With the majority of 2014 over and done with we look at the top 10 blindside flankers this year and rank them in descending order…
Los Pumas blindside Pablo Matera has put in a string of solid performances this year and has ensured that recent injuries to Lobbe haven’t destabilised his side too much.
It’s unbelievable to think that Smith had to retire due to injury not so long ago. He’s now back and playing exceptionally for Toulon which has seen him earn a recall to the Springboks squad.
Lydiate has had a torrid time in the French capital this year where he struggled to even make the bench. He has however proved himself in a Welsh jersey and look to be getting back to his best form.
The return of Jerome Kaino has been somewhat unfortunate for Liam Messam, however there are no doubts that after the World Cup he is likely to be a regular starter.
6.Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe
There’s no doubting that when fit Lobbe is the kind of player who can carry Los Pumas and can act as a decisive game changer leading from the front and putting his experience to good use.
Coetzee has become an absolute monster for the Springboks over the last 12 months in particular. A huge ball carrier who relishes the big hits, he’s the kind of player the Boks have become renowned for.
Injuries have somewhat disrupted Alberts season in 2014, however when fully fit he has been one of the stand-out blindside’s in the world. The Boks will be hoping he is fit for the World Cup.
O’Mahony may not be the biggest blindside on this list, but there’s no doubting his influence for Ireland. He plays a lot like a seven and has become extremely effective at disrupting the oppositions ball.
The return of Kaino from Japan has been a huge boost for the All Blacks who have thrown him straight back into the team where he has not disappointed at any stage.
Gorgodze’s transition from lock to flanker has been an inspired move as he has completely dominated back row play in Europe over the last few seasons. He’s also been a key man for an improving Georgian side.
Who do you think has been the best blindside flanker in the world during 2014?