Our next section of the 100 best players goes from 80 to 71. Take a look at who makes the cut

The 100 Best Rugby Players In The World: 80-71

80 Scott Fardy

Leinster’s Backbone: Fardy has become a vital cog in Leinster’s success (Getty Images)

Age 34 (5.7.84) Position Lock/back-row

The real rugby fan’s real rugby man. Already loved Down Under, last season the Wallaby was at his niggly best as part of the Leinster juggernaut. He does the nuts and bolts well – kick-chase, ruck clears, latching onto ball-carriers – and can distribute too. A reassuring presence and named in the Pro14 Dream Team.

79 Kelly Brazier

Code Switcher: Brazier switches between forms of the game brilliantly (Getty Images)

Age 29 (28.10.89) Position Centre

Having helped NZ qualify for the next Olympics, Brazier will next be playing Test rugby as part of the squad for the Women’s Super Series. She glides effortlessly between codes much like she does between prospective tacklers and is a fine rugby tactician.

78 Will Skelton

Instant Success: Wallaby Skelton has been a big hit for Saracens (Getty Images)

Age 27 (3.5.92) Position Lock

This Aussie has long been described as a ‘giant’ but is achieving greater success since slimming down. Losing more than three stone over the past 18 months, he made such an impact for double winners Saracens that he was named Players’ Player of the Year. Director of Rugby Mark McCall has called him “a revelation”.

77 Elliot Daly

One the Move: Daly is Saracens bound next year (Getty Images)

Age 26 (8.10.92) Position Back three

A club 13, England 15 and Lion wing – Daly is a moveable feast. Yet all agree that he has to play. His blistering pace scares the life out of defences and he can welly the ball vast distances. Occasional lapses let him down but Saracens have signed a diamond.

76 Jessy Tremouliere

Fantastic Full-back: Tremouliere was a big loss during France’s 2019 Six Nations campaign (Getty Images)

Age 26 (29.7.92) Position Full-back

A knee injury limited her involvement in this year’s Six Nations, but she was so central to the 2018 Grand Slam that she was Women’s World Player of the Year. She works on the family farm when not representing France in sevens or 15s, is a lithe runner and has a kicking game no doubt helped by her footballing youth.

75 Quade Cooper

Formidable Partnership: Back playing alongside Will Genia, Cooper has found his mojo again (Getty Images)

Age 31 (5 April 1988) Position Fly-half

It should have gone off the rails, right? Having spent a year playing at domestic level after Queensland Reds boss Brad Thorn said he didn’t want under-contract star Cooper in his stable, the mercurial fly-half should have returned to Super Rugby with Melbourne Rebels this season and bombed.

Well, he’s been blowing up in an entirely different way. Back in tow with favourite half-back partner Will Genia, Cooper has sparked with the franchise. Coach Dave Wessels has said Cooper is “probably a once-in-a-generation player, he can do some things that make you go, ‘Gee, how did that happen?’”

Remember, too, that Cooper hasn’t played for the Wallabies since 2017. In March, Michael Cheika said of Cooper’s potential return: “It’s just a matter of him getting more games in the saddle. With that, I have no doubt he will come into strong contention for selection.”

Whatever you make of the playmaker’s lifestyle choices, his relationship with authority, his dalliances with pro boxing, his rank stint at Toulon or his season in the wilderness, you can’t deny his impact. When he is well-supported and focused, he can flay a defence with an angled run, a dinked kick, a looping pass and a face-splitting grin. He’s having fun again.

74 Jack Nowell

Immovable Object: Nowell is incredibly difficult to get to the ground (Getty Images)

Age 26 (11.4.93) Position Back three

“The new breed of player” according to Eddie Jones, who mooted using the Exeter wing as a ninth forward for England. A Test Lion in NZ, he relishes the rough stuff and his ball-carrying is exceptional – his 74% gain-line success the best in the Six Nations.

73 Semi Radradra

Fiji’s X-Fator: Radrada can cause something out of nothing at all levels of the game (Getty Images)

Age 26 (13.7.92) Position Centre

In the space of three weeks last year, he starred for the Barbarians, helped Fiji win the London Sevens and scored a try on his Test debut. In fact, he’s marked every Test he’s played with a try, including an historic win over France. Changes pace and direction so smoothly that defences can’t read his next move. A danger man.

72 Tomas Francis

Significant Armoury: Francis continues to add many strings to his bow (Getty Images)

Age 27 (27.4.92) Position Prop

Francis’s form this year has merited comparisons with Adam Jones, who is from the same village, Abercrave, as the grandmother who qualified this Exeter Chief for Wales. Always a destructive scrummager, Francis has added ball-carrying to his armoury.

71 Justin Tipuric

Grand Slammer: Tipuric was one vital piece of Wales’ incredible 2019 Six Nations (Getty Images)

Age 29 (6.8.89) Position Flanker

The Ospreys and Wales openside might be a shy and retiring character in normal life, but out there in the heat of battle he’s as eloquent as can be. Tipuric is simply a ferocious rugby player. A menace at the breakdown, a key man in defence, a totem of the Grand Slam team of 2019. Hard, uncompromising and very often unstoppable.

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