Players we enjoyed watching in 2018

Beauden Barrett was nominated for World Rugby Player of the Year in 2018
Beauden Barrett was nominated for World Rugby Player of the Year in 2018

Live or on TV there has been numerous performances on the rugby pitch that have caught our intention. As we sat down as rugby union fans to put together our team of 2018, the TRU team discussed criteria for inclusion. We talked data, we talked rankings, we talked statistics, we talked systems and we talked algorithms - plenty of talking rugby union!

Our conclusion, lets select 5 players who have made us smile with their on field performances. Some of the team were heads to say “that’s not sport, that’s entertainment.”

In truth that’s the point, who has entertained us all in 2018? Well here are our 5:

Beauden Barrett
Garry Ringrose
Faf de Klerk
Peter O’Mahony
Tadhg Furlong

Given the season the Irish rugby team has had there should be no surprise that 3 of their number are included

Beauden Barrett has been called out by some media analysts for lack of consistency in 2018; perhaps its that fact that has caused him to entertain rugby fans whether with a 10 or 15 on his back. His speed across the ground always put the opposition on notice; his hands are soft and creative and his rugby brain sees space. Watching him is a must for all rugby fans and in 2019 he will be a massive contributor to the All Blacks.

Garry Ringrose is the attacking future for Irish rugby. At the 2017 British and Irish Lions launch at a pub in London, we asked the great Brian O’Driscoll what the future held for Ringrose - he was complimentary but thought it would take him a few years to cement his place; and in super quick time he has done just that. However, its the manner in which he plays that brings a smilie to our face; his gliding runs, the arc, the inside step and clean breaks. During 2019 we expect his try count to grow and grow.

Faf de Klerk brought massive smiles to northwest rugby fans today, signing a new contract with Sale Sharks. There is no doubting the impact he has had and we expect it to continue with Sale and South Africa. He’s super confident, he’s nuggety and creates pace & space. In 2019 he will be fundamental to the Springboks’ RWC chances.

Peter O’Mahony has an old fashioned approach to his rugby from what we see in his performances for Munster and Ireland. That’s what so many rugby union fans love about him. They notice his hard work, they applaud his graft and leadership. Those playing against him recognise his lineout expertise and his toughness at the breakdown. We love those cheeky lineout steals.

Tadhg Furlong is a tight head prop who has the hands of a fly half and the carrying of a back row. Physically strong and technically proficient, he dominates his opposition loosehead. His ability across the park makes the team here smile and we love watching his performances. He will rule the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Five players who made us smile in 2018 - enjoy