Our next section of the 100 best players goes from 50 to 41. Compiled at the end of 2017, take a look at who makes the cut
45 Josua Tuisova
Country Fiji Date of Birth 4.2.94 Position Wing
You better watch out if you’re marking Tuisova. Nicknames for this wing burst between the ‘Bus’ and the ‘Bulldozer’ whenever he plays for Toulon – and for very good reason.
If you’re running in to tackle the Fijian, there are short odds available on you bouncing back in the direction you first ran from. A long list of would-be tacklers who ended up looking like they’d been knocked overboard by a boom includes Thierry Dusautoir, Alivereti Raka and Nick Abendanon.
A lot is packed into what appears to be a small package. At 5ft 11in, you may not think he looks like much, but his 17st 2lb bulk seems permanently coiled and primed to go. At full tilt he can dip enough to channel his considerable power into one area – you.
However, he’s more than just a dodgem car. He can motor past players – you don’t get an Olympic gold medal with the Fijians if you can’t shift. And while his explosiveness contributes to big hits of his own, he can get over the ball too. Nabbing 12 turnovers for Toulon before the November Tests tells you just that.
44 Louis Picamoles
Country France Date of Birth 5.2.86 Position No 8
Saints fans saw how effective a player Picamoles is last season, his ability to make yards with ball in hand and push off defenders with his giant paws one of the healthier aspects of their campaign. His 45 Premiership offloads was off the scale. Now he’s back doing the same for Montpellier and France, returning as a fitter specimen after his time in England.
43 Siya Kolisi
Country South Africa Date of Birth 16.6.91 Position Back-row
His athleticism hasn’t always won over coaches but he’s now a regular starter for the Stormers and Boks, and has a leadership role with both. He puts his rangy stride to good use in the wide channels, as well as doing the dirty work of any good blindside.
42 Will Genia
Country Australia Date of Birth 17.6.88 Position Scrum-half
A World Player of the Year nominee in 2011, when he spearheaded the Reds’ champion Super Rugby side, Genia went off the radar through injury. Not now – he’s putting runners through holes, fizzing out passes and offering the running threat for which he’s been synonymous since his Test bow at 20.
41 David Pocock
Country Australia Date of Birth 23.4.88 Position Back-row
Although he has been away from the limelight, playing in Japan’s Top League and taking time out from the Wallabies, he is still one of rugby’s most frightening physical specimens – and the master of the jackal.
Our next section of the 100 best players…