We are back on track, as the Rugby Europe Championship 2023 is set to start on the 4th of February, and, as always, there are a couple of players ready to take the stage by storm, be it in a flurry of spectacular runs, thundering scrum battles, hard hits in the contact area, or witty and cunning plays in the backline.
To help you find your way into the Rugby Europe Championship setup, we picked 8-star power players to keep both your eyes on, while securing 8 aces up your sleeve.
Find out who made the list from Pool A
Georgia – In the wings of Davit Niniashvili
Player to Watch For: well, it isn’t much of a surprise here, as we already revealed in the title, but Davit Niniashvili is our top Georgian pick to follow as closely as you can, due to a (large) set of epic skills that can turn any game around.
He first appeared in a Georgian shirt in 2019 where he helped lead his country to victory in the European U18 Championship and now plays his club rugby with Lyon in France in the Top 14.
The 20-year-old has already made a name for himself at Test Match level and was one of quality, be it at Test Match or club level, and the Rugby Europe Championship 2023 will be his first step to reach for new heights.
Yes, there’s the slight possibility of him missing the start of the 2023 campaign, but he will certainly be available for the crunch matches against Spain and the semi-final contest.
The Extra Ace – Beka Gorgadze: one of the most resilient flankers in the rugby world, the Georgian loose forward is that player that any coach loves to have on the pitch, working tirelessly and showing his class in the tackling or jackling departments.
Spain – The Sharpshooter Kerman Aurrekoetxea
Player to Watch For: Kerman Aurrekoetxea, remember this name, as the Spanish scrum-half is going to be one of the main stars of Los Leones setup. The halfback possesses a combination of pure speed, refined passing skills, and a trickster mentality.
He is still a young player, but he already has shown his quality be it at Test Match or club level, representing Biarritz Olympique Pays Basque, and the Rugby Europe Championship 2023 will be a prime opportunity to reach new heights.
The Extra Ace – Gonzalo Vinuesa: the 21-year-old fly-half has the capability and temperament to become the master of Spain’s backline, not only due to his in-game kicking skills (give him an inch of space, and he will draw something special) but also because of the way he quickly adapts and finds ideas to overcome the opposing defense.
Netherlands – The power of Hugo Langelaan:
Player to Watch For: Normally, a prop doesn’t land a spot on the standouts to watch for, mainly due to the fact they have less ball time than anyone else, but let’s try and correct that by picking Dutch international Hugo Langelaan.
Why the loosehead prop? Because of the sheer impact he injects at every scrum or/and pick-and-go, powering through and over the opposition, making good use of his physicality. He is one of the sterner voices in the Dutch camp, and one that can keep his team tight.
The Extra Ace – Daily Limmen: 21 years old and already one of the Dutch rising stars, and one that can help Netherlands run towards a more promising future. The centre’s offload and impact tackle are two of his strongest skills that deserve your full attention.
Germany – Edoardo Stella and the fly of the Black Eagle
The last promoted nation of the 2021-2022 Rugby Europe Trophy, Germany has been forging a brighter path in the rugby world of late, and the likes of Edoardo Stella are going to provide the pillars for a promising Schwarz Adler.
The fullback will pave a fiery path every time he is requested to run, pulling a couple of big moves to take down most tacklers, bringing joy to the German fans. 2023 is his first experience at Championship level, but we are already buzzing to see what he can do.
The Extra Ace - Jörn Schroder: captain and hooker, Jörn Schroder is the man who tries to keep a steady scrum and his team united, pushing his body to the limit.
All games will be on rugbyeurope.tv, click here for the full schedule
By Francisco Isaac
Photos: Dennis van der Sande, Walter Degirolmo, Irakli Tkemaladze