Southern hemisphere rugby is rightly considered king but there’s still plenty of talent here in Europe that would create a stir down south.
Here are seven northern hemisphere stars who would shine in the Super 15:
1. George North
The 6ft 4in, 17 stone powerhouse was outstanding in the Six Nations: finishing the tournament as the top try scorer with four tries, making the most metres gained and the highest number of defenders beaten. A constant threat with ball in hand, the Six Nations marked a welcome return to form for the Northampton flyer.
Fast, powerful and devastating in open play, North showed what he can do down south during the Lions first test down under in 2013, with an outstanding long range try. Playing a more expansive, open brand of rugby would suit him down to the ground and he would be sure to cause defences a whole host of problems.
2. Stuart Hogg
The 2016 RBS Six Nations Player of the Championship was excellent from start to finish and capped off an outstanding tournament with a superb solo effort against Ireland. Blessed with great feet, raw pace and an ability to run dangerous angles, Hogg is a constant threat to opposing defences.
Always looking to attack, the Super 15’s brand of rugby would suit the Glasgow man down to the ground. The hard pitches of Australia and South Africa would also suit him and his booming boot would be a big asset on the highveld of South Africa. A bit of sun on his back would go down a treat too I’m sure.
3. Toby Faletau
Consistently excellent, the Tongan-born star topped the 2016 Six Nations tackling charts with 69 hits. Powerful, dynamic, with good hands, the 25 year-old Dragons man is the embodiment of the modern day No 8. Fierce in defence, good with ball in hand, and a highly effective ball carrier, Faletau can do it all.
His pace, athleticism and ball playing skills would fit right into Super 15 and he would be a valuable asset to any Super 15 team. His consistency and all round skills mark him out as one of the world’s best N0. 8s.
4. Maro Itoje
The 21-year-old burst onto the international scene with two eye-catching performances against Ireland and Wales and has a massive future ahead of him.
He’s an excellent lineout jumper, robust defender and powerful ball carrier who is especially comfortable with ball in hand. Itoje can become one of the world’s greatest.
Athletic, quick and loves to get his hands on the ball, the Saracens man has been compared to Australian great John Eales. The fast, flowing, high-tempo Super 15 would match his game and he would undoubtedly be a hit.
5. Rhys Webb
Recently back from injury, the 27-year-old Ospreys and Wales star has been in fine form. Quick, agile and a constant threat around the fringes, Webb is a quality operator. Blessed with a lovely, smooth pass and a good kicking game allied with excellent game management skills, he is one of Europe’s best scrum-halves.
An attacking minded nine with an eye for the try line (he has scored six tries in 18 international appearances), Webb would love the focus on attack and would be a constant thorn in Super 15 defences’ sides.
6. Anthony Watson
The England flyer has now notched up eleven tries in twenty appearances for the Red Rose including three tries in their Grand Slam-winning 2016 campaign. Lightening quick with a beautiful sidestep, Watson constantly creates problems for opposing defences.
The Bath man has that X-factor and whenever he gets the ball you feel something is going to happen. A natural finisher who has the ability to run clever lines, the 22-year-old would rack up some tries down south.
7. Sean O’Brien
The ‘Tullow tank’ was badly missed by Ireland in their recent Six Nations campaign and offers the men in green real ‘go forward’. Phenomenally powerful with ball in hand and surprisingly quick, the 17st 6lbs Leinster man always gets over the gainline and is a real attacking weapon.
Allied to a fearsome defence, and an outstanding engine, O’Brien would certainly make an impact down south. Named one of the five top performers at the 2011 Rugby World Cup and impressive in the Lions 2013 triumph down under, O’Brien has proved his southern hemisphere credentials.
Here’s hoping that one day these guys make it into Super 15 rugby.
Hefin Jones, Pundit Arena
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Read More About: Anthony Watson, england international rugby, english rugby, european rugby, george north, ireland international rugby, irish rugby, Maro Itoje, rhys webb, scottish rugby, Sean O' Brien, southern hemisphere rugby, stuart hogg, super 15 rugby