Thursday Jan 26, 2017

Six young stars to watch out for in the 2017 Six Nations Championship

Ahead of the much anticipated Six Nations Championship, kicking off 4 February, we take a look at six up-and-coming players you should keep an eye on throughout the tournament. If you haven’t yet seen the full squads, you can do so here.


The Harlequins loose forward is a robust youngster eager to make an impact on the big stage – in more ways than one. Still just 23 years-old, Clifford already has two tries for England and has proven a more than capable stand-in for former captain Chris Robshaw.

At 6ft4 and just a tad over 17st, Clifford has an intimidating presence on the field, but the Brisbane-born player has surprisingly agile feet and is a potent force with ball in hand given the slightest space. A threat in any English side.


HUW JONES – Scotland

A bit of an unknown to many in Scotland, let alone the rest of the Northern Hemisphere, Jones’ ascension to national representation has followed a slightly unorthodox path. He moved to South Africa to study, but was soon signed by Super Rugby franchise the Stormers.

Jones, whose Welsh father was a primary school teacher at Edinburgh’s George Watson’s College, gained his first cap as a replacement against Japan last summer before scoring a spectacular brace on his home debut against Australia.

The Scots have more depth in the centre than ever before, so Jones’ inclusion is not a dead-cert. But the 23 year-old, already courted by Glasgow Warriors, definitely knows his way to the tryline.


A real traditional French scrum-half, Baptiste Serin has deservedly worked his way into the national side. Seen by some as a natural successor to Morgan Parra, Serin potentially has the complete game, and some sought-after French flair as well.

At 22, Serin is a fair bit older than Parra when the latter made his own debut against Scotland in 2008, but shares a similar set of natural skills. A reliable kicker from hand and the tee, Serin is equally adept at his sniping runs around the side of the ruck, proving more than a handful for the opposition.

His deft reverse pass to give Louis Picamoles a try against the All Blacks in the end-of-year Tests proves that French flair is not dead yet. An exciting starting number nine for the future.


Canna had an excellent game in the opening round of last season’s tournament, with a near complete performance against France in Paris. The out-half kicked an early drop goal, scored a try at the start of the second half and knocked over the conversion to give the French a real scare on home turf.

His ability is often overlooked due to his club Zebre’s inability to win matches, but this should not be the impression the world has of Canna. A natural 10, he can run the ship almost single-handedly on a good day. The shame is that good days in the white of his club or the Azzurri Blue of Italy are seldom frequent.

Much like Sergio Parisse, an exciting talent is masked by a misfiring outfit.


One of the stand-out figures from last season’s PRO12 title triumph for Connacht, O’Halloran loves to attack, and comes into his own when joined by like-minded back three-quarters. With Ireland, he will have this aplenty as he looks to be the next in line to take over the fullback jersey when Rob Kearney hangs up his boots.

Good in the air and always keen for a run, O’Halloran has used his club side’s rise to prominence to showcase his own talents. Coach Joe Schmidt certainly likes what he sees and a first 6 Nations appearance is expected, if not guaranteed.


Despite being part of the England team that won the junior world cup in 2013, Moriarty has chosen to represent Wales at senior level, and it’s easy to see why the mobile back-rower is tipped to be a big part of the national setup in years to come.

His form at Gloucester has been consistently impressive and he has grown into the mould of a modern day Number 8. A ferocious fend and incredible upper body strength, Moriarty is not known to go backwards in the contact area.

Defensively he is more than astute and has put in some notable crunching hits on opponents throughout his time in the Aviva Premiership.

Wales have an abundance in able back-rowers: Dan Lydiate, Sam Warburton, Taulupe Faletau and Justin Tipuric, but Moriarty is waiting in the wings and his promotion may come sooner than you think.

The tournament was officially launched yesterday in London, so you can watch a recording of that live stream, featuring interviews with both the men’s and ladies captains, here.

Do you agree with our picks, and is there anyone else that you’re looking forward to seeing play?


Related Articles

  • 88 WEEKS AGO

    scottish prop saves fire victim

  • 92 WEEKS AGO

    New Rugby X tournament insane

  • 120 WEEKS AGO

    Vunipola stands by his comments supporting...


Great Tries


    No other player has mastered intercepts like Bryan Habana could


    WATCH: French flair lights up Brisbane with EPIC coast-to-coast try


    Watch how Marcus Smith lit up Twickenham on England debut vs USA


    Extended highlights show why Josh Adams could be a Lions Test starter


    Aphelele Fassi: The debut Springbok that could change Warren Gatland's Lions selection

View All

Big Hits & Dirty Play

  • 1 DAY AGO

    Outspoken de Villiers gives his unique verdict on laws in Kolbe card debate

  • 1 DAY AGO

    This collection of brutal bump offs will remind you why you stopped playing rugby

  • 2 DAYS AGO

    Kyle Sinckler biting citing dismissed due to lack of clear evidence

  • 3 DAYS AGO

    The Kyle Sinckler bite that will put him on the next plane home

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    WATCH: Kolbe's clumsy head-on-head with Tom Curry which angered fans

View All

See It To Believe It

  • 6 DAYS AGO

    Rugby Australia condemn Erasmus public 'attack', back their referee

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    RWC winning coach launches unbelievable one hour rant at officials

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    New Rassie video targets foul play, confirming fake twitter account was his

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Critics hit out at Rassie Erasmus for fake twitter and 'comical' behaviour


    Awesome Daly kicking montage shows just how deadly his left boot really is

View All


  • 5 DAYS AGO

    WATCH: Five minutes of rugby comedy gold in one hilarious video


    Unimpressed Vunipola loses patience with Cheslin Kolbe in Cape Town


    New compilation of rare Nigel Owens footage is comedy gold


    The moment Ellis Genge soaks Ugo Monye live on TV is simply priceless


    WATCH: Inside the Quins changing rooms after winning AWESOME Prem final

View All


  • 39 WEEKS AGO

    Viral video of Scottish club brawl goes down a storm with rugby community

  • 76 WEEKS AGO

    RUGBYDUMP BLITZ: This Best of the Week round up is sure to entertain you

  • 77 WEEKS AGO

    RD BLITZ - Disaster, just when it looked so promising...

  • 77 WEEKS AGO

    That glorious moment that will live on forever, like it or not

  • 77 WEEKS AGO

    RD Blitz - PROP'S Lionel Messi wizardy creates incredible try

View All

Player Features


    A deeper look at Jason Robinson's incredible path to the top

  • 23 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Bumping off tacklers and taking high balls, Rob Kearney had an impressive Super Rugby debut

  • 29 WEEKS AGO

    Brian Moore on money in modern rugby and how it should never be compared to 'outlier' football

  • 30 WEEKS AGO

    Tuisova's wrecking ball montage will make you grateful you never made it as a pro

  • 36 WEEKS AGO

    New Zealand rugby pod admit Owen Farrell is world class

View All