10 September 2015
Rugby World Cup 2015 – 4 Players to Watch
The Rugby World Cup 2015 is fast approaching and in the Paragon office we’re going rugby mad with ‘Rugby’s Biggest Year – The Gala Dinner‘ kicking off the festivities on Tuesday, followed by England’s first match against Fiji next Friday. There is so much to look forward to.
Israel Folau (Australia)
While many have made the switch from the 13-man game to the XVs code, few can claim to have played all three forms of Australia’s most-beloved oval-ball sports at the highest level, with Folau having made the move to Union from Aussie Rules Football. Tall (Folau is 1.93m), strong, supremely fit and fleet of foot for a man weighing in at 103kgs, Folau may be the most celebrated footballer in a country that loves nothing more than celebrating its footballers. When he gets a ball in his hand, a current of electricity surges through the stadium in expectation that the Australian fullback is about to do something special. His sense of timing is impeccable, joining the Wallabies line of attack to create an extra man or finish off flowing moves. A bona fide rugby star.
Stuart Hogg (Scotland)
The fullback doubles up as both Scotland’s best defender and most potent attacking weapon. His form in the Six Nations, where Scotland finished bottom having failed to win a single game, was scintillating, with three cover tackles on rampaging England runners in the opening 10 minutes, the only thing that kept the scoreline respectable.
Sergio Parisse (Italy)
Rome produced many inspiring leaders from Caesar to Marcus Aurelius but on the rugby field Sergio Parisse is Emperor. The Italian has carried the Azzurri for much of his 13 years in the national team, making his international bow as a raw 18-year-old back row and maturing into one of the planet’s most fearsome No 8s. The Stade Francais stalwart has great hands and breaks the gainline with monotonous regularity. The one Italian player other teams genuinely fear.
Mike Brown (England)
The safest pair of hands in any sport that involves a ball – round or oval. Whether it’s defusing bombs under his own posts or leaping like a salmon over an opposition defender to claim a high ball to get his side on the front foot, few are equal to the England fullback. Brown regularly gains vital yards with the ball in hand and is a monster in the tackle. England’s unsung hero.