WEBB
For years, Warren Gatland’s game plan was built around Mike Phillips, but when Phillips became slow and predictable during this year’s RBS Six Nations, Wales’ back line soon followed suit and Gatland turned to Rhys Webb.
The Ospreys scrum half immediately vitalized Wales’ attack, with a relentless sense of urgency and swift distribution. He also contributed to the defensive efforts with a torrent of tackles.
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Webb missed out on Wales’ summer tour of South Africa with a knee injury and Phillips re assumed his position. But Webb has been in scintillating form in the Guinness Pro 12 this season, bagging six tries in his first seven matches and he is now set to return to the international arena.
Expect the battle for Wales' no.9 jersey to rage on, but when Webb is given the opportunity, he will torment defenses with his fleet feet, sniping darts and general tenacity.
McMahon earned himself a Test debut with an explosive international bow against the Barbarians last Saturday.
The 20-year-old has already enjoyed a successful year, captaining the Australia Under-20s side in IRB Junior World Championship and representing his county in the seven-man format at the Commonwealth Games.
McMahon is a natural breakdown forager and a powerful yet dynamic ball carrier. The young Wallaby is an accomplished footballer, who has the ability to trouble the toughest defenses, and no one is more aware of his massive potential than Australia coach Michael Cheika, who will be itching to introduce the Melbourne Rebels flanker to the international fold in Cardiff on Saturday.
4. NEMANI NADOLO
Super Rugby fans will already know and fear the 6'5", 19 stone winger. The Fijian scored 12 times in 15 appearances for the Canterbury Crusaders last season, making him joint top try scorer with Israel Folau.
Nadolo is a monster, who has devastated the Southern Hemisphere’s finest defenders. And now he has traveled north of the equator to terrorize the French, Welsh and Americans.
The colossus tackles like a clap of thunder and jinks and steps with astonishing grace. Once he sets those massive wheels in motion, he is almost impossible to stop.
The uncapped Rokoduguni has been called up into England’s 33-man squad after an impressive start to the Aviva Premiership season, scoring four tries in six games.
Rokoduguni was signed a full-time contract with Bath in 2012, and is still a Lance Corporal in the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards.
The Fijian-born winger has gained three stone since joining Bath, and he now tips the scale at well over 16 stone. But as he showed us last season, he has retained the electrifying pace and balletic grace, which enables him to ghost past tacklers. The winger beat more defenders than anyone else in the Aviva Premiership in 2013/2014.
Rokoduguni is certainly a wild card in England’s squad, but he is an extremely potent attacking threat and unlike most English wingers, he is a staunch defender too.
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