The International games in November are always a good time for coaches to bring in new and upcoming players. All the touring sides have brought uncapped players to test their metal in the Test match arena.
And in these fixtures, a star is generally born, a player who then goes on to succeed at the international level.
So this week, we’ve pulled out three players touring the northern hemisphere who have the ability to be a huge success on the international stage. Let us know what you think.
Rieko Ioane (Auckland & The Blues) – touring with NZ Maori
It’s amazing to hear that Rieko Ioane has only been a professional rugby player for two seasons. In that short space of time he was called up to the New Zealand Sevens team for the Rio Olympics as well as his appearing five times for the Blues in Super Rugby. But for the 19-year old, he was arguably the standout player in the recent Mitre-10 Cup competition in New Zealand. He was outstanding for Auckland, scoring ten tries including two hat-tricks. Ioane has been rewarded with a spot on the New Zealand Maori touring team to take on the USA, Munster and Harlequins. The winger will be looking to impress, as there’s no doubt he’ll be knocking on Steve Hansen’s door very soon. It’ll be difficult for him to turn Ioane away, particularly with the All Blacks rebuilding following the 2015 Rugby World Cup – so he could be a well-established All Black by the time the next World Cup comes round in three years.
Roelof Smit (Blue Bulls) – touring with South Africa
Roelof Smit has impressed as of late, most notably in the Currie Cup, where he was able to make a name for himself in the loose forwards. The 23-year old has been given his chance by Allister Coetzee who has seen enough of Smit in his Blue Bulls jersey to give him his first Springbok start. He will line up against the Barbarians at Wembley on Saturday. Depending on how he goes, he could well be in with a shout to feature against England, Italy and/or Wales.
Marika Koroibete (Melbourne Rebels) – touring with Australia
Michael Cheika has brought in outside back Marika Koroibete into the Wallabies squad before he has even played a game of Super Rugby. Koroibete, who’s more acquainted with the NRL, is another league convert to don the green and gold jersey. Koroibete has scored 46 tries in 74 games for the Melbourne Storm before featuring in the NRL grand final against the Sharks last month. He will join an already experienced Australian side and will provide necessary cover should any injuries occur. There’s no doubt Cheika will involve Koroibete at some point and it would be surprising if he weren’t to bag a try or two. Definitely one to watch in the future.