Rugby Union

Australia RU: Five of the best in the world

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The 2015 World Cup's 'Group of Death' is certain to be a spectacle, with three genuine contenders for the trophy all pitting themselves against each other throughout September and October.

Being the host nation will help England's chances, but their home game against Australia on October 3 is set to be the group decider - meaning the red roses will have to pull out all of the stops to guarantee the best quarter final fixture.

With this in mind, there are five world-class stars who are sure to line up against them and make it as difficult as possible, along with a whole team with enough talent to win the group, let alone a fixture at Twickenham. 

We take a look at the five mega-stars who England will have to take extra care over, if they are to have any chance of beating the men in gold.

Will Skelton - Second Row

Standing at just under 6 foot 9, Skelton is one of the tallest and most athletic lock's in international rugby with fantastic hands for such a big man. He is having a great season in the Super 14 with the Waratahs, which has seen him named in the 'team of the week' on several occasions already this term.

With fantastic line out ability and a specialty in counter mauling, this young second row forward is nearly impossibly to stop five meters from the line - just ask the England players if they remember the last time Australia came to Twickenham. Skelton took three England players with him over the line from 5 meters out and dragged the game back into contention. 

Michael Hooper - Flanker

Previously described as 'the most naturally talented player in the world' Hooper has already captained his national side, despite being only 23. With lots of people arguing over which Flankers will make the World Cup squad, Hooper's place is all but confirmed.

Regularly used as an 8th back in sweeping moves, he has an insane turn of pace, great hands and is a devious counter rucker. A natural talent with the ability to change games, he is also having a great season with the Waratahs this year.

The majority of people are saying the Australian RU will find a way to play Hooper and his number 7 rival David Pocock in the same team, meaning only bad things for England's attacking play. 

Bernard Foley - Fly Half

Australia's 'Mr Iceman', Foley has been in exceptional form this year and almost never lets his National Team down. His seamless relationship with his outside backs has seen him carve apart the England defense before, combining with Rob Horne with disastrous effect in last November's International Tour.

With Quade Cooper just getting over a fractured shoulder blade, and James O'Connor seeing his form dip over the last few weeks, Foley will have the chance to cement his place as the 1st choice stand off for the World Cup.

If England want any hope of winning the match, they will need to drown out Foley's involvement in the game as its not just his running game that is consistent, his kicking ability is second to none. 

Tevita Kuridrani - Centre

Of Fijian decent, Kuridrani is a huge obstacle for the England backs to over come - a 6 foot 5, 102kg obstacle to be precise. Fearless in defense, and a talent in attack, the 24 year old center is a pure talent with a lot of experience for a young man.

There aren't many people who can hand off Brad Barritt like swatting away a fly, but Kuridrani made it look easy the last time these two teams faced. He specialises in taking people on and always knows where the try line is. A tough day in office for Jonathon Joseph when these two teams face on the 3rd October. 

Israel Folau - Fullback

No megastar list is complete without big Izzy Folau. An unreal talent, it is so hard to believe he is just 26 years old. Folau made his debut for the Australian Rugby League Team at the age of 18, and has been destroying opposition ever since.

He scored twice on his Australian Rugby Union debut against the British and Irish Lions in 2013, and has now scored 17 tries in 29 games. Standing at 6 foot 5 and weighing in at 103kg, he is another rock in defense with exceptional aerial ability.

Folau has an offload game similar to SBW, and his try scoring in the super 14 has been incredible with a ratio of just under a try a game for 2 years. Australia's newest megastar will be very difficult to stop. 

If England are to have any hope of winning the 'Group of Death', they will need to suppress Australia's five mega-stars. Sounds easy doesn't it?

The trouble with a team like Australia is that their whole team reacts to how these five players are performing, meaning each has the ability to win a game.

Either way, there are sure to be fireworks when the two meet on 3rd October in England's Twickenham Stadium.  

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Rugby Union
Australia Rugby
England Rugby
IRB Rugby World Cup

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