We kick off our list of the 100 best players going from 100 to 91. Compiled at the end of 2017, take a look at who makes the cut.
100 Asafo Aumua
Country New Zealand Date of Birth 5.5.97 Position Hooker
He scored a hat-trick in the Junior World Cup final against England, including one stutter-stepping rampage, then showed his promise for Wellington Lions in the Mitre 10 Cup. Now, after an All Blacks apprentice role in November, there’s a buzz about what he can do in his first Super Rugby season with Hurricanes.
99 Kwagga Smith
Country South Africa Date of Birth 11.6.93 Position Back-row
Sevens fans know what this rubber ball of a forward can do. He was one of Super Rugby’s stars last year with his form for the Lions, but it took one special showing for the Barbarians against NZ to get the rest of the world swooning. A multi-code talent.
Related: 2018 Super Rugby Explained
98 Chris Robshaw
Country England Date of Birth 4.6.86 Position Back-row
“He does the little things you don’t see. It’s all the non-glamorous work that he does. He’s exceptional at it.” Those are the words of Eddie Jones – highly critical of then England captain Robshaw during RWC 2015 but since won over by his work ethic. Jones has even likened him to Richard Hill – high praise indeed.
97 Carl Fearns
Country England Date of Birth 28.5.89 Position Back-row
The 6ft 3in, near 20st Scouser left Bath disaffected in the wake of the Sam Burgess affair, but he has rarely been out of Midi Olympique’s XV of the Weekend since arriving in France. A bruising carrier, Fearns spurned a move to Gloucester to stay at Lyon.
96 Jimmy Gopperth
Country New Zealand Date of Birth 29.6.83 Position Fly-half
The first player for over a decade to win an RPA-Premiership Player of the Year double (2016-17), he’s been a revelation for Wasps. He plays ten, 12 and 15, and – with nearly 1,300 Premiership points – match-deciding kicks present no worries. “He wants to play until he’s 40, he loves the game that much,” says Dai Young.