Compiled in 2017, take a look at who has made it into the top ten of our 100 Best Players In The World list
6 Stuart Hogg
Country Scotland Date of Birth 24.6.92 Position Full-back
Scotland’s very own Billy Whizz, Hogg has searing pace, vision and classic ‘draw and give’ execution. He can welly the ball a mile or put in a deft grubber behind the line. Player of the Six Nations for the past two years, his 17 Test tries attest to his attacking brio.
Related: Downtime with Stuart Hogg
5 Israel Folau
Country Australia Date of Birth 3.4.89 Position Full-back
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Well, it ain’t Superman but Folau jumps just as high. The former Aussie Rules and league star can run too. The full-back began a short hiatus from rugby recently, having been in high demand since his arrival in union in 2013, but his form last year was electric. Twelve tries in ten Tests = wow.
4 Maro Itoje
Country England Date of Birth 28.10.94 Position Lock
Itoje has been a colossal figure behind a Six Nations Grand Slam, a Champions Cup double and a salvaged Lions series in New Zealand, the Londoner starting the two unbeaten Tests after a bench role for the defeat in Auckland.
His greatest asset is his physicality in a sport that demands it in bucketloads, while his energy and work-rate have been labelled “absolutely phenomenal” by Warren Gatland. The Lions coach added: “I love his energy at training; his chatting and enthusiasm.”
When George Kruis was dropped for the second Lions Test, Itoje called the lineouts for the first time on tour. He’s one of the best stealers in world rugby, whether in the lineout or at the breakdown – he made the most turnovers in last year’s Six Nations.
He is also a scrummaging beast, often packing down behind England’s tighthead even when playing at six.
There are crinkles in his game, not least conceding too many penalties, but the 2015-16 European Player of the Year has the world at his feet.
Beauden Barrett narrowly misses out on top spot…