HERE ARE five relatively unknown players who have made a splash in Super Rugby this season.
Jesse Mogg (Brumbies)
Don’t worry if you w re scratching your head when you first heard about this kid with the odd name.
So were we.
Mogg has returned from relative rugby obscurity after switching codes to play for the Brisbane Broncos NRL club in his teens.
He was on the verge of heading back to Brisbane to try his luck – after spending a couple of years trying to make the step up from the Brumby Runners – before new Brumbies coach Jake White literally stumbled across him playing club rugby for Wests at North Oval.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Mogg is a multi-talented player who is equally at home at fullback or wing, though he clearly relishes the extra space afforded to him in the No 15 jersey.
He is also a more than handy goalkicker. The only shame is that he will have to step aside when Robbie Coleman
Dave Harvey (Force)
This is a great story.
Born in Brisbane to a Brazilian mother and an Australian father who is the son of the Australian hall of fame cricketer, Neil Harvey, this 29-year-old journeyman made a stunning debut against the Waratahs, scoring 16 of his side’s points as the Force snatched an unlikely 21-20 victory.
An active PE teacher outside of rugby, Harvey has played club rugby in England, Italy and (most recently) France.
The two-time Ken Catchpole medal winner was good enough to play Sydney first grade cricket at the age of 16, also representing his state at age-grade level.
He has previously represented the Australia Sevens side, the Australian Barbarians and captained Sydney last year.
Harvey also enjoyed a short stint in league when he left high school, representing NRL club South Sydney, but has spent the last decade in the 15-man game.
Juandre Kruger (Bulls)
The name Juandre Kruger won’t be overly familiar to New Zealand and Australian rugby fans who don’t keep up with what’s going on in English rugby, but those who do, particularly those who follow the Northampton Saints, would have seen his impressive Super Rugby arrival coming a mile away.
After being forced to cool his heels behind the likes of Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha at the Bulls last year, Kruger is making the most of his opportunities this season.
The 26-year-old Cape Town product spent two seasons at Franklin’s Gardens, winning plenty of admirers with his no-nonsense second row displays and gaining selection in most pundits’ Premiership XVs.
Many tipped Kruger to eventually represent England once he qualified on residency, but a burning desire to turn out for the Springboks saw the hard-running lock return to South Africa.
Willie le Roux (Cheetahs)
Given that wings are quite rightly judged on their ability to sniff out the tryline, Le Roux looks to be an exciting prospect on the flank, having scored three tries for the Cheetahs this season.
However, what a lot of people don’t realise is that the 22-year-old is actually playing out of position in the No 11 jersey. He’s normally a ball-running, try-scoring, first five or fullback for Boland in the second tier Currie Cup First Division in South Africa. Last year he scored 16 tries for the Kavaliers!
Still, the former Emerging Blitzbokke sevens player is more than holding his own on the wing, showing strength, guile and an extremely clean pair of heels, particularly in his side’s narrow loss to the Brumbies in Canberra, where he was easily the most dangerous player on the field.
Scott Fardy (Brumbies)
What’s not to like about this barnstorming flanker cum lock?
He’s big, tough, and makes headway nearly early time he gets his mitts on the ball.
Fardy has travelled an unconventional route to the Super Rugby stage, having enjoyed stints with the Waratahs and Force academies, before spending a season in Japan with second division club Kamaishi Seawaves, where he joined former All Black Pita Alatini in being stranded in the tsunami-ravaged city last year.
Like Harvey, Fardy is another former Ken Catchpole medal winner. Despite the fact he has stood out as one of the most impressive Australian loose forwards in Super Rugby this season, the 27-year-old is not even a fully-contracted member of the Brumbies squad, having been last of five players to pick up emerging playing squad contracts.« Back to Articles
With the series level, expect both teams to put it all on the line as they seek to win the deciding test in Sydney on Saturday night.