5 players to watch in the 2024 Guinness Six Nations


A host of rugby’s most gifted players will go head to head over the coming weeks in the 25th instalment of the Guinness Six Nations. Here the PA news agency looks at five stars expected to grab the headlines.

Damian Penaud, wing, France

At times erratic but invariably brilliant, Penaud is already one of the greatest finishers of all time and is just three tries short of equalling the national record of 38 held by Serge Blanco.

There are quicker wings but few with the try-scoring finesse of the electric 27-year-old.

France 2023″ width=”1024″ height=”682″ /> PARIS, FRANCE – OCTOBER 15: Damian Penaud of France is tackled by Cheslin Kolbe of South Africa during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 Quarter Final match between France and South Africa at Stade de France on October 15, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Lionel Hahn/Getty Images)

Marcus Smith, fly-half, England

Owen Farrell’s absence presents an important moment to one of the brightest talents in English rugby, who should now be given an extended run at fly-half.

Smith shows an instinct for attack and courage to play beyond any of his rivals for the jersey, but he must also prove he can guide England through choppier waters.

Argentina v England: Bronze Final - Rugby World Cup France 2023
PARIS, FRANCE – OCTOBER 27: Marcus Smith of England runs with the ball under pressure from Lucio Cinti of Argentina during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 Bronze Final match between Argentina and England at Stade de France on October 27, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Franco Arland/Getty Images)

Finn Russell, fly-half, Scotland

One of the most exciting talents in the game, Russell is a magician of a fly-half with the skills to unpick any defence. Being named co-captain signals an end to his stormy relationship with head coach Gregor Townsend and he has been revitalised by his move to Bath, who are flourishing as a result of his arrival.

Ireland v Scotland - Rugby World Cup France 2023
PARIS, FRANCE – OCTOBER 07: Scotland fly half Finn Russell in action during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between Ireland and Scotland at Stade de France on October 07, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Alessandro Izekor, flanker, Italy

Singled out as one to watch by Italy great Sergio Parisse, the uncapped Izekor is a colossus of a back row who stands 6’5” tall and weighs well over 17 stones. A force on both sides of the ball, the 23-year-old will be looking to transfer his impressive form for Benetton on to the Test arena.

Italy Training Session
VERONA, ITALY – JANUARY 04: Alessandro Izekor of Italy in action during Italy training session at Payanini Center on January 04, 2024 in Verona, Italy. (Photo by Federugby/Federugby via Getty Images)

Bundee Aki, centre, Ireland

A contender for player of the 2023 World Cup by the end of the group stage because of his barnstorming runs, power in the tackle and work over the ball. Aki possess the rare skill of being able to generate tremendous power from a standing start, even against defence as robust as South Africa’s. He is quick too.

Ireland v New Zealand: Quarter Final - Rugby World Cup France 2023
PARIS, FRANCE – OCTOBER 14: Bundee Aki of Ireland makes a break to score his sides first tryduring the Rugby World Cup France 2023 Quarter Final match between Ireland and New Zealand at Stade de France on October 14, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images)





Source link: https://www.rugbypass.com/news/5-players-to-watch-in-the-2024-guinness-six-nations/

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