As our enquiry into good signing targets continues, we look into the vital position of scrum-half. Finding a scrum half, with both explosive flair and a good kicking and distribution skill set, who is available and cheap is a rare feat. Here is five who could fit that role.
Name: Jonny Arr
Club: Worcester Warriors
What they offer: A favourite at Worcester, Arr is unlucky not to have been given more of a chance as a starter. He is one of those number 9s who seems to get the decisive sniping tries, but also provides continuous quick delivery.
Likelihood of Leaving: Worcester’s relegation means many of their crucial players will leave to seek a higher level, so any top league clubs would have a good chance of obtaining the Englishman. He has however been at Worcester his whole career, which means he may be the type of player to stay through loyalty.
Who should sign them: Any top league side who needs a good scrum-half at a cheap price.
Name: Nick Frisby
Club: Queensland Reds
What they offer: A small magician, making chances and tries out of nothing, a pure creative threat. Frisby also has a good kicking game.
Likelihood of Leaving: Frisby only benches for the Reds due to him competing with one of the best scrum-halves in the world, Will Genia. If a side could guarantee more game time that the electric 9 deserves, they could definitely be in with a shout of obtaining the Australian.
Who should sign them: A side needing more attacking flair in their backline.
Name: Martin Landajo
Club: Argentinian Club Side
What they offer: Another attack orientated scrum-half, Landajo could certainly be part of a solution to a stale backline. In the Rugby Championship, he has often showed that even sides putting his team on the back-foot can’t prevent the small Argentinian international from creating chances.
Likelihood of Leaving: It seems hard to believe that Landajo has never been approached by a top level club, so the fact that he hasn’t played for one suggests he doesn’t want to leave his home country of Argentina. However, there does still seem a good chance that he would want a taste of top club rugby in his career at some point.
Who should sign them: A side needing to fix the problem of a stale backline.
Name: Jeremy Sua
Club: Worcester Warriors
What they offer: Sua never does the irritating scrum-half habit of standing over the ball, waiting to look at his options for 5 seconds. Sua has the anticipation to make correct decisions, and quickly. As a result, the Samoa scrum-half provides quick distribution, which makes opposition defences unprepared. Guys like Frisby or Landajo are better for an attacking spark (although Sua can provide that too), but the current Worcester 9 has his main assets in effective distribution.
Likelihood of Leaving: Relegated teams are a perfect hunting ground for recruitment, especially for players who are likely to go to the World Cup (as they hope to prepare with Top League intensity).
Who should sign them: A side who need more effective distribution from their scrum halves.
Name: Fumiaki Tanaka
What they offer: The Japan international has great attacking skill and pace. His creative traits are his most clear assets, but Tanaka also shows great determination in defence. Despite being under 12 stone, and 5 ft 5 tall, he puts in hard tackles at the legs to be a competitive defender.
Likelihood of Leaving: Tanaka seems to love life in New Zealand, but Super 15 wages can’t match the big budgets in Europe, which seems to be the only clubs who could sway him from New Zealand.
Who should sign them: As mentioned, a European side. As Tanka is 29, he also may want to try the European leagues now before approaching the twilight of his career.