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Tier 2 players to look out for in the future

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Tier 2 players to look out for in the future

Postby welshdragon2000 » Sun, 23 Dec 2018, 22:31

Which players look like standouts for the future?
Georgia of course have a couple in Aprasidze and Abzhandadze as well as a load of their forwards of course.
Fiji have some very strong youngsters coming through.
USA is the one that interests me most. Is there any players touted with a big future there? Ruben de Haas perhaps?
Spain have a very good set of youngsters coming through at U18 level, any names to look out for in particular?
Netherlands? Germany?
Just lost those names off of tier2/3 players who will improve their nation and take them forward a step.

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Re: Tier 2 players to look out for in the future

Postby Tobar » Mon, 24 Dec 2018, 19:17

The USA swill have a bunch thanks in large part to MLR. There are plenty of talented players spread out across the country who have been stuck in lower level club rugby because it’s the closest thing. There are plenty that are known in the rugby circles such as Harley Davidson who shone for the Raptors last year (and went to Life University which is the best rugby school) but there are also players such as Seimou Smith who is playing for Rugby United New York this year who played football and rugby at college then played D3 rugby in Connecticut. It’s only been a few games but he really seemed to get the game and should break out in MLR next season.

David Ainu’u is another well known up and comer for USA. He’s only 18 years old and made the senior side for Toulouse (and even played 20 or so minutes in a coupe of Champions Cup matches). That’s simply incredible for someone of his age. He’s another product from Washington state like Titi Lamositele.

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Re: Tier 2 players to look out for in the future

Postby Armchair Fan » Tue, 25 Dec 2018, 20:29

I really don't know where to start. It's hard to give names because we've got a high rate of people dropping out when they reach senior stage, amateurism and the lure of 7s now that Spain seems stable in the World Series. And let's be honest, with Ezeala and Paulos gone I don't see a single guy allowing Spain to make a huge step forward, but rather a generation or two increasing the average level of homegrown talent.

Among those who are already senior, the core of 2016 U20 Trophy team embodies most of our hopes. Jon Zabala and Jordi Jorba are coming back from injuries and we're eager to watch them at next REC. Alvar Gimeno is outgrowing Liga Heineken and he desperately needs a call from abroad to keep progressing, he's too good to stay here. He was already seen in last November window, as well as Munilla brothers (Tomás made his ProD2 debut last weekend), Joshua Peters, Toby Francis, Asier Usarraga (gaining lots of minutes in Biarritz this season), Andrea Rabago or Vicente del Hoyo. Apart from them there are guys like Luis Canti and Guillermo Domínguez who were aces as juniors but give more doubts as seniors due to size and/or injuries. Apart from them already around Leones, I've seen promising things from Pedro González in UBU-Colina Clinic (probably the only prop apart from Zabala) or Gabriel Vélez in VRAC (called for last national training camp). Sevens has attracted a few from these guys too, like Alejandro Alonso (whose medicine studies make me think we'll never see him play XV again, I hope I'm wrong...) or Iñaki Mateu.

From this season's U20, my strictly personal feeling is that there is less talent than two-three years ago but it's a better team and the bar has been raised. Unfortunately Martín Alonso tore his ACL a couple of weeks ago, when he had already been capped in Sevens last Summer. Kerman Aurrekoetxea (came back from France and plays for El Salvador, switching swiftly from scrum-half to fullback depending on the team needs) and Marc Palomar have been called for senior national training camps, Otger Sirvent and Sergio Molinero are doing great things in Burgos for a newly-promoted team and I've heard wonders about Gonzalo López Bontempo, currently in Biarritz. Daniel Barranco looked good too playing Sevens, let's see if it translates to XV.

As you said, our U18 squad looks extremely promising, although I'm a bit scared by two things: lack of cohesion since we could have up to 2/3 of the team this year playing abroad and the fact that no matter how good they are, they probably won't be able to finish higher than 3rd at the European Championship, behind Georgia and France B. Diego Periel has been starting for Bath and Beechen Cliff in England and already played senior 7s for Spain and we've started to send forwards to France like Joel Merkler or Gonzalo Gonzalez, with some still coming a year younger (been talked about Carlos Zaloña, from VRAC). Behind, there seem to be good specimens both abroad and still in Spain. This Christmas we've got training Sevens Mario Pichardie (Wasps), Victor Gavin (Wasps), Ike Irusta (Marbella) and Arnau Andrés (Tecnidex Valencia) among others.

But in the end and as said previously a lot depends on whether they can be pro, whether they go abroad (there seem to be a path built, with lots of scouting going on) and whether they switch to Sevens as the most secure form of professional rugby at home.

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