NZ Rugby World
PLAYERS WE ARE GENUINELY INTRIGUED TO SEE
1 : ZARN SULLIVAN [BLUES]
He looked the goods playing for Auckland. Has a booming boot as well as blistering speed and a fearless attitude.
Always happy to back himself and the Blues haven’t had a player like this in their midst for an age – it at all. He’s the first emerging backfield star to come out of Auckland with a genuine kicking game.
2 : LUKE JACOBSON [CHIEFS]
It might seem crazy to nominate Jacobson in this regard but we feel we haven’t seen much of him because of injury.
He’s got edge to his game and the All Blacks liked what they saw so we hope he manages to get himself fit, stay fit and produce the sort of rugby that everyone says he’s capable of.
He certainly delivered some big moments in 2019.
3 : PETER UMAGA JENSEN [HURRICANES]
He’s a big lad who can run great angles and seems now to be the preferred No 13 at the Hurricanes. A stint with the All Blacks will have added to his game and will be fascinating to see him develop a power combination with Laumape.
4 : CULLEN GRACE [CRUSADERS]
He whet everyone’s appetite with his performances before the lockdown. So now he has our attention we hope he can continue to buckle big men in contact and drive himself over the gainline.
He looks like the sort of deceptively tough athlete that will front in any conditions against any opponent and just quietly go about his work.
5 : FOLAU FAKATAVA [HIGHLANDERS]
There are big tickets on this kid after he impressed in the Mitre 10 Cup. He’s abrasive and demanding. He’s tough and he’s quick and he’s about the only halfback that has excited since Aaron Smith came along in 2011.
He’s off contract at the end of this year and will be in high demand as he probably doesn’t want to be stuck behind Smith long term. Fakatava is the sort of player the All Blacks need to offer a point of difference.