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Fantasy: The Best of SANZAAR

Fantasy: The Best of SANZAAR

Ardie Savea makes a break

The Autumn Nations Series is on the horizon and with it comes a new edition of Fantasy Rugby to sink the teeth into.

Five weeks of mouth-watering action kicks-off at the end of October and culminates with an England v South Africa clash at Twickenham on November 26.

The southern hemisphere giants venture north with the standard elite names in toe so let’s take a look at some of players you’ll be desperate to include wearing the jerseys of South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina.

South Africa – Eben Etzebeth

There is no disputing Eben Etzebeth is one of the very best players in world rugby.

Not only does his imposing 6ft 8in frame and impressive skill make him elite in the second row but he can also provide cover as a flanker.

A crucial member of the Springbok’s triumphant 2019 World Cup campaign with over 100 Test caps for his country, Etzebeth returned to South African domestic rugby in February with the Sharks after a seven-year jaunt in Japan and France.

Eben Etzebeth Player of the Series

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The 30-year-old became just the seventh Springbok centurion in a 30-14 July win over Wales – the youngest to reach that coveted milestone.

Honourable mention – Makazole Mapimpi 

Among the stars of South Africa’s World Cup success in 2019, Makazole Mapimpi remains at the top of his game at international level.

The 32-year-old winger has a nose for the try line which makes him a necessity for any Springbok starting XV.

New Zealand – Ardie Savea

A dynamic loose forward, Savea’s powers have continued to grow ever since making his All Black debut against Wales in 2016.

Not only is he blessed with speed and athleticism, which makes him a nightmare for any defender, but Savea also exhibits stellar leadership qualities to boot.

The 28-year-old became the 70th player to lead the All Blacks in a 2021 Test against Australia in Perth and had the honour of captaining the squad in their historic 100th Test against South Africa in Townsville.

Savea excelled in the New Zealand team that claimed an outstanding Rugby Championship win against Argentina last week and is in line to take up a starring role this autumn.

Honourable mention – Will Jordan 

Crowned World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year in 2021, Will Jordan has all the tools to be a star for years to come.

Will Jordan All Blacks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He scored 15 tries in 11 Tests that year and has continued his rapid ascent, aided by his speed, vision and top-quality footwork.

Australia – Marika Koroibete 

He might have scored 16 tries in 45 Test appearances but Marika Koroibete is now best known for that tackle against South Africa two weeks ago.

The winger’s desperate scramble and hard hit incredibly denied Makazole Mapimpi a seemingly-certain try and rightly went viral – but Wallabies fans have longed known how good he is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A powerful winger with pace to burn, Koroibete is a handful for any defence to stop. If given the chance, he will almost certainly score, making a dangerous proposition outside a Wallabies side that love to go wide.

Honourable mention – Rob Valetini

The youngster has made an immediate impact for the Wallabies since his debut three years ago, shining this calendar year with the tough tackling and quick feet which belie his 6ft 4in frame.

Fans can expect to see the unstoppable Australian, bulldozing any defender brave enough to stand in his path.

Argentina – Julian Montoya 

Montoya returned to the Argentina squad for the Rugby Championship after an injury lay-off and captained his side to a first ever victory over the All Blacks on New Zealand soil.

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The Leicester Tigers hooker, who helped his side to the Premiership Rugby title in June, has turned out 78 times for Los Pumas, winning plaudits for his unprecedented development to become one of the world’s finest.

In what has been a historic championship for Argentina, Montoya shone in their record 48-17 demolition of Australia in another demonstration of his effective use in Michael Cheika’s system.

Don’t be surprised to see Los Pumas – with Montoya at the helm – bloodying a few noses this autumn.

Honourable mention – Emiliano Boffelli

The Edinburgh Rugby back will be in familiar surroundings at BT Murrayfield when Argentina face Scotland on the 19th November.

The 27-year-old kicked six penalties in Los Pumas’ historic win over New Zealand – the first time Argentina had secured back-to-back wins in the Rugby Championship.

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