As the countdown to the 2015 Rugby World Cup continues, we take a look at ten of the finest wingers who will grace our screens during this year’s rugby extravaganza.
10: Charles Piutau (New Zealand)
The Blues utility back has proved his worth in a New Zealand jersey since his Test debut in 2013, with a try record of four in fourteen matches.
The 24 year old who is due to join Ulster in July 2016, is part of an enviable array of outside backs available to Steve Hansen, and was top scorer during New Zealand’s successful 2011 Junior World Cup.
9: Juan Imhoff (Argentina)
The Racing Metro player who is equally comfortable at full back has thirteen tries in twenty six caps for Argentina, and is part of the new wave of Argentinian back play, that has seen the Pumas become much more than just the physical, forward orientated team they once were.
8: Yoann Huget (France)
The France international is not everyone’s cup of tea, but no one can doubt the ability the Toulouse winger possesses.
The 28 year old is blessed with blistering pace and a defence splitting sidestep that France boss Phillip Saint Andre will hope to see to good effect when the French take on Ireland on October 11.
7: Adam-Ashley-Cooper (Australia)
The Wallabies “Mister Fix It” has spread his 104 Australian caps across the wing, centre and full back positions but it’s as a winger that he makes this list.
The Waratahs man who will join Bordeaux in the Top 14 after the World Cup, has thirty tries to his name, and as the most experienced member of the Australian squad, will be relied upon to help the two time World champions escape from a Pool including the hosts England and Wales.
6: George North (Wales)
The Welsh star has been forced to miss quite a lot of rugby over the last year due to continuous concussions, but if fit and healthy he remains one of the most powerful players in world rugby.
The Northampton star, who can also play centre, is almost impossible to stop when in full flight, and he will need to be given the tortuous Pool dealt to Warren Gatland’s side.
5: Tommy Bowe (Ireland)
The Ulster star may have had a quieter 2015 Six Nations than he would have liked personally, but the Ireland winger is still a world class finisher when he gets the chance, as his record of 28 international tries proves.
The Monaghan man will be looked upon as one of the leaders of the backline, as he bids to help Ireland to a best ever World Cup performance.
4: Bryan Habana (South Africa)
The International Player of the Year in 2007, Habana broke Leinster hearts earlier this year with that intercept try during their Champions Cup semi-final.
The 32 year old was the star of South Africa’s last World Cup triumph in 2007 with eight tries, equalling Jonah Lomu’s record and still remains one of the world’s most feared attackers eight years on.
3: Drew Mitchell (Australia)
Much like Matt Giteau, the Toulon winger has benefitted from Australia’s new relaxed policy on picking overseas based players for their national team.
The former Waratahs star was in sensational form during the 2014/2015 season for Toulon, and will need to replicate his flying form for Australia, come the autumn.
2: Ben Smith (New Zealand)
With his deceptive footwork and his canny ability to find gaps Smith has seventeen international tries since his All Black debut in 2009.
The versatile Smith, like so many of his Kiwi teammates can cover a number of positions, and will probably join Julian Savea as the first choice wing options when New Zealand kick off their defence of the World Cup.
1: Julian Savea (New Zealand)
The benchmark for modern wingers, Savea will be one of the first names on Steve Hansen’s All Blacks starting line-up, when they kick off their World Cup campaign against Argentina on September 20.
The 24 year old has a remarkable thirty tries in just thirty three internationals, including a hat trick against Ireland on his debut in 2012.
His powerful running and ability to create try scoring opportunities out of nothing rank him up there with the great All Black wings of past eras, frightening considering how much longer he could potentially play for.