Major teams: Lichfield
Test span: 2008-
The only current international player on our list, Emily Scarratt makes the grade as one of the most influential Test players in a generation.
Many will remember Scarratt best as the player who grabbed the 2014 World Cup final by the scruff of the neck with a dazzling try and accurate kicking display in a 16-point performance worthy of a player who has lit up the game since she was a teenager.
Those who have watched the English game in recent years will pick Scarratt out as a star in almost every match. Pace, strength and footwork are her hallmark but it’s her ability to ghost through a gap that has drawn comparisons with Brian O’Driscoll and, in recent years, her unique kicking style with Jonny Wilkinson.
Since the World Cup, where she finished as the top point-scorer, Scarratt has become a professional player, one of the group of English players who are playing rugby for a living as full-time sevens athletes.
Heralded by England captain Katy Mclean, a fellow former teacher, as a “phenomenal, world-class talent”, Scarratt is part of the GB women’s sevens outfit for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
And rugby is lucky to have her. The rangy and athletic centre turned down a US basketball scholarship aged 16 before making her international debut in 2008 and scoring 12 tries in 12 games having come through the age-group ranks.
She won the Rugby Union Writers’ Club Pat Marshall Memorial Award as the sport’s personality of the year for 2014 as well as the RPA England Women’s Players’ Player in 2013. She will be adding to her list of achievements, with plenty of time left in the game.