Continuing on in our top 10 series, this time we take a look at the 10 best scrum halves in rugby right now and rank them based on current form.
10. Mike Phillips
Phillips may not quite be the players he once was, but he has overcome a difficult year or two to reclaim the Welsh number nine shirt. Phillips is a great physical presence on the field, often acting as an additional back row player whilst also offering leadership around the field. In the absence of any other options he will also be a key player for Wales during the World Cup.
9. Jonathan Pelissie
Possibly the most underrated played in French rugby at the moment, somehow the international selectors continue to overlook one of the most exciting talents in the Top 14. Since his move to Montpellier, Pelissie has proved his attacking class where he excels and has all the attributes necessary to help kick-start a floundering French team.
8. Connor Murray
The last 18 months has been absolutely key for Murray who seems to have matured rapidly into one of Ireland’s most influential players. Murray uses his physical presence and distribution skills to good use to help break up play and create space for players around him. He was also a key member of this years Six Nations winning side.
7. Tawera Kerr Barlow
Tawera Kerr Barlow may not be a first choice All Black, however he has ensured that should anything happen to Aaron Smith that keeps him out of action, Steve Hansen has no reason to panic. Kerr Barlow is an excellent option to bring off the bench as opponents tire and see one world class scrum half being replaced by another.
6. Fourie du Preez
Fourie du Preez’s move to Japan has been a huge blow to the Springboks given that it has reduced his availability for the national side. Despite being restricted in the number of games he is able to play for South Africa, du Preez has still been a key member of the team over the last couple of seasons winding back the years to show what a class act he still is.
5. Morgan Parra
The French may have had an 18 months to forget, however scrum half Morgan Parra has been consistent throughout. One of the most experienced players around, Parra has an ability to make it seem like he has more time than the players around him. There’s no doubting that he will be absolutely key to French World Cup hopes next year.
4. Ruan Pienaar
Pienaar has become one of the most valuable players in the Northern Hemisphere in recent seasons as he has become the beating heart of an impressive Ulster side. His form was so good last season that he was drafted back into the Springboks squad where he has been an ever present since.
3. Khan Fotuali’i
Fotuali’i may not have started off last season how he would have hoped for, however after finding his feet at Franklins Gardens he quickly became the sides first choice scrum half and helped guide them to the Premiership and Amlin Cup titles. As complete a scrum half as they come, Fotuali’i is capable of adapting to any situation and making the most of it.
2. Danny Care
Care may have been left out in the international wilderness after a number of years where he was better known for his exploits off the field than on it. Over the last couple of years however he has applied himself superbly and now looks to be one of the most complete scrum halves around. His pace and quick thinking regularly help him to exploit holes in opponents defences.
1. Aaron Smith
Aaron Smith has added a completely different dimension to the All Blacks since stepping into the number nine shirt. His quick thinking and distribution mean he always keeps his team on the front foot and helps open up gaps for those around him. He also expertly draws plenty of attention from the opposition defence for others to exploit.
Who do you think is the best scrum half in the world right now?