We take a look at the ten most integral players at this years World Cup, and how they could impact their sides chances…
*Note, no All Blacks or Springboks where included as we felt they have no player they are particularly reliant on.
Robshaw has come in for plenty of criticism during his tenure as England captain, despite being an exemplary member of the team. Whilst he may not quite be in the class of a Richie McCaw, as openside flankers go he’s right up there. The key question will be though, whether he can lead his team during difficult games, and make the right decisions on the field.
The Samoan scrum half joins a host of talented players, but he is no doubt one of their very best. His leadership, and ability to control the tempo of a game will be key to ensuring Samoa are in with the very best chance of qualifying from their group.
Los Pumas will be hoping to make a big statement at this years World Cup, ahead of their inaugural season in Super Rugby. In Nicholas Sanchez they have a quality young fly half who can help ignite their back line behind their already impressive pack. If Sanchez can play to the best of his ability, Argentina could be set for a big World Cup.
The Scotland full back is their stand-out player, and is a key player both in attack and defence. Whilst they have adequate cover at full back in the likes of Sean Maitland, Scotland look like an entirely different side without Hogg. If they are to have any hope of making it out of their group, then they will have to hope Hogg is firing on all cylinders.
Although the Wallabies backline contains a number of quality players, Folau is the one genuinely world class talent. If they are to make it through the ‘Group Of Death’, the Wallabies will need Folau to be playing at his absolute best as he is capable of tearing defences apart. The other full back options don’t exactly inspire confidence either.
The Fijian’s could cause an upset or two in the so called ‘Group Of Death’, especially if their giant centre/winger Nemani Nadolo is playing at his very best. He has just had another superb season for the Crusaders, and the Fijians will be hoping he can continue this form into the World Cup later this year.
Wales coach Warren Gatlane will be praying that tighthead prop Samson Lee can return to fitness in time for the World Cup. With veteran prop Adam Jones seemingly out of favour, the cupboard looks pretty bare behind Lee. They need to get him fit, and playing at his very best in order to ensure that the Welsh scrum stands up.
The Italian captain is one of the worlds very best players, and would no doubt have claimed many more honours by now if he played for one of the worlds best sides. He is capable of dragging a sometimes struggling Italian side through tough games, and is well known for moments of magic that can turn a game.
France truly are the basket case of international rugby, yet somehow their captain Dusautoir just about manages to hold them together. Without his influence on the team, we have seen them completely fall apart on a number of occasions. If he can remain fit, then who knows what the French may be capable of.
Both Sexton, and half back partner Conor Murray are absolutely integral to Ireland’s chances at the World Cup this summer. Without the pair of them, Ireland just simply aren’t the same side. Of the two, Sexton is absolutely key given his ability to control a game with the boot, and keep Ireland playing in the right areas of the field.