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6 under the radar players who could star at the 2019 Rugby World Cup

1. Santiago Arata – Uruguay

A product of the famous Old Christians Club in Montevideo, this cracking young scrum-half ought to be playing big time club rugby in Europe. Sharp as a knife in the Danny Care mould, he’s a natural try scorer. Just 22 but has already won 23 caps and is ranked above RWC2015 skipper Agustin Ormaechea who is himself a genuine talent.

2. Titi Lamositele – US Eagles

The USA are beginning to tap into their big Pacific Island community on the west coast and power-packed prop Lamositele is evidence of that. At the age of 18, he went straight from the Eagles U20 side to the senior team and since 2015 has been at Saracens, getting some decent game time when their big names are away or rested.

3. Cheslin Kolbe – South Africa

Sensational wing for the Boks and Toulouse and, like many in South Africa, a product of their Sevens team. Kolbe, above, has extreme gas and dancing feet in the mould of Jason Robinson and is also as tough as old boots. Set to be a star this Autumn and again in Japan at RWC2019.

4. Joe Cokanasiga – England

Big, strong, fast, athletic and knows where the try-line is. Smoking Joe, below, is raw and inexperienced. There is a long queue ahead of him for the England wing berth – but he’s been on Eddie Jones’ radar for a long while, hence the loan move to Bath when London Irish were relegated.

5. Karl Tu’inukuafe – New Zealand

The jovial security guard might be 26 but 2018 was his first Super Rugby season, earning starts for the Chiefs after injury. Steve Hansen then called him up to replace long term injury victim Joe Moody. Has done so well Moody might even struggle to regain that starting role.

6. Teddy Thomas – France

Should have won way more than his paltry 13 caps but keeps finding a way of getting into trouble off the field whether it be reporting late for training or being one of the unruly party boys in Edinburgh last season. A sublime running wing hopefully set for a long run in the team.

Words by Brendan Gallagher

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