Earlier in the week we orchestrated a ranking of who presently resides as the five best full-backs in world rugby, which lead to an array of discussion and debate online, so, keeping in line with this theme it is now time to move on to possibly the most coveted position of all: number 10.
Not many words need to be written regarding Farrell’s place among the elite five when you simply take a look at the year he has just had. Following on from that dismal 2015 Rugby World Cup where England became the first host nation to drop out of the competition at the group stage, English rugby has undergone a reincarnation, with Farrell right at the helm.
Providing a stubborn notoriety at the centre of the park Farrell has been a dogged and fearless leader for both Saracens and England this season and serves as an extra element to the English back line when disposed at inside centre.
After a 2015-16 season in which Farrell propelled his respective teams to an Aviva Premiership, European Champions Cup, 6 Nations and historic series whitewash against Australia, the out-half will be no doubt looking to ‘somehow’ push on from this momentous year such is his competitive nature.
Since taking over the number ten jersey from Quade Cooper in the Australian set-up, Bernard the ‘Ice Man’ Foley has provided a stability and absurdness to the first five-eight position which they had been sorely lacking.
Foley portrays a variety of strong qualities in his attacking capabilities from clever game management either through spreading the ball out to the star-ridden Wallaby back line or his accurate territorial kicking. Foley also maintains a deceptive eye for exposing and exploiting frailties in opposing defences and has the speed and confidence to back himself in capitalising on such holes.
While the Ice-Man will have been disappointed with his performances over the course of the three-test series with England, overall there is no denying the man’s worth as a genuine world class out-half.
Having missed the 2015 Rugby World Cup through an ACL injury, many feared that Cruden may not return to the heights of the game at which he has become synonymous with.
To his credit Cruden has returned to exactly where he left off since that horrific injury and has shown little if any signs of regression in his performances. With the Chiefs flying high atop of the New Zealand Super Rugby conference, Cruden has been leading the way with his trademark place-kicking and superb and acute awareness on the pitch.
When at the top of his game there are few players in world rugby as proficient and effective a play maker as Cruden, who when firing on all cylinders can provide a star factor in creating something out of nothing.
As good a player as Aaron Cruden is, even one slip-up or unforeseen injury can see you lose your place within the New Zealand squad such is the depth in star quality that the All Blacks contain.
To that end, it seems that following Cruden’s injury in the second test with Wales during the June internationals that Hurricane’s supremo Beauden Barrett has now stepped up to the mantle and stated a very genuine case for the starting role.
Barrett is one of the most exciting players in rugby union, with an innate killer instinct he poses as a premier threat in every asset of his game and is a devastating force to be reckoned with for opposing defences. Used excellently off the bench at the 2015 World Cup, Barrett made 6 appearances, accumulating 26 points as well as a clinical try in the final thus displaying his outstanding capability of coming off the bench and not only making an impact, but dictating the flow of the game.
The 2015/16 season was yet another that shall go down in history for the rugby God.
Carter’s performances at the 2015 World Cup steered New Zealand to their second successive William Webb Ellis, and saw the former Crusader named as the Rugby World Player of the Year for the third time, thus joining amongst the company of rugby royalty such as former compatriot Richie McCaw as a three time winner of the accolade having already picked up the gong in 2005 and 2012.
Carter then joined French heavyweights Racing 92 where he has displayed all his characteristic qualities as a out-and-out leader, reaching the clubs inaugural European Champions Cup final, only to lose out to Saracens at the final hurdle. However, this disappointment was somewhat rectified as his side went on to claim it’s first ever Top 14 title, a magnificent return for the man’s first year in Paris.