With club rugby competitions around the globe well into their respective seasons and an upcoming June international window we take a look at the 7 in-form openside flankers in rugby right now;
1. Steffon Armitage
Despite having spend a fair bit of this season playing as a number 8 most would still claim Armitage’s primary position is openside. Despite looking unlikely to tour this June due to not playing in England there is no doubt amongst most fans that Armitage is currently England’s best openside option, and possibly the stand out 7 in the Northern Hemisphere right now. The clip below is a recent demonstration of the power he has.
2. Luke Braid
The Blues may not be enjoying the most successful of seasons as they sit bottom of the New Zealand conference (although they are 9th in the overall standing) but skipper Luke Braid has been a shining light in the side. Braid may not be the flashiest of players but his hard work and total commitment to the team have seen him become an integral part of John Kirwan’s side.
3. Sean O’Brien
O’Brien may have been on the sidelines since December after dislocating his shoulder and then picking up an infection but that does not stop him making the list. The openside affectionately known as the Tullow Tank is a monster in both defence and attack for Ireland and Leinster and was sorely missed despite Ireland claiming the 6 Nations title.
4. Thierry Dusautoir
Another player on the list who has been plagued by injuries this season the France and Toulouse captain is a key component of both sides. He is not the loudest player on the pitch but leads by example putting his body on the line for the team. There is no doubt that France missed Dusautoir’s leadership and breakdown skills as they ended another 6 Nations campaign in disappointment.
5. Michael Hooper
This was a close call between Hooper and Pocock but given the latters recent injury record it’s hard to know exactly where his form’s at given how little he’s actually played. Hooper however has ensured that the Wallabies haven’t missed Pocock over the last couple of seasons. Hooper has been a key man for both the Warratahs and Wallabies in their recent runs of form.
6. Jacques Burger
The Saracens man may be reliant on an ice machine to keep him going at the moment but despite this he has been truly outstanding for Saracens this season since his return from injury. His recent performance against Clermont saw him put in a monstrous 28 tackles against one of the most prolific teams in Europe. This kind of work rate has made him a real fan favourite at Allianz Park. Just see his hit below for proof oh his total commitment to the cause.
7. Francois Louw
The Bath and Springbok openside is having a super season for both club and country and shows no signs of slowing down. Louw faces stiff competition for the Springbok jersey but his all round game play have seen him an automatic first choice as he competes well on the floor whilst still being an effective ball carrier. Louw has proved time and again that he’s more than capable of going up against the World’s best and coming out on top.
Who do you think is the best openside flanker in the World right now?