November sees the return of test rugby in the Northern Hemisphere and it’s traditionally the time when the big test teams from the Southern Hemisphere end their season by taking on the best that Europe has to offer. This year is no different with some massive clashes between the biggest teams on the planet in the cards.
The biggest games are the stages when the best players step up to the plate and this year will be no different. So, with that in mind we’ve picked out five of the most exciting and most interesting players to watch this November – some you’ll have definitely heard of, some you may not have. We’ll also explain the rugby boots these players wear and how they help make them even better…
Beauden Barrett – New Zealand
— Newshub Sport (@NewshubSport) October 21, 2016
You’ve probably heard the name but unless you watched The Rugby Championship or Super Rugby, you might not have seen the young All Blacks outside half play yet – and you’re in for a treat. Simply put, the Hurricanes pivot might be the best player in world rugby right now, and has proven himself to be a worthy successor to the great Dan Carter in the All Blacks number 10 jersey.
Blessed with exceptional vision and awareness, Barrett excels at creating attacking opportunities for his team-mates with a well-timed pass or kick to put them into space – but that’s not all. With a wicked sidestep and perhaps the best combination of acceleration and top-end pace of any 10 playing today, Barrett is always a threat to score himself.
Boots worn: adidas Predator Malice – adidas’ latest evolution of the classic Predator concept is designed for backs with a Sprintframe construction and Speedtraxion stud alignment for improved stability and acceleration, while the Predator element in the forefoot is designed to better enable precision kicking.
Santiago Cordero – Argentina
Argentina has traditionally been known for their tough, skillful forwards, but in recent years that trend has been changing, and the Pumas have begun to play a hugely creative, attacking style of rugby that makes use of some of the most exciting and dynamic players in world rugby.
Santiago Cordero might be the most exciting of the lot – just 22 years old and 1.75 metres tall, the winger-cum-full back already lit up Rugby World Cup 2015 with his blistering pace and side-stepping, and he’ll bring those skills back to Europe tempered with even more international experience.
Boots worn: Nike Magista – Cordero has been spotted wearing both the lowcut Nike Magista Opus and the Nike Magista Obra with its dynamic flyknit collar. Nike’s latest cleat silo, released in 2014, is designed for creative players that provides comfort and traction and with a grip design on the top of the boot for enhanced kicking control.
Leigh Halfpenny – Wales
— Stanley Weber (@StanleyWeber55) September 4, 2016
As a Grand Slam winner and Lions 2013 Man Of The Series, there are few in rugby who won’t be aware of the world class abilities of the Wales full-back, but despite still being regarded as one of the world’s best, a serious knee injury on the eve of last year’s Rugby World Cup robbed him of his entire 2015/16 season, and he returns to the test stage with plenty to prove.
Halfpenny in his prime was without question the best goal-kicker on the planet, as well as a superb defender and a potent attacker. After such a long layoff, can the 27-year-old re-establish himself as Wales’ most dependable player?
Boots worn: Under Armour Clutchfit Force 2.0 – Under Armour ambassador Halfpenny has worn a variety of colorways of the Clutchfit (including some custom examples) but he favors the boot for its comfort and the 3D printer outer layer, which improves your ability to strike the ball.
Elliot Daly – England
Wasps centre Elliot Daly has been a man on the fringes of England for some time now, but Eddie Jones clearly feels that the 24-year-old’s time has arrived at last, picking him to start at 13 for the Grand Slam winners’ opening game against South Africa.
It’s not hard to see what Jones feels Daly can bring to the outside centre position – a gliding runner with a great step and excellent turn of pace, he can break outside with ease, but also has the passing ability to put others into space and has a mostern long-range goal-kicking boot, too.
Boots worn: Adidas Crazyquick Malice – Daly’s varied skills require a versatile boot, and the lightweight Crazyquick Malice offers Flexzones to mix stability and rigidity with explosive acceleration and agility for enhanced speed and control.
Keelan Giles – Wales
— SSE Next Generation (@SSENextGen) November 5, 2016
The true wildcard in our deck, most fans outside of Wales will not have heard of Keelan Giles… yet. But by the end of this season that could change. The 18-year-old Ospreys winger has been called into the Wales squad by coach Rob Howley, and many observers are predicting big things for the Waunarlwydd RFC product.
Giles has only five senior appearances for his region, but in those appearances he’s scored a jaw-dropping eight tries, leading many to compare him with Wales legend and 2008 World Player of the Year, Shane Williams. The comparisons are understandable – like Williams, Giles is very slight, at just 1.75m and 76kg, but he also has rocket fuel in his boots, a devastating sidestep, and the awareness to score tries from anywhere on the field. Simply put, Giles is box office – when he gets the chance this November, don’t expect him to look back.
Boots worn: Under Armour Speedform – fittingly for a player with jaw-dropping pace, Giles favors UA’s most speed-focused boot. With a seamless molded heel cup and a form-fitting synthetic upper, the Speedform is designed to feel like an extension of your foot.