With the season set to start on Feburary 19, Sporting News has examined the rosters of each Australian Super Rugby side to find 10 players set to break out and push for regular Wallaby selection in 2021.
The 2021 Super Rugby AU competition shapes as a new era for rugby union in Australia. New broadcast deal, new competition format, new players set to emerge as stars for the five Super Rugby teams. The introduction of new Wallabies coach Dave Rennie saw a host of players handed their first cap.
The likes of Lachie Swinton, Tom Banks and Matt Philip have all become regulars in the side, as we predicted at the start of last year.
With the season set to start on February 19, Sporting News has examined the rosters of each Australian Super Rugby side to find 10 players set to break out and push for Wallaby selection in 2021.
NOTE: All players nominated are those who are either yet to represent their country or have played less than two games
#1 Len Ikitau
Ikitau was one of the breakout players for the Brumbies, helping them secure the 2020 Super Rugby Australia.
Incredibly, this impact mainly came from the bench, turning into a game-breaker on a number of occasions throughout the year.
His talent was recognised by Rennie, selected as a bolter in the Wallabies squad for the Bledisloe Cup and Tri Nations series.
With Tevita Kuridrani heading to the West, Ikitau has a perfect opportunity to show what he can do in a consistent starting role.
#2 Nick Frost
Frost has made headlines since leaving NSW as a schoolboy for Knox after attracting the interest of the Crusaders.
Serving an 18-month stint under the tutelage of All Blacks great Sam Whitelock, Frost would return to Australia in 2019 and sign with the Brumbies.
Whilst he has had limited starting opportunity, he has shown his class in brief stints.
With the Wallabies struggling for lock depth, a strong season could have him on the verge of selection when France arrive July.
#3 Fraser McReight
McReight was rewarded for a strong 2020 season with his maiden cap off the bench for the Wallabies against the All Blacks in Sydney.
Whilst he only featured for 13 minutes, the 21-year-old looks set to claim the crown left by Michael Hooper who has left fora sabbatical in Japan.
The former Junior Wallabies captain has been touted as a future Queensland and Australian captain, selected to captain Brisbane City in NRC at the age of 19
McReight will be key to the Reds’ push towards the title in 2021 with regular captain Liam Wright sidelined with injury
#4 Jock Campbell
Whilstall the talk has centred about the ‘next generation’ of Junior Wallabies taking the step up to Super Rugby, Jock Campbell has flown under the radar at the back of the Reds.
It’s easy to forget that Campbell is still developing at just 25, playing with a sense of maturity and control beyond his years.
He has been likened to a young Stephen Larkham by some critics, however, he was a surprise omissionin the end-of-season Wallabies squad.
Expect Campbell to come out with a point to prove, with the likes of Hamish Stewart and teenage sensation Mac Grealy on his tail.
#5 Trevor Hosea
Hosea looms as the next big thing – literally – with the 203cm lock a Wallaby in waiting after a breakout campaign.
With a host of locks heading overseas, Rennie resisted the temptation to blood the 20-year-old following his stellar rookie season with the Rebels.
Leading the competition in line-out steals, Hosea provides something that the Wallabies and Australian rugby have been missing for a while.
With Matt Philip leaving the Rebels for France, the Junior Wallaby will step up as one of the Rebels key forwards in 2021.
#6 Pone Fa’amausili
Fa’amausili is a cult hero waiting to happen.
The 23-year-old is the type of player that could become a household name with the new broadcast deal ashis flowing mullet, big hits and express running style make him a human highlight reel in 2020.
Locked down until 2022, Fa’amausili will be contending with the likes of Angus Bell and Harry Johnson-Holmes for a spot in the Wallabies side.
However, if the Victorian can bring similar big plays to the Rebels faithful in 2021, there will be a chorus calling for his selection.
#7 Will Harrison
Harrison continues to take the next step as he continues his rugby development, emerging as a leader for the NSW Waratahs.
The 21-year-old was picked in the Wallabies squad, however, Rennie opted for the likes of Noah Lolesio and Reece Hodge at flyhalf following James O’Connor’s injury.
With Michael Hooper leaving a major hole in the squad, Harrison has been earmarked by Waratahs coaches as a key leader heading forward into 2021 and he will be pushing to earn his maiden Wallabies cap
#8 Tepai Moeroa
Moeroa will be familiar to league fans, having played 112 games for the Parramatta Eels.
However, the 25-year-old made the switch back to rugby union in 2020, having earned selection in the Australian Schoolboys and Sevens squads during his time at Newington College.
Given his background, Moeroa’s combination of size and strength makes him a nightmare for outside backs to tackle as hecontinues his transition to inside centre.
#9 Fergus Lee-Warner
Lee-Warner was a late developer, signed to the Force’s squad from club rugby in 2017.
Since then, the 27-year-old has been one of their best in a forwards pack that struggled in 2020.
He would be awarded the Nathan Sharpe Medal in 2020 as the club’s best and fairest.
With Argentinan internationals Tomás Lezana and Santiago Medrano along with former Wallaby Tom Robertson set to bolster their pack, Lee-Warner will be looking to turn his dream run into Wallabies selection.
#10 Byron Ralston
Ralston is a unique prospect, having moved from Darwin to Queensland to pursue his rugby union dream.
The 20-year-old continues to impress for the Force, scoring their first Super Rugby tryfollowing their exile in round two of 2020.
He would finish the year tied with four tries, tied fourth on the leading try-scorer list.
Ralston will benefit from having legendary Irish fullback Rob Kearney as a mentor heading forward.