New Zealand rugby is on top of the world right now and seems to always dominate generally anyway. They’ve won multiple Rugby Championships, World Cups and their clubs dominate Super Rugby.
To play for the All Blacks, you have to play for one of the five New Zealand-based teams. This has lead to the majority of the players staying put but many have ventured out into the world in more recent years. Europe has been the destination for many Kiwis, thanks to the offer of high wages, so here are the top five All Blacks in Europe.
Despite not hitting the heights we usually associate Ma’a Nonu with, nobody can doubt his brilliance. The inside centre is one half of one the greatest centre partnerships there has or ever will be.
His physicality, speed and technical skills makes it impossible for his opponents. In his second season at Toulon, Nonu will be hoping that Mike Ford can reenergise their back line. Supposing the All Blacks centre can be given the ball more, Toulon are likely to become of Europe’s greatest force once again.
It is impossible to argue with the inclusion of Dan Carter in this list as he’s regarded by some as the best player to have ever played the game.
Racing 92’s fly-half led them to domestic glory and an agonising runners up spot in the Champions Cup. With his pinpoint kicking, glorious awareness and ridiculous range of passing he’s the best fly half in the league by a country mile.
The other half of that world class centre partnership is, of course, Conrad Smith. Pau’s outside centre is a key part in their team and creates chance after chance.
He has such a wide range of skills that he can just win games on his own. After making new signings this summer, Smith will be fancying Pau’s chances for the upcoming campaign.
The only man in the list to be in the form of their life – and playing outside of the Top 14 – is Charles Piutau. Last season, he deserved player of the season if it wasn’t for Alex Goode.
His ability to catch a high ball, run and beat the defenders while also being strong in defence make him a great player to have in your side. Ulster will be relishing the opportunity to unleash the beast this season. Keep an eye of the top try scorer this season because there’s no doubt Piutau will be up there!
La Rochelle’s new signing has led the side to the top of the Top 14. Victor Vito knows what it’s like to win a domestic competition as he is off the back of winning the Super Rugby title.
He was tremendous in the Super Rugby final and La Rochelle will be eager to see him replicate that. Vito is one of those players that are so good they could play in the backs or the forwards because of his ball skills.
Patrick Perry, Pundit Arena
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