Top 5 rugby union form players at the end of 2017

Which players ended 2017 with a bang and will be looking to take the next step in 2018?

(Photo Credit: davidmolloyphotography)

The International season is over and there are some players who’s form really stood out. It may have not have always been in doing the flashy things but in doing the right things at the right time and really making  an impact. Here are our picks for the 5 form players of the 2017 season.

Rieko Ioane

The first and most obvious choice is New Zealand winger – and potentially eventual centre – Rieko Ioane. 

The young Kiwi flyer was unlucky to miss out on what would have been a well deserved World Player of the Year award in 2017. He has been in simply sensational form and has managed to do the unthinkable and usurp Julian Savea  as the All Blacks’s premier left wing. 

Even suggesting this notion at the beginning of the year would have led to calls to get your head checked, but Ioane has already made ‘The Bus’ an afterthought.

He is adept at not only finishing but creating opportunities for his teammates with his sizzling speed and dazzling footwork. He can only go from strength to strength in 2018 as he gets more familar with the rigors of international rugby.

Malcolm Marx

When you think of Malcolm Marx and his performances in 2017, the phrase “et lux in tenebris lucet” comes to mind. 

He has been one of the few glimmers of light in what has been a dismal year for the ‘Boks. He is a terror at the breakdown, a great ball carrier, and a tenacious defender, one who has proven himself to be indispensable to the Springboks and their cause. 

Marx is set to be one of the mainstays of the Springbok squad for years to come if his performances in 2017 are anything to go by. He is the sort of player that you can build a team around, the type of player that South Africa has been desperate to find over the last couple of years.

Tadgh Furlong

Undoubtedly the world’s premier tighthead at the moment. Tadgh Furlong is fast carving himself a glowing reputation. 

He is a ferocious scrummager blessed with skills, awareness, and that little bit of dog that all tenacious forwards need. Furlong was outstanding in 2017 the red of the British Lions, the green of Ireland, and the Blue of Leinster. 

His biggest asset is his ability to blend that strong work in the set piece with a damaging set of attacking options in the loose. Furlong was at his best when terrorizing the All Blacks on the Lions tour, taking on multiple tacklers with every carry. He is now an integral part of every team he represents and will be for the future if he keeps on this upward trajectory.

Huw Jones

This may be a controverial pick, but Huw Jones has been in absolutely scintillating form for Scotland at the back end of 2017. 

The former UCT player has been an integral part of the Scottish rejuvenation that has turned world rugby on its head with their attacking optimism and ferocious breakdown work. He has also been the unsung hero of this Scottish revival and has brought the pace, defensive nous, and finishing ability that Scotland needed, especially with Stuart Hogg sidelined with an injury. 

He has also been a an attacking force in the midfield and brought the stability and attacking threat that has been needed to attract defenders attention and create space for the likes of Sean Maitland, Hogg and Tommy Seymour. Jones has established himself well  at the top level and is fast creating a reputation for himself that will carry through to 2018.

Sean McMahon

Many have wondered what has happened to Australia and where they have been lacking. One of the few areas that the Wallabies have not had to worry about in 2017 is the No. 8 position.

Sean McMahon – along with the ever tenacious Michael Hooper at flanker – was the heartbeat of the Wallabies this season. Boasting a frightening work rate, deceptive physicality around the breakdown for his size, and sheer determination and will to win, McMahon has consistently performed in the gold jersey. 

Yes, he has unfortunately been on the wrong side of results for the most part as Australia have floundered in international inconsistency, but McMahon has fought hard in every single game and soon his labours will be bearing dividends as the Wallabies surely must improve in the New Year.

Who are you expecting big things from in 2018? Comment below!

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