Top 5 Australian Super Rugby debutants of 2017
Photo: Western Force
It hasn’t been a great year for Australia’s Super Rugby sides, who have all struggled to find their best this season on and off the field.
But there may be some light at the end of the tunnel.
As RUPA acknowledged earlier this week, 47 players have made their debut for Australian Super Rugby sides already in 2017 and the majority of them are still quite young.
2017 Australian Super Rugby debutants:
Brumbies: Tom Cusack, Wharenui Hawera, Andrew Muirhead, Dewet Roos, Faalelei Sione and Isaac Thompson
Force: Richie Arnold, Lewis Carmichael, Onehunga Havili, Billy Meakes, Isi Naisarani, Alex Newsome, Chance Peni, Curtis Rona, Michael Ruru, Mitch Short, James Verrity-Amm, Shambeckler Vui
Rebels: Dominic Day, Murray Douglas, Jackson Garden-Bachop, Harrison Goddard, Esei Haangana, Marika Koroibete, Tyrel Lomax, Jack Maddocks, Amanaki Mafi, Will Miller, Fereti Sa’aga, Hugh Sinclair, Jordan Uelese
Reds: Philip Kite, Alex Mafi, Lachlan Maranta, Izaia Perese, Izack Rodda, Kirwan Sanday, Moses Sorovi, Hamish Stewart, Markus Vanzati
Waratahs: Cameron Clark, Jake Gordon, Maclean Jones, Mack Mason, David Lolohea, Irae Simone, Senio Toleafoa
While not all debutants have set the world on fire in what still has been a disappointing year for Australia’s Super Rugby sides, a select few have shown they’re more than capable of handling themselves on the big stage and have bucket loads of potential.
Here are our top five Australian Super Rugby debutants of 2017:
Billy Meakes – Western Force
26-year old Billy Meakes was a standout in the Shute Shield for a number of years but only made his Super Rugby debut earlier this season after a two-year stint in the UK. The solid inside centre is tough as nails and was unlucky to miss selection in Michael Cheika’s Wallabies squad this month.
Jake Gordon – NSW Waratahs
23-year old Jake Gordon is another player who benefited from a few extra years of development, playing club rugby. The former Sydney Uni No.9 jumped at an opportunity for some Super Rugby game time back in round two and quickly played his was into the Waratahs starting side and the Wallabies June Test squad.
Izaia Perese – Queensland Reds
Izaia Perese was a standout in last year’s NRC and made his Super Rugby debut for the Reds this year. While the outside back and the Reds have had an up and down season, the 20-year old showed his true potential playing for Australia at the U20s World Cup. Perese was untouchable at times and won’t take long to show that form at Super Rugby level.
Jordan Uelese – Melbourne Rebels
Like Perese, Victorian bred hooker Jordan Uelese has starred for Australia at the U20s World Cup after making his Super Rugby debut this season and some big names have noticed. Michael Cheika is expected to invite Uelese into Wallabies camp for the remainder of the campaign when he returns from Georgia.
Izack Rodda – Queensland Reds
After packing on an extra 15kg, 20-year old Izack Rodda is already an imposing figure at 202cm and 120kg. While his introduction to Super Rugby hasn’t been an easy one, Rodda will continue to improve as he fill out his frame and looks to be a genuine future Wallaby in the years to come.