With just four weeks until the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, we list six players to keep an eye on as the tournament kicks off at the Millennium Stadium.
What safer place than to start with potentially one of the stars of the tournament? ‘GI’ has long been a scintillating performer – his dynamism at the line coupled with his ability to conjure up try-scoring situations seemingly out of nothing elevates him above many of his peers.
Long tipped for the big stage in the principality, the fair-haired centre’s rangy running style should provide the guile to a forward pack that is likely to include his twin brother Ben.
You can be forgiven at first for not noticing the Sydney Roosters winger – at just 5ft10 he is dwarfed by fellow wide man Daniel Tupou. But the fleet-footed youngster is certainly making people sit up and take notice. Armed with pace and devious footwork, Tuivasa-Sheck has shown he can be a potent threat from the wing or at full-back.
In his first full season in the NRL, his performances have only enhanced since being selected in the 19-man squad for this season’s ANZAC Test, the latest of which seeing him score the match-winning try in the Roosters’ play-off win over Manly.
Whilst Sean O’Loughlin faces a race to be fit for the start of the tournament, Burgess has been dominant in the NRL – his 151 run metres was South Sydney’s highest during Friday’s 20-10 play-off win over Melbourne Storm.
The Catalan centre only made his international debut in last year’s autumn international series against England and Wales, but he quickly made his mark with his ability to offload out of tackles. He has since backed up with 10 tries in 20 appearances in 2013, and has the potential to light up Group B.
Akuila Uate (Fiji)
At club, Origin and international level, the winger’s try-scoring record speaks for itself. Such firepower will be crucial for Bati in a tough group.