The eight scariest Tier Two rugby players
WORLD CUP COUNTDOWN: One of the best things about the World Cup is that Tier Two nations get a chance to truly show how competitive they are against some of rugby’s powerhouses.
Each tournament, the gap between the top and the bottom seems to shorten and 2019 is unlikely to buck that trend. Many Tier Two teams have some world-class players that will trouble every side, so here are the scariest players:
Racing 92’s Nakarawa possesses a skill set that very few rugby players on the planet have. The lock’s offloading ability separates him from many others as he has established himself as one of the best players in Europe over the past few years. He was named the 2018 European Player of the Year, as he stunned opponents will his capacity to distribute the ball almost every time he was in possession. He is dangerous whenever the ball is in his hands, and any team facing him should be wary.
USA international and former NFL fullback Lasike is quite an intimidating prospect, and a player that could cause some damage at the World Cup in Japan. He made the move to Rugby Union in 2018 and soon joined Harlequins, although his first season never really got going. However, at almost 18 stone, the centre could steamroll his way into international recognition later this year with some brutal hits in attack and defence.
Scary players do not necessarily always need to be the most powerful on the pitch, as some of the diminutive players can cause as much havoc. Japan’s slippery wing Fukuoka is one of those players, as England found out last Autumn, as he was able to run rings around the defence.
When it comes to natural sidesteppers, Sinoti is one of the best around. The Newcastle Falcons winger’s unique footwork is matched with a lot of power, and he is a sight to behold when in space. While he has not always been selected by Samoa, he was recalled in 2018, and many fans, particularly in England, feel he should be at the World Cup. Any defender lining him up will be terrified as he has a long history of making would-be tacklers look very foolish.
Georgian forwards seem born to scrummage and Toulon’s tighthead Chilachava is no exception. The robust prop will cause nightmares for any player packing down opposite him, as he will spearhead a Georgian scrum that will never take a backwards step.
Capable of playing in the second-row or back-row, Canada’s Ardron has just come off a brilliant Super Rugby season with the Chiefs and was a nominee for Fans’ Player of the Year. The Canadian possesses brute strength which makes him hard to put down and has a relentless work rate, meaning he will be a handful for the full 80 minutes.
Halanukonuka is a player that brings true Tongan physicality to whomever he players for, and that is why he has been a popular figure with the Glasgow Warriors since joining in 2017. The tighthead prop is extremely solid at the scrum and is known for the occasional rampaging run with ball in hand.
While Nakarawa is one of Fiji’s forwards that will strike fear into the opposition, Radradra is another to do so in the backline. The former Rugby League star surely made the move to union in 2017 to feature in Japan, and he could be a major success. He can play on the wing or in the centres and is known for his searing running lines and ability to simply glide round defenders. However, standing at 6ft 3, he packs a shedload of power as well, and brings a lot of physicality from his days in league, particularly in defence. A backline partnership with Josua Tuisova will scare the opposition senseless.
By Josh Raisey