We kick off our list of the 100 best players going from 100 to 91. Take a look at who makes the cut.

The 100 Best Players In The World: 100-91

Welcome to Rugby World’s definitive list of the 100 best players in the world right now.

Eighteen months have passed since Rugby World last compiled the ultimate list of the 100 best players in the world right now. It’s no easy task to put together, so as well as seeking the opinions of our writers from across the globe, we brought together a panel to debate who should make the cut.

Fiji’s gold medal-winning sevens coach Ben Ryan, Wasps Ladies director of rugby Giselle Mather, Welsh broadcaster Ross Harries and Kiwi writer Liam Napier joined us for the selection meeting after the European finals – and more than 200 names were thrown into the mix!

Cutting those down to 100 meant making tough decisions. Players’ recent form has been given precedence over previous achievements – Johnny Sexton is lower down the pecking order as it hasn’t quite clicked for him in 2019 – and we haven’t included those who’ve struggled with injury over the past year, the likes of Taulupe Faletau and David Pocock, as there is no form to judge them on.

Comparing players across competitions, positions and genders is difficult, so we looked at players’ influence in their teams as well as their skill-sets. You can see a breakdown of nationality, age and position of the top 100 here and turn over to see who makes the list.

We know it will spark opinions and we don’t expect you to agree with all our choices, which is why we want to know YOUR views. Is the right person at No 1? Who is too high or too low? Who have we excluded that you think should be in? Let us know through our social media channels.

100 Melani Matavao

Live Wire: Melani Matavao helped Samoa qualify for the World Cup (Getty Images)

Age 23 (19.11.95) Position Scrum-half

The word ‘livewire’ perfectly describes this rising star, who played a pivotal role in Samoa securing a spot at RWC 2019 with four tries in the two-legged play-off against Germany. He brings real tempo to Samoa’s attack and has progressed from local rugby in Samoa to earning a pro contract with Otago last year. Look out for this bright spark at the World Cup.

99 Sevu Reece

In the Frame: Reece could get a surprise call up for the All Blacks (Getty Images)

Age 22 (13.2.97) Position Wing

The Fijian has made the most of his rugby lifeline at the Crusaders after his Connacht deal was torn up due to a court appearance for domestic assault. His superb finishing has set Super Rugby alight this year, rapidly propelling him into the All Blacks frame. Loves a chip-and-chase.

98 Marcell Coetzee

On The Mend: After a poor run of injuries, Coetzee is back to his best (Getty Images)

Age 28 (8.5.91) Position Back-row

So rough had his injury history been that some may have forgotten that Coetzee was at Ulster. But last term he was at his confrontational best, thundering into collisions with trademark ferocity and getting Ulster’s Pro14 play-off hopes on the front foot. Such has been his form that many will be surprised if he doesn’t earn a Springboks recall for RWC 2019.

97 Ma’a Nonu

Still Going: Nonu is 37 but can clearly still compete at the highest level (Getty Images)

Age 37 (21.5.82) Position Centre

In the first half of the Blues versus Highlanders Super Rugby clash this year, Nonu caught a ball going right to left, flashed a dummy, turned on the burners for an outside break, drew a two-on-one and put away flanker Tom Robinson for a try. At the age of 36.

Much has been made of how ineffectual the centre was during his time at Toulon. But since his return to New Zealand this year he has caught plenty of headlines. His jet-heeled Blues team-mate Rieko Ioane recently said: “If the All Blacks team was picked today, based on form, he’d be in. He just brings so much experience, and different skill-sets than what we’re used to. His game would only lift being in that black jersey.”

When Nonu was winning his second World Cup in 2015, we came to realise that he has skills we never gave him credit for when he was younger: long passes, deft kicks, vision. In the winter of his career you have to marvel at how much these abilities still stand out amongst far younger athletes.

96 Cobus Reinach

Top Scorer: Reinach was joint highest try-scorer in the Premiership this season (Getty Images)

Age 29 (7.2.90) Position Scrum-half

King of the interception, he finished the Premiership’s regular season joint-top of the try chart with 12. “The way we defend gives me a lot of time at the back of the lineout to go for it,” says the Saints No 9. Once he’s picked off a pass, don’t bother chasing – he is lightning. Three Test starts is scant reward for his talent.

95 Félix Lambey

Modern Times: Lambey may not be huge, but he has skills on other departments (Getty Images)

Age 25 (15.3.94) Position Lock

You get the feeling Lambey could get the Dalai Lama to snap. The Lyon lock insinuates himself in physical confrontations, perhaps because so much attention in France falls on the fact he is not enormous. What he does also possess, though, are some sublime hands. A very modern lock.

94 Claire Molloy

Jack of All Trades: Openside Molloy can do it all (Getty Images)

Age 30 (22.6.88) Position Back-row

The only player from the Ireland XV that beat NZ at the 2014 Women’s World Cup who was a regular Six Nations starter in 2019. Yet the Wasps openside’s longevity isn’t her greatest strength; she’s the best in the game at getting over the ball, a tough defender and brilliant link player. On top of her rugby commitments, she has a high-pressure job as a doctor.

93 Alivereti Raka

Watch Out: Still to make his France debut, he could make some noise at the Rugby World Cup (Getty Images)

Age 24 (9.12.94) Position Wing

Injuries and politics have so far prevented the Fijian making his France debut, but he’s expected to make a big impact at Japan 2019 now he has both French citizenship and a passport. Clermont Auvergne’s Challenge Cup-winning campaign illustrates how dangerous he is out wide. He beat more defenders than anyone else – 34 in just five matches. That’s nearly seven opponents a match flummoxed by the winger. He also averaged two breaks and 100 metres a game.

Don’t just rely on stats, though. Ben Ryan described Raka as “box office” in Rugby World earlier this year before analysing his skill-set in detail.
“His MO is to clutch the ball in his left hand, ready to offload, which frees up his piston-like right arm for the ‘see you later’ fend,” says Ryan. “The third strand to his attacking game is his 1970s hip swerve. This, combined with his fend and balance, will get him past even the most able of defences. He’s more than a hard man to stop; he’s a pinballing force of nature.”

92 Stuart McInally

Colossal Captain: McInally is the beating heart of Scotland’s side (Getty Images)

Age 28 (9 August 1990) Position Hooker

When Scotland were in the deepest, darkest hole of their lives half an hour into the Calcutta Cup at Twickenham in March, they needed some kind of miracle to arrest their pitiful descent into humiliation. Trailing 31-0, somebody needed to step up. McInally did precisely that. His try, from 65m out, gave Scotland belief that a comeback was possible. That chargedown encapsulated him. The awareness to read Owen Farrell’s intentions, the skill to pick up the ball, the pace and determination to outrun the retreating Farrell and Jonny May.

McInally has a huge heart and a huge engine. He’s a hooker who probably doesn’t get talked about as much as he should outside Scotland, but ask anybody who has played with him or coached him and you hear about his leadership, his relentless setting of standards, his work-rate, his durability. His season petered out a little with Edinburgh. He deserved better. Forced to withdraw from Scotland’s World Cup squad on the eve of the tournament four years ago, he’s longing to get to Japan. He may yet go there as captain.

91 Agustin Creevy

Centurion: Creevy is set to become the first Puma with 100 caps (Getty Images)

Age 34 (15.3.85) Position Hooker

Many expected Creevy to move to Europe to finish his distinguished career after RWC 2019, but he has re-signed for two more years with the UAR. A powerful set-piece colossus with a penchant for jackling, the former Pumas captain is still a huge asset to the Jaguares and Argentina. He’s set to become the first Puma to play 100 Tests.

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