Our next section of the 100 best players goes from 60 to 51. Compiled at the end of 2017, take a look at who makes the cut

55 Jack Nowell

Crowd pleaser: Nowell celebrates Exeter’s Premiership triumph (Getty Images)

Country England Date of Birth 11.4.93 Position Wing

There are quicker wings but none as industrious as Nowell, who made 20 carries in last year’s Premiership final. “He’s a sensational player,” says Lions coach Warren Gatland. “I’d love him in my team every week.”

54 Damian McKenzie

Pure Energy: McKenzie last season led Super Rugby in several attacking stats (Getty Images)

Country New Zealand Date of Birth 20.4.95 Position Full-Back

McKenzie is one of the most exciting and entertaining players on the planet. When he is on the pitch, the ball is never dead, because he is all too willing to take a gamble and try something which will open the game up. As a result, there are some in New Zealand who do not like his cavalier attitude, but what they cannot deny is the Chiefs man is a box-office star.

53 Liam Williams

Liam Williams

Natural-born thriller: Liam Williams used to be a scaffolder (Getty Images)

Country Wales Date of Birth 9.4.91 Position Back three

The fact Williams almost slipped through the Scarlets net, putting up scaffolding before a rugby career beckoned, is impossible to comprehend when you’ve seen the chaos he caused in All Blacks ranks while running from deep for the Lions. An effective wing and devastating counter-attacking full-back, he is one of the world’s premier back-three players.

52 Anthony Watson

Try time: Watson’s pace makes him very difficult to stop (Getty Images)

Country England Date of Birth 26.2.94 Position Back three

If there was one player you’d back to translate his natural fast-twitch fibres to athletics, it is Watson. The Bath wing is seen by many as England’s full-back in the long term. He is seriously rapid in unstructured play, his gallop and fast feet making him the Lions’ first-choice right-wing.

51 Sonatane Takulua

Falcon Heart: Takalua has been impressing in the Premiership (Getty Images)

Country Tonga Date of Birth 11.1.91 Position Scrum-half

The Tongan has topped the Premiership charts this season for fewest errors made per pass. He can scuttle, too, and knows where the try-line is, but what stands out is his kicking skill-set. When box-kicking, playing corners or at the tee, he bends games to his will. Lee Dickson says he’s the Premiership’s form nine. “Everything Newcastle do well he’s at the heart of it.”

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