2016 looms as a year of transition for the Wallabies, with a handful of veterans going overseas. Which Super Rugby players could potentially make the step up next season?
REDS – SAMU KEREVI
Samu Kerevi nearly made the national side in 2015, included in the initial Rugby Championship 40-man squad. The 22-year-old was a standout for the Reds during Super Rugby, with his powerful runs. The centre led the team in tackles busts, line breaks, run metres and tries in 2015. His role will be a pivotal one for Queensland in 2016 after the departure of experienced halves Quade Cooper and Will Genia.
WARATAHS – TOLU LATU
The Waratahs hooker recently extended his contract with NSW, keeping him in Australia until at least the end of 2018. The 22-year-old has shown plenty of promise for the ‘Tahs, playing 28 Super Rugby games and looming as the heir apparent to Tatafu Polota-Nau. With 2016 effectively the start of a new international four-year cycle, Latu could definitely have a chance to sneak into a Wallabies camp with another strong Super Rugby season.
BRUMBIES – RORY ARNOLD
With Kane Douglas ruled out of most if not all of the 2016 Super Rugby season and Will Skelton also on the comeback trail, the chance for some new blood at lock will be hard to ignore. Arnold is a physical beast, the tallest player in Australian Super Rugby and a stand out for the Brumbies in 2015. Arnold impressed so much in his first full season at the Brumbies that he was called into the 31-man Rugby Championship squad ahead of the Wallabies’ opening match. The 25-year-old could definitely make it one step further this year.
REBELS- NIC STIRZAKER
With a handful of Wallabies now based overseas, there’s a giant opportunity at halfback. A hotly contested position leading into the World Cup, incumbent Will Genia and challenger Nic White are now both in France. Genia could still be available for some Tests but the 27-year-old has said he feels like his international career is over. Stirzaker is the next in line and a big season from the 24-year-old would put him in Wallabies calculations, likely in a battle with NSW’s Nick Phipps for the number nine jersey.
FORCE- KYLE GODWIN
The Force centre has been in the national mix before but injuries have curtailed his chance to make an impression. After a standout NRC season in 2014, he was included in last year’s Spring Tour squad but didn’t play a game. The 23-year-old will be looking to shake off a series of injuries in 2016 the back could squeeze his way back in if he manages to stay fit. That he could add another position to his arsenal in 2015 with the arrival of Ben Tapuai at the Force may help his chances.
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