To say the the Rugby World Cup has kicked off with a bang is an understatement. Tries aplenty, some massive hits, and the game’s biggest stars were all show in the first couple games, but the action has just begun, so we’ve picked seven key players that you should keep your eye on for Week 3:
Dan Biggar (Wales)
Welsh flyhalf Dan Biggar was immense in the titanic clash against England and he will once again prove to be a deciding factor against Fiji. The islanders have proven to be somewhat ill-disciplined when it’s come to the breakdown, so Wales should have plenty of opportunities to take some shots at the posts, and Biggar won’t be missing any of those.
Leone Nakarawa (Fiji)
While Fiji’s impressive backline looked to be the dangerous attackers in this tournament, Fiji’s massive lock Leone Nakarawa has been one of the most potent attacking threats in the side’s pool games. His incredible offloading skills and lanky runs were devastating against England and Australia, and Wales is set to face the complicated task of trying to contain him next.
Mamuka Gorgodze (Georgia)
The All Blacks don’t know too much about Georgia but they’re well aware of their monster captain. The powerhouse No 8 , Mamuka “Gorgodzilla” Gorgodze, is one man the All Blacks will have to keep an eye on in their third pool C fixture. While the Kiwis are almost certain to come away with a win, the 1.96m and 119kg Georgian will be a handful for the All Blacks defence throughout the game with his barnstorming runs and physical tackles.
Eben Etzebeth (South Africa)
The Springboks managed to bounce back superbly against Samoa following their defeat at the hands of Japan in their opening match of the World Cup. While a great win, Samoa weren’t a very organised defensive and set-piece side, and Scotland will pose a much greater threat in those areas. South Africa will need its new lock enforcer, Eben Etzebeth, to step up and spoil the traditionally-solid Scotland lineout, as well as provide some physical ball-carrying throughout the match.
Stuart Hogg (Scotland)
Scotland’s fullback Stuart Hogg was been sublime so far in this World Cup. His counter-attacking ability is his strongest attribute and his pace can’t be ignored too. South Africa will need to close down any space Hogg may find himself in, or they’ll be on the receiving end of seven points. Keep an eye on this elusive No. 15.
David Pocock (Australia)
The Wallabies may have found their ideal loose-trio in the form of Scott Fardy, Michael Hooper, and David Pocock, and it’s the Zimbabwean-born Pocock who will be the bane of England’s World Cup if they don’t prevent him from causing chaos at the breakdown. Pocock’s ability to get over the ball and create a turnover can’t be understated, and for England this is a must-win game, otherwise they’ll be watching the finals on TV. The English forwards will have to get Pocock off the ball and away from the breakdown as quick as possible come Saturday’s match.
Owen Farrell (England)
England is likely to start Owen Farrell against the Wallabies due to his defensive prowess and strong kicking game. With England already on the back foot, they’ll need to score some tries and secure some early penalties, and Farrell will be the key to unlocking the Australian backline. The centre partnership will also be a deciding factor, but Farrell will have to help them find space, regardless of who gets the nod for the No. 12 and 13 jerseys.