The Rugby World Cup, which starts on Friday, forms the stage for some physically impressive and striking players. You need to keep an eye on these men during the global tournament in Japan.
The best: Beauden Barrett (28 years, fly-half, New Zealand)
Beauden Barrett was elected Player of the Year by the international rugby association in 2016 and 2017 and seemed to be the new star after a complete generation of 'All Blacks' said goodbye after the 2015 world title. Yet there is also a lot of criticism of the playmaker.
He sometimes wants to miss a simple kick, which sometimes costs his teams important points. This World Cup can prove to the New Zealander that he can indeed perform well under pressure. Barrett has in Japan in the selection of New Zealand, among others, support from his two younger brothers Scott (plays as a lock) and Jordie (plays as a fullback).
The most productive: Owen Farrell (27, fly-half / inside center, England)
Of all players who are active at the World Cup, Owen Farrell has the most points in his name on behalf of his country. With 848 points in 77 international matches, the Englishman is on the list of most scoring rugby players of all time and can run into the top ten with a productive World Cup. Of the other players who come into action in Japan, only the Irishman Johnny Sexton and the Welshman Leigh Halfpenny (both 770 points) come close.
The versatile Farrell, which also belongs to the world top as an inside center, owes its high number of points mainly to its fantastic stair technique. The 27-year-old 'Faz' takes the standard conversions in England (worth two points if hit) and penalties (worth three points). In addition, on behalf of 'Red Rose' he also pushed the ball ten times behind the line for a try, good for five points at a time.
The toughest: Ben Tameifuna (28 years, prop, Tonga)
With 153 pounds of clean weight on the hook, Ben Tameifuna is the toughest player at this World Cup. He himself blames that on his employment at Racing 92 in France, where he says he cannot get away from the croissants and baguettes.
Tameifuna was born in New Zealand, but like so many others, he was not involved due to the killing competition of the 'All Blacks'. The prop chose Tonga, the country where his father was born and his uncle Sona Taumalolo also played rugby matches for.
The most superstitious: Dan Biggar (29, fly-half, Wales)
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Wales won the Six Nations this year by winning all its contests and thereby winning a Grand Slam. Partly as a result of this, Wales overtook New Zealand after August after ten years as number one in the world ranking. Although Wales has dropped back to fifth place, this World Cup is one of the top favorites, and Dan Biggar is the man who must lead the country to the coveted world title.
Biggar is known as one of the best kicking fly-halfs on the international fields. However, it is mainly the ritual that he performs just before a kick that makes him so striking. To fully concentrate, Biggar first throws a ball of grass into the air to determine the wind direction. He then performs a series of movements known as the Biggar shuffle or the Biggarena (after the well-known Macarena dance), before finally constructing.
The fastest: S'busiso Nkosi (23 years, winger, South Africa)
S'busiso Nkosi is the fastest player at the World Cup. His record at 100 meters is 10.59 seconds, which means he is not far from the top sprinters in the athletics world. A life as a sprinter was also a serious career consideration during his school days, but Nkosi eventually opted for rugby.
His top speed is said to be well over 40 kilometers per hour and that makes Nkosi extremely suitable for a position on the wing near South Africa, where speed is the greatest weapon. The 23-year-old winger only played eight international games on behalf of the 'Springboks', but was already good for seven try's, including two in his debut match against England.
The tallest: Rory Arnold (29, second row, Australia)
Players in the second row (the numbers 4 and 5, also known as the locks) are often the tallest players in a team. The tallest of all at this World Cup is the Australian Rory Arnold. With its impressive length of 2.08 meters, it is crucial for the scrum and line-out of the 'Wallabies'. His twin brother Richie is exactly the same length, but was not selected for the World Cup.
Incidentally, the further top ten of tallest players at this World Cup consist solely of second riders. The South Africans also tower RG Snyman (2.07 meters), Lood de Jager (2.05) and Eben Etzebeth (2.03) and the New Zealanders Brodie Retallick (2.04) and Sam Whitelock (2.02) high above their teammates.
See also: Rugby World Cup starts without the Netherlands, will the Orange be there in four years?