Talented quintet eager to make their mark
Five uncapped players who can make their mark in this year’s Heineken Cup
Jonathan Pelissie in action for Grenoble against Biarritz. The scrum-half is now making a name for himself with in-form Montpellier. Photo: Gaizka Iroz/AFP/Getty
The future of the Heineken Cup remains uncertain but plenty of players are still hoping to use this year’s tournament as a stepping stone to the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Here are five uncapped players to keep an eye on .
1. Eli Walker (Ospreys)
The 20-year-old is perfectly equipped for the exhilarating attacking role filled for so long for the Ospreys by Shane Williams. Quick, elusive and a natural try-scorer, he started this season with three tries in his first four games and will score many more if he stays fit.
2. Jonathan Pelissie
Has already produced some f eye-catching performances. For Montpellier to beat Clermont Auvergne by the remarkable margin of 43-3 was quite something; for one man to score 31 of those points suggests a rare talent.
Pelissie hails from the Lot region but as a teenage half-back found his path blocked at Brive by the overseas signings Andy Goode and Shaun Perry. He moved to Grenoble but has now been snapped up by Montpellier and settled at scrum-half. Sharp, alert and a good goal-kicker, the 25-year-old could yet emerge as a genuine rival to Morgan Parra for the French No9 jersey.
3. Sam Dickinson
The revelation of the Premiership season to date, the forceful Manchester-born No8 is another fine example of the untapped talent lurking in the Championship.
The former Rotherham captain thought his shot at the big time with the Saints might have ended prematurely when he broke his arm for the second time inside a few months before he had even arrived at Franklin’s Gardens. His outstanding pre-season form this year, however, earned him a starting place. Strong, direct and a dynamic ball-carrier. Now 28 but, like Nick Easter, he appears to have benefited from his long apprenticeship in the Championship.
4. Will Fraser (Saracens)
Just back from the shoulder surgery that ruled him out of England’s summer tour to Argentina. The strapping 23-year-old back-row forward’s faster-than-expected return to fitness has come just in time for this year’s European campaign, and he and Jacques Burger will give Sarries real strength at the breakdown. Scored a try on his England Saxons debut against the Irish Wolfhounds and also excelled against Munster in last year’s Heineken Cup.
5. Cory Allen (Cardiff Blues)
At 6ft 3in tall and weighing 15st 8lb, the 20-year-old Allen (following the departure of Jamie Roberts to Racing Métro) has the chance to make an early impact in the Heineken Cup.
Allen has already represented Wales Under-20s and scored the try of the tournament at this year’s Hong Kong Sevens.