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Some of the finest debuts

FEATURE: You never get a second chance to make a first impression.


Nowhere is that old age saying truer than in rugby.

A debut can set a platform to a successful career, but in some cases, it could also be the first step on the road to failure.

Here are some of the finest debuts:

Stefan Terblanche

Four tries in a Test match is always a remarkable feat, so it was all the more impressive for Springbok Stefan Terblanche on debut in 1998.

The wing scored after three minutes and left a trail of sprawling Irish defenders in his wake on the Bloemfontein turf, showing how evasive and hard to contain he was.

The South African went onto accumulate 37 Test caps, scoring 19 tries, which included five in a single match against Italy in 1999.

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Breyton Paulse

Dream starts and Paulse are no strangers.

The wing garnered attention from the start of his top-flight rugby career with a hat-trick of tries in his first Currie Cup match for Western Province in 1996.

Three years later he finally made his first Springboks appearance when Italy visited in 1999.

During his debut in green and gold jersey, a very young and agile Paulse showed off his amazing talent as he scored a hat-trick of tries during the Springboosk 74-3 win over Azzuri in Port Elizabeth.


And as they say, the rest was history.

The wing went onto to score 26 tries in his eight-year-long Test career.

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Julian Savea

Savea is another player who showed early signs of his great talent

At just 21-years of age, Savea stole the hearts of New Zealand fans. The All Blacks wing started his Test career with a hat-trick against Ireland in 2012.

Since then, Savea has made 54 appearances and scored 46 tries for his country.

Dan Carter

The All Blacks flyhalf’s international bow hinted at the feats that would follow.

Starting at inside centre, where he first made his name in black, against Wales in 2003, Carter scored the first 20 of his 1598 international points. This included one try, six conversions and a penalty, as well as an assist for Tana Umaga’s try.

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Israel Folau

A very unfortunate ending to a very impressive career.

Folau was thrown in at the deep end for his Wallabies debut in 2013 in the first Test against the British and Irish Lions.

While there are others that have amassed better stats on debut, none have done it against the opposition of this calibre. Playing on the wing, Folau scored two tries, including a world-class finish for his second, in which he beat three defenders. With his trademark aerial supremacy, the Wallaby gave a glimpse of the player he was going to be in the succeeding years.


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