Who is the most influential player in world rugby? That is the question they asked themselves in the New Zealand medium Stuff and they created a ranking of a total of 50 players. Among the most prominent, is the current captain of The Pumas and player of the Stade Français, Pablo Matera.
A nine-member panel: Stuff rugby writers Aaron Goile, Marc Hinton, Paul Cully, Richard Knowler and Robert van Royen; former All Black Aaron Mauger, former All Blacks coach Wayne Smith, former Black Fern Izzy Ford and Wellington Pride player Alice Soper were the selected jurors to select their 50 most influential players.
With 290 points, Pablo Matera was in ninth place, one place ahead of the world champion captain with the Springboks Siya Kolisi. “Big, strong and very skilled, this versatile forward has become the most influential of the current generation of Argentine players. He inspired Los Pumas to their historic win over the All Blacks in Australia last year with a commanding performance, mixing withering physics with sublime skills in equal measure. He never takes a step back on the field and plays with a pride, passion and ferocity that are emblematic of his country’s DNA as a rugby nation.“They described the third line.
In addition, from the New Zealand portal they added: “Engulfed in controversy late last year over inappropriate social media posts from his youth, he apologized and vowed to prove himself to his fans once again. Now he exercises his trade for the Stade Français after the disappearance of the Jaguars“.
The top 3? The Englishman Maro Itoje, the New Zealander Aaron Smith and the South African Pieter-Steph du Toit.
The complete ranking of 50 players: 50. Sarah Hirini, 49. Kelly Brazier, 48. Sene Naoupu, 47. Eloise Blackwell, 46. Jessy Trémoulière, 45. Dane Coles, 44. Ruby Tui, 43. Finn Russell, 42. Justin Tipuric, 41. Stacey Fluhler, 40. Virimi Vakatawa, 39. Stuart Hogg, 38. Tadhg Furlong, 37. Charles Piutau, 36. Damian de Allende, 35. Grégory Alldritt, 34. Mako Vunipola, 33. Alun Wyn Jones, 32. Johnny Sexton, 31. James Ryan, 30. Anton Lienert-Brown, 29. Duane Vermeulen, 28. Malcolm Marx, 27. Handré Pollard, 26. Tom Curry, 25. Taniela Tupou, 24. Michael Hooper, 23. Emily Scarratt, 22. Manu Tuilagi, 21 Eben Etzebeth, 20. Billy Vunipola, 19. Romain Ntamack, 18. Sam Whitelock, 17. Kendra Cocksedge, 16. Faf de Klerk, 15. Owen Farrell, 14. Cheslin Kolbe, 13. Portia Woodman, 12. Ardie Savea, 11. Richie Mo’unga, 10. Siya Kolisi, 9. Pablo Matera, 8. Brodie Retallick, 7. Sam Cane, 6. Antoine Dupont, 5. Beauden Barrett, 4. Semi Radradra, 3. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 2. Aaron Smith and 1. Maro Itoje.