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We are fast approaching the Finals Day of the Men’s Rugby Europe Championship 2024

We are fast approaching the Finals Day of the Men’s Rugby Europe Championship 2024 (the Women’s REC still has a few rounds left, so be sure to follow the competition, as well as the Men’s Trophy category) with all eight teams making their final preparations before tackling their last match of the 2024 season.

With plenty at stake in each game, we’ve picked the 16 players that can change the outcome of their matches or, at least, prompt their teammates to run in the right direction. We also added an Ace in the Hole, a special player that pops up and surprises everyone! 

Nicolas Saborit (Poland)

Made his debut in the 2024 Men’s REC and he has delivered a superb impact to his side, especially when he has been requested to carry the ball and charge down the opposition defense. Saborit is an immense player, physically polished and capable of throwing a couple of unexpected offloads and handling tricks, which has helped Poland get closer to the try-area. He a wrecking ball type of unit that keeps damaging whoever has to tackle and be tackled by the centre and can crack open gaps throughout the pitch.

The Ace in the Hole: Siokivaha Taufui Halaifonua. Poland’s prime carrier (23), third-best tackler (30), top jackaler (eight turnovers), and line breaker (three), he has been one of the best enforcers of the competition, and if Poland can defeat Belgium, Halaifonua will be vital in accomplishing that goal.


Julien Berger (Belgium)

Belgium had an almost stellar season in the 2024 Men’s REC, with that defeat against Germany to being the only thorn in their campaign, a loss that Julien Berger tried to avoid at all costs. The scrumhalf made Germany sweat until the very end of the match, as he kept setting up good attacking phases and trying to create something special out of nothing, he came very close to score a decisive try. Berger is a trustworthy and electrifying scrumhalf and someone who will be nuclear for Belgium’s hopes of staying in the Rugby Europe Championship.

The Ace in the Hole: Simeon Soenen. The 21-year-old has really started to get noticed, and believe me when I tell you that he will be one of the future rugby stars of the Men’s REC. In just two games, he has an average of two clean breaks, two defenders beaten and one offload per game, he has the potential to be the real deal.

Mika Tyumenev (Germany)

The hooker is Germany’s top try scorer, thanks to his excellent maul commandeering skills, but that isn’t the only special skill he has. The 32-year-old has been one of the Schwarze Addler's longest servants, fully dedicated to pushing his country to fight for a more promising future, resolute and resilient in his front-row duties. Tyumenev is that unbreakable rock, who loves to crash and bash whoever dares stand in his way.

The Ace in the Hole: Nikolai Klewinghaus. He can drop kick, kick chase, offload in the most unthinkable way, and elude most tacklers, he Germany’s magical utility back, Nikolai Klewinghaus. He scored a world class score against Georgia in Round 1 and converted five decisive points in Waterloo, to help his nation reach the 5th place playoff.

David Weersma (Netherlands)

A pin-point goal kicker can draw the line between winning or losing, and the Netherlands has this area well-resourced, as David Weersma is a sharpshooter from the tee. The utility back has no problems to shoulder the pressure of taking a nerve-racking conversion, showcasing a contagious self-belief that helps his teammates believe that every and anything is possible. Weersma's abilities aren’t limited just to kicking and converting points, as he is a masterful tactician that sketches cohesive plays and is always hungry to accumulate points.

The Ace in the Hole: Wolf van Dijk. Rugby Europe’s Ardie Savea, and that is the best way to explain who Wolf Van Dijk is. That sugary offload for Daily Limmen’s try was a sensational piece of skill, and if you add that to his tackling prowess, you have one of the most entertaining players in the Rugby Europe scene.

Alexandru Savin (Romania)

Alexandru Savin is the only prop making this list, and there are a couple of reasons behind it. Let’s start with the obvious: two tries in four games. We are not talking about a hooker that sits as the last unit in a driving maul, waiting patiently to throw himself over the try-line, as Savin is normally on the front of that forward pack stampede.

The loosehead is a ram with legs, who loves to drive in contact or show up next to a back, to try and run amuck with the oval-shaped ball, making good use of his brute physicality. Adding to that attacking prowess, his scrummaging skills have been one of the best of the Men’s REC, as he already forced the opposing tighthead to concede five penalties, the best proof of his quality as a prop. Romania can become a force to be reckon with if they build up a monstrous front-five, and Savin is already one of the leading characters in that block for the Stejarii.

The Ace in the Hole: Alin Conache. A leading unit of Romania’s new generations of players, the fly-half is an exquisite gameplan architect, raising solid attacking plays for his team to pile on. His handling and kicking skills can be the bedrock for his country's future accomplishments.


Martiniano Cian (Spain)

Elusive, that’s the right way to label Martiniano Cian, one of the main showstoppers for Spain in the 2024 Men’s Rugby Europe Championship. He gifted his team not only three tries in the campaign, but as well as two try-assists, six clean breaks, thirteen defenders beaten, and more than a handful of impactful plays. Cian is the epitome of what is Spanish rugby: resilient, magical, physical, and cunning. The sheer combination of these traits has prompted Cian to become one of the main protagonists of Pablo Bouza’s Spain,

The Ace in the Hole: Brice Ferrer. Let’s lead this entry with a stat: 50 tackles completed, and only one missed. Ferrer is a prowler, hunting his prey with ease, and taking it down with shocking physical might. If he is let loose from the kick-off, Spain will always be a top contender to end as victors.

Manuel Cardoso Pinto (Portugal)

Just unstoppable on his day. Manuel Cardoso Pinto has become a game-changer since Round 1 and helped Portugal recover from a loss in Mons, to inspire his side to victories over old rivals Romania and Spain, two games in which the fullback punched holes to create something mesmerizing.

His three tries, 210 meters run, combined with five clean breaks and eighteen defenders beaten, has meant more than just some points for Portugal, as it changed their destiny, when things seemed dire for the Lobos. Cardoso Pinto a joy to watch joy and one of the leading stars of the 2024 Men’s REC.

The Ace in the Hole: Nicolás Martins. The loose forward has built a reputation as a trailblazing enforcer and has missed only one tackle of his 57 attempts, which explains why is at the top of the tackling charts. His lineout knowledge and offloading skills have been a lifeline for Portugal in 2024.

Davit Niniashvili (Georgia)

From this entire list, Niniashvili is the only player, who has only played one match. His performance against Romania in the semifinal was enough to be selected as the Lelos game-changer.

The magical outside back put on an amazing spectacle in the semifinal against Romania, and Oval Insights data reveals as such: three-line breaks, two offloads, nine defenders beaten, 133 meters made, twenty-six carries (no other player has done this in just one game), and three try-assists. No other player had numbers like that in just one game, and that should be enough for you to accept his game-changer status. He is the block in Blockbuster, he is the reason why there’s the word “special” in our lexicon, and he is… Davit Niniashvili.

The Ace in the Hole: Ilia Spanderashvili. Breakthrough season for the Georgian loose forward, as he was able to earn Richard Cockerill’s trust and has built a reputation of a bone-crushing individual. His efforts to poach the ball and deliver a brutal carry have helped the Lelos to reach another final.

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