Sam Spink (Western Force, English)
The former Wasps centre has found himself exiled to Australia since the collapse of the club in 2022. Spink opted to move to Western Force alongside club mate, Zach Kibirige. Whilst Kibirge has moved to Biarritz, Spink has decided to remain playing Super Rugby for another season. With only 21 Premiership games under his belt, it was a huge gamble to make such a move in the first place.
The 24-year old centre made an immediate impact in his debut Super Rugby season with his monstrous carrying ability into contact. Spink made the third most contact metres per 80 of any player in the world last season and the most of any centre across the four major leagues. Jasper Wiese and Samsoni Taukei'aho were the only two players to beat the young centre. His carrying threat was identified by the Waratahs who kicked every restart to Spink when they played Western Force in order to take him out of the game from the off.
However, it's not just Spink's brute force that is of note. The centre has gas to burn and a sleight of hand which puts his support runners into the gaps he busts open.
Spink could prove to be England's answer at inside centre going forward. Although he has played most of his rugby at outside centre, Spink possesses traits that echo Sonny Bill Williams which could fit a switch to 12. Sam Spink could be a bargain buy for any Premiership side looking to get across the gainline and he may even pique the interest of Steve Borthwick if a return to the Premiership can be secured.
Nadir Megdoud (Bayonne, Algerian)
Bayonne have been one of the rising forces of club rugby in the past few seasons. The club has built an incredible atmosphere which is generating a sense of excitement. One of the players who has been lured to the club is Nadir Megdoud from Stade Francais. The winger has six caps for Algeria and has excited fans in Africa when he has sported his national jersey.
The 26-year old's journey has not been plain sailing. Bayonne is his fifth club since 2019. Megdoud played for Brive in the Top 14 but they were relegated for the 2018/19 season. He then found himself at RC Beauvais which was in France's fourth and fifth division during the COVID years. Megdoud secured a contract with Rouen in the ProD2 for a season and his career has rocketed again since then, with a season at Stade Francais before his recent move to Bayonne.
At Stade, Megdoud beat the third most defenders in the world per 80 last season. He has carried on this form at Bayonne this season by beating the second most defenders per 80 so far in the Top 14. The Algerian international put in a stellar performance in the Champions Cup against Glasgow where he beat the most defenders in a game so far in Europe with nine defenders left in his wake. In that game just two weeks ago, Megdoud attempted an audacious run from his own line.
Megdoud possesses an extremely low centre of gravity which makes him next to impossible to put down.
Combined with a wicked step and electric acceleration, it makes the Algerian international one of the most lethal attacking options out there right now. Expect his value to continue to rise.
Rus Tuima (Exeter, English)
Since George Kruis retired from international rugby and Joe Launchbury has been experiencing his injury rut, England have been in the hunt for a new tighthead lock. Jonny Hill was considered the successor but he was then jettisoned by Borthwick last Six Nations. Leicester's Ollie Chessum and George Martin were the two names fighting it out earlier this year, but there may be a new name in town. Rus Tuima.
Around the world there is a growing trend for gigantic Polynesian tighthead locks. Australia have the 6ft 8in and 135kg Will Skelton, and France are set to have Emmanuel Meafou and Posolo Tuilagi going forward. These sizeable locks add serious power in the scrum and are key ball carriers for getting across the gainline. Rus Tuima could be England's answer to these titans. Tuima is 6ft 5in and 128kg himself. He also comes from rugby pedigree. Akapusi Qera, the former Fijian captain is his uncle and Joe Cokanasiga is his cousin.
Tuima has been a crucial cog of Exeter 2.0 and his ability to get across the gainline is invaluable. Not only has he crossed the gainline the most out of any lock in the Premiership but he is also crossing the gainline the most per 80 of any lock. Tuima has crossed the gainline 32 times this season which is 10 more than Alex Coles. He is also using this ability to cross the try line with four tries in the Premiership so far this season.
In addition, Tuima has also beaten the most defenders out of the Premiership locks with 9 beaten so far and 1.59 per 80 minutes. It is Posolo Tuilagi and Emmanuel Meafou leading the way in the Top 14 so Tuima is echoing very sizeable footsteps. The question remains to be seen whether he'll be included in Steve Borthwick's England squad for the Six Nations.