For Clement Mazella
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Following the U-19 World Player of the Year, U-21 World Player of the Year, then U-20 World Player of the Year trophies, World Rugby revised the concept in 2015 by designating the revelation of the year during his World Rugby Awards. Very promising, revealing themselves in the eyes of the general public, where are these winners today? Have they confirmed all the good things we thought about them?
They are currently well established in the national team
First observation: A good number of established players take center stage. This is for example the case of English Maro Itoje, very quickly became essential for the XV de la Rosa, and being part of a Saracen team that crushed more than one a few seasons ago. Considered one of the best second-line players in Europe, even in the world, he is an exceptional marathoner, who does a colossal job. His record is well stocked, at the age of 27: 3 6 Nations Tournament (with Grand Slam in 2016), 4 England Championship titles, 3 Champions Cups, and retained for 2 tours with the British and Irish Lions.
At the age of 23, the French Romain Ntamack he has an equally well-stocked trophy cabinet, with 2 Brennus shields, a Champions Cup and a Grand Slam, not to mention an Under-20 World Championship title. A bold and elegant player, with the phlegm that the English adore, the son of Emile (46 caps) installed himself in command of the attacking line of the XV of France, in the company of Antoine Dupont, his acolyte in the stadium of Tolousain, with which it forms one of the most feared hinges on the oval planet.
The All Blacks, if they have been moribund of late, stringing together poor performances and seeing coach Ian Foster close to the end, have seen two of their countless gems confirm their potential. The side Rieko Ioanesharp at will, has been part of New Zealand’s forward line since 2017. Aged 25, he has 51 caps for the All Blacks, for 31 tries. Will Jordan, the last winner of the category, is a real diamond. With the Crusaders, a title-winning machine, he explodes on the screen day after day. In the national team, and if he has already achieved 16 selections (and scored… 19 tries!), he is still not an undisputed starter. But there is no doubt he will settle in very quickly with the All Blacks. And that for a long time, given his incredible talent.
They exploded in the air
Revelation at 24, 2015 world champion in his first season with the All Blacks… Here’s the atypical fate of Nehe Milner-Skudder, spinning wing/back and formidable finisher. Except the kid had a much less successful career, with a serious shoulder injury, depression or even an aborted move to Toulon in 2019 due to medical reasons. For 3 years he hardly played. Today he has migrated to New York and plays in the Major Rugby League.
2018 is the year Aphiwe Dyantyi. Ultra quick, good finisher, with great support, the 24-year-old winger won for the Springboks, playing 13 games, all as a starter, and scoring 6 tries. The Bok believe they have a phenomenon, except the ax falls in August 2019 during a practice: Dyantyi tests positive for two steroids and one anabolic, confirmed by sample B. Verdict: 4-year suspension. He will only be able to play again from August 12, 2023, but it is doubtful that he will find the highest level after such a long absence.
World Rugby’s revelation of the year: the full list
2015. Nehe Milner-Skudder (New Zealand)
2016. Maro Itoje (England)
2017. Rieko Ioane (New Zealand)
2018. Aphiwe Dyantyi (South Africa)
2019. Romain Ntamack (France)
2021. Will Jordan (New Zealand)
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