John Smit, the captain who led South Africa to victory at Rugby World Cup 2007, and Martin Corry, Rugby World Cup winner with England in 2003, each pick their key player from their respective home nation.
Corry highlights England’s need for “a big ball carrier,” saying, “we need Billy Vunipola to be able to play at a high intensity. He’s got a lot of work to do on his fitness but if he can do that I think he can make big strides.” The Saracens back rower won the Premiership Rugby Land Rover ‘Discovery of the Season’ award in May, beating some fantastic competition to the prize, such as Bath playmaker George Ford, winger Anthony Watson and Leicester fly-half Owen Williams.
Smit agrees that, “he is a good player. If his engine is up to it at Rugby World Cup 2015 he will be a big player.”
Smit goes on to pick Bath flanker Francois Louw as his stand out player, saying, “I think Francois Louw is going to be a key ingredient to the South African campaign, considering he plies his trade there in Bath. He’s been a huge influence in the team strategy as well. There hasn’t been an almighty amount of beauty about their game but there has been an effectiveness around the breakdown and Francois Louw has spearheaded that. He needs to be injury free and firing on all cylinders and that will really help us.”