Rugby World Cup 2019: Forwards to Watch

In anticipation of next year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan, Shaun Goosen picks several forwards who he believes will turn heads at the global showpiece.

Kieran Read (New Zealand)

The All Black centurion may have already cemented his place as one of the greatest the game has seen, but Read is still looking to add one more World Cup winners’ medal to his collection. The 32-year-old Kiwi skipper was part of his country’s successful 2011 and 2015 campaigns and is absolutely frothing for a shot at an unprecedented three-peat. Japan may well mark Read’s international swansong and you can be sure that he will want to bow out of the international stage on the greatest possible note.

David Pocock (Australia)

The man for the big occasion. Pocock was arguably the standout performer in his side’s run to the final in 2015 and his recent sabbatical from the game would have only strengthened his desire to go one better next year. The Zimbabwean-born opensider has the potential to turn a game on its head with his godlike ability at the breakdown, and should he get back to his very best by the time the tournament rolls around, he will lead the Aussies’ title charge.

Tadgh Furlong (Ireland)

Furlong’s impact for both club and country over the past few seasons has been monumental. The Lion has established himself as the world’s pre-eminent tighthead prop with some immense performances of late. Not only is his defence out of the very top drawer, he has a running and offloading game that would make even Danie Gerber jealous. Oh, and his scrummaging isn’t too shabby either.

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Malcolm Marx (South Africa)

Marx is the best hooker in the game at the present moment, boasting one of the most complete all-round skillsets in the world. The 2017 SA Player of the Year is well on his way to greatness and a solid showing at the upcoming World Cup will no doubt have French and English clubs alike falling over themselves to obtain his signature. A phenomenal prospect.

Billy Vunipola (England)

Having missed out on the 2017 Lions tour to New Zealand through injury, the human wrecking ball that is Vunipola will be bursting at the seams to make 2019 a successful campaign. If the 25-year-old can get in some solid playing-minutes behind him in the build up to his side’s arrival in Japan, Vunipola will wreak havoc on any unlucky enough to oppose him.

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John Barclay (Scotland)

Barclay, captain of Scotland, is a fine player by anyone’s standard. The amount of work he gets through over the course of an eighty-minute period alone is worthy of his inclusion in this piece. With an uncanny ability to upset opposition ball at the breakdown and guided by the ever-present Gregor Townsend in the Coaches’ box, Barclay will hope to lead his Bravehearts to new heights at next season’s event.

Written by Shaun Goosen for

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