We take a look at which one player could significantly improve the chances of each team at the Rugby World Cup this year…


Aaron Smith – Los Pumas are an improving force on the international stage, however a player like Aaron Smith who can control a game, and keep his team playing in the right areas of the pitch could make a huge difference.


Kieran Read – one potential area of concern for the Wallabies right now is the set piece, and most notably the line-out. Read would provide an additional line-out option, whilst also addressing their concerns over who should player number 8.


Ben Smith – a player with the skill and composure at the back like Smith could help give Canada more options both in attack and defence. They are in need of a number of players, however Smith helps them improve a number of areas.


Julian Savea – although England have a number of decent wingers, none of them would be considered world class at this stage. The inclusion of a player like Savea could really provide them with an added edge at the World Cup.


Dan Carter – Fiji have a fantastic side packed full of some really talented players, however sometimes struggle to pull it all together. Having Carter at 10 pulling the strings could really take them on to the next level.


Jean de Villiers – whilst the French side has plenty of talented players, they seem to struggle to come together as a team. Adding a player like de Villiers into the midfield could really help provide them with some much needed leadership.



Willie le Roux – the Georgians have an abundance of power all over the field, however what they lack is someone who can open up defences. A player like le Roux could help them control a game and score some tries.


Israel Folau – the Irish have a solid team across the board, capable of suffocating opponents. However, they currently lack the kind of player who can provide a moment of magic in the mould of a Folau.


David Pocock – Italy look to have quality throughout the side at the moment, however are perhaps lacking slightly in the back row. Parisse provides the go forward, however a breakdown specialist like Pocock could help them slow the opposition down.


Stuart Hogg – other than Jaques Burger, the Namibian side doesn’t have too many players of note. For that reason, including a real game changer in the side could make a big difference. Someone like Hogg comes with a huge skillset which could make a difference.

New Zealand

Dan Cole – everywhere you look, the All Blacks have a side packed to the rafters with talent. The one area that could potentially be improved upon is the front row, where a quality tighthead like Cole could provide some marginal advantage.


Eben Etzebeth – one area the Japanese could definitely benefit from, is in the power forwards category. Someone like Etzebeth could provide them with some much needed go forward, whilst adding a bit of menace to the pack.


Michael Hooper – it’s hard to imagine Romania causing any upsets at the World Cup this year, however a player like Hooper could make a slight difference. His leadership, work at the breakdown and running in open play could help.



Johnny Sexton – Samoa have an array of talented players who could do some damage at the World Cup, the issue is coordinating it all. A player like Sexton would bring some impressive game management to the side though.


Richie McCaw – although Scotland have good options in almost every position, the inclusion of a player like McCaw would give them some much needed extra depth both at the breakdown, and in terms of on-field leadership.

South Africa

Sergio Parisse – with Vermeulen looking likely to miss the World Cup, Parisse would be the ideal like-for-like replacement providing on-field leadership in addition to impressive ball carrying skills.


Matt Giteau – there are a number of talented players in the Tongan side, although probably too few to do too much damage at the World Cup. Having someone like Giteau giving their backline direction though could make a difference.


Duane Vermeulen – there are no guarantees he will even be fit, but having a powerful ball carrier on the field who also possesses leadership skills could help Uruguay at least challenge some of the more established nations.


Ma’a Nonu – there are a number of areas the USA need to develop before they become a force on the world stage, however a player like Nonu could really improve their game by providing power in the midfield, whilst also being able to kick well.


Conrad Smith – with Jonathan Davies set to miss the entire World Cup, Wales are looking a little lightweight in the number 13 shirt. A player with the experience, and calming presence of Smith could really make a difference.