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Power Rankings: Our top five southern hemisphere centres

Power Rankings: Our top five southern hemisphere centres

Power Rankings: Our top five southern hemisphere centres

Round 1 of the Autumn Nations Series is now just around the corner and the southern hemisphere’s centres are ready to wreak havoc. 

Quite literally central to everything that goes on in defence and attack, the centres are a pivotal position in any side and that is no different with the southern hemisphere giants.

So here are the five top centres from the travelling sides this autumn – with plenty of physicality in defence, combined with magical attacking flair coming to Europe this autumn.

1.       Damian de Allende (South Africa) 

Arguably the best centre on the planet let alone the southern hemisphere, Damian de Allende is simply outstanding.

Playing every minute in the Springboks 2021 Autumn Nations Series campaign, De Allende is quite literally the glue of South Africa’s midfield and starred in both the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the 2021 series victory over the British and Irish Lions.

Defensively he rarely puts a foot wrong, while his ability to always get over the gain line is what makes De Allende so effective.

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In a team full of abrasive ball carriers, he is still able to stand out, and in a tough Autumn Nations Series schedule that sees South Africa take on Europe’s three highest ranked sides in Ireland, France and England, as well as Italy, the 30-year-old centre will be key.

2.       Rieko Ioane (New Zealand) 

After initially mastering playing on the wing, Ioane has been re-deployed in the centres for two seasons and he can certainly claim to have mastered that position too.

Still just 25, Ioane burst onto the scene as a fresh faced 19-year-old – becoming the eighth youngest All Black in history when coming off the bench against Italy in 2016.

He quickly became an essential member of the team, but seemingly just as quickly saw a dip in form around the time of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Changing to centre resurrected his career and now he finds himself commanding the No.13 jersey for the All Blacks.

With blistering speed, an incredible eye for a gap and a phenomenal try-scoring record of 32 tries in 56 Tests, Ioane is always worth keeping an eye on.

3.       Len Ikitau (Australia) 

Ikitau was just starting out his international career in last year’s campaign, but a year on and he is a key member of the Wallabies backline, hogging the No.13 jersey throughout the Rugby Championship.

He kept that jersey for the opener of the Autumn Nations Series against Scotland and seems destined to be heavily involved in Australia’s four remaining matches, with Dave Rennie clearly admiring the 24-year-old.

Len Ikitau scores a try

One of the best open field defenders in world rugby, Ikitau’s ability to read the game on both sides of the ball make him a real asset to any team, and he is certainly just that for the Wallabies.

In the mould of Conrad Smith, Ikitau has every chance of being Australia’s long term outside centre, and at such a tender age, he is only going to get better.

4.       Matias Moroni (Argentina) 

Moroni has faced a lot of competition in the outside centre role with the Pumas, but he appears to have hit form at just the right time with tries in both matches against South Africa and fitting straight into new club Newcastle Falcons.

Now he has the chance to take that form to face some of his current and former teammates, having left Leicester Tigers in the summer.

Always an exciting option, Moroni has an ability to pop up with tries when they are most needed, starring for Tigers last season on their way to Premiership glory.

With Michael Cheika’s men facing England, Wales and Scotland this Autumn Nations Series, Moroni will surely be one to keep a very close eye on.

5.       Jesse Kriel (South Africa) 

Kriel has had to fight hard for South Africa minutes after the form of Damian de Allende and Lukhanyo Am in recent years, but he appears to finally have gained some momentum after three consecutive starts.

One of the most athletic players in world rugby, Kriel has had to adapt due to Am’s form which saw him earn minutes on the wing for the Springboks, something that will have only helped his attacking game improve further.

Playing outside De Allende will allow Kriel to thrive in attack and run his traditionally sharp lines.

The issue for any defence is once he is through, he has searing pace, making him very difficult to stop.


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