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Super Rugby Stars Who Are Set To Take The Rugby Championship By Storm

With Super Rugby now finished, it is time to turn our attention to the Rugby Championship.

Australia and South Africa are in a transitional period currently, trying new combinations and blooding plenty of youngsters. As for New Zealand, now is as good a time as any to beat them.

While Argentina need to prove that Super Rugby is improving their performances against the top five international sides. The quartet of squads have a slightly fresh look to them with some seasoned campaigners left out (Julian Savea is surplus to requirements apparently) so here are a few Super Rugby stars who need to carry their form through to the international stage.

South Africa

Jaco Kriel 

For those who ignore Super Rugby, Jaco Kriel may be a bit of an unknown entity.

For everyone paying attention, they will know him as a destructive powerhouse who has been absolutely chomping his way through defences all year in an alarmingly aggressive manner.

Life after big names such as Francois Louw, Schalk Burger, Allister Coetzee and Duane Vermeulen will be a lot easier if Kriel can continue flying over the gainline and applying his ferocious intensity against the top tier of international rugby.

Likelihood of starting: 8/10

Main competition: Siya Kolisi and Oupa Mahoje

https://youtu.be/QrCF2kv-4bo

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Dillyn Leyds 

Leyds has gained a reputation as a silky, elegant runner who has had moments of pure magic.

With nine tries, 24 clean breaks and over 1,000 metres made, Leyds has undeniably been one of the most direct and elusive runners in Super Rugby.

On top of this, having covered full back on numerous occasions, his stability under the ball and touch finders make him a well-rounded winger. Will we witness more Leyds magic if he starts?

Likelihood of starting: 6.5/10

Main Competition: Raymond Rhule and Courtnall Skosan

https://youtu.be/MeKx_5N19kk

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Australia

Marika Koroibete

A rugby league convert with genuinely frightening pace who will be looking to replicate the rapid ascension of Israel Folau. There’s no doubt that if he is handed the 14 shirt he will be thrown in at the deep end and if he can adapt quickly he will be Australia’s new secret weapon.

Koroibete’s inexperience makes him a brave choice if Cheika opts for him and he could be a liability if opposition kickers single him out. Is he worth the risk?

Likelihood of starting: 6/10

Main Competition: Dane Haylett-Petty and Henry Speight

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Lopeti Timani 

Australia’s loss to Scotland highlighted a real need for physicality in their extremely inexperienced pack. Timani brings Tongan grunt in spades. A giant at number 8, Timani needs to give Australia a focal point in the same way Billy Vunipola does for England.

Cheika desperately needs to find the right back row combination quickly and if Timani can carry hard in midfield, running off Bernard Foley he could keep opposition defences honest and Cheika happy.

Likelihood of starting: 8/10

Main competition: Sean McMahon

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New Zealand

Codie Taylor

A familiar face to everyone now after some impressive performances against the Lions, Taylor will look to push on and give Dane Coles a run for his money.

Coles is still close to irreplaceable yet one more concussion could spell trouble for the hooker which means Taylor could play a lot more rugby than he expected.

Taylor’s skill to scoop the ball off his feet in the first Lions Test to score was a thing of beauty and was confirmation that Taylor like Coles is more than just your average front rower.

Blessed with soft hands and deceptive pace, Taylor will be a more than able replacement if Coles injury troubles prevail.

Likelihood of starting: 4/10

Main Competition: Dane Coles.

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Damian McKenzie 

By now McKenzie’s unpredictable counter attacking brand of rugby has become common knowledge in rugby circles. The news that Ben Smith will miss four Championship games taking time off followed by Jordie Barrett’s season ending injury gives McKenzie the chance to let loose.

Although known for his jinking runs and dazzling skill set, it should be noted that his goal-kicking could be the most attractive asset for Steve Hansen as Beauden Barrett continues his inconsistent success off the tee.

The easy option would be to start Isarel Dagg at full back, but expect McKenzie to get some game time as Hansen will have one eye on the future.

Likelihood of starting: 6/10

Main Competition: Jordie Barrett.

https://youtu.be/w8wZVW17Hew

Argentina

Manuel Montero 

If Montero had not sustained multiple injuries to his thigh and Knee (which forced him out of the World Cup) he would surely be a household name. At 6-foot-4 and nearly 16 stone, his imposing build and rangy stride length make him a scary prospect on the wing.

The diminutive Santiago Cordero is making waves dancing and stepping through defences but the other berth is very much up for grabs.

The Argentine back line has playmakers and creativity but have lacked real penetration recently which Montero could certainly provide.

If he can stay fit he could be one of the stars of this years tournament.

Likelihood of starting: 7/10

Main competition: Emiliano Boffelli

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Lucas Noguera Paz

Noguera Paz is a very exciting prospect for all Jaguares and Pumas fans. The rotation policy employed by Jaguares coach Raúl Pérez has damaged consistency in the front row, but his combination with Ramiro Herrera has harked back to the old dominance of legends Rodrigo Roncero and Marcos Ayerza.

Thirty-four caps at the age of 23 years of age is nothing to be sniffed at and suggests that with another Championship under his belt he could enter the realm of ‘World Class.’

Potent Argentine weapons, the rolling maul and scrummaging platform rely on Noguera Paz, which make him essential to their campaign. If he starts, he will be vital.

Likelihood of starting: 8/10

Main competition: Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro.

Max Hamid, Pundit Arena

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.