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Six Breakthrough Guinness Six Nations Stars To Follow In The BKT URC

Six Breakthrough Guinness Six Nations Stars To Follow In The BKT URC

Here are six budding stars to follow in the 2023-2024 BKT United Rugby Championship. They already dominated the 2024 Guinness Six Nations Championship.

Mar 20, 2024 by Philip Bendon
Six Breakthrough Guinness Six Nations Stars To Follow In The BKT URC

As the 2024 Guinness Six Nations fades into our memories with the Irish squad still out celebrating in the streets of Dublin, the BKT United Rugby Championship gets set to return.

Now firmly into the business portion of the season, it is all to play for, as the 16 teams duke it out for a place in the all-important top 8 to secure, not only a playoff spot, but a place in next season’s Investec Champions Cup.

In order to do this, every team will need its star players to be in tip-top form through the final six rounds of the league phase.

Front and center of these star players are six youngsters who stood above the rest in this year’s Six Nations. Each player showed immense promise and looks set to have huge careers in the test arena and the URC.

Jack Crowley – Munster & Ireland

Now, firmly entrenched as Ireland’s first-choice flyhalf, the 24-year-old took over from the iconic Johnny Sexton in the green No. 10 shirt with immense composure. 

In fact, such was the level of his performances that many wondered if he, in fact, brought another dimension to the Six Nations champions game. 

Following a breakthrough campaign, Crowley will look to guide Munster to a second successive title later this season. It follows his drop-goal heroics in last year’s semifinal against Leinster.

Tommaso Menencello – Benetton & Italy

Power personified, the Benetton center burst through the door of the wider rugby public’s consciousness this year with several barnstorming performances. 

Forming a world-class center partnership with clubmate Ignacio Brex, the duo will look to guide what hands down is the most talented Benetton squad of all time to a deep playoff run. 

His ability to create go-forward ball will be a crucial component for Marco Bortolami’s squad, which possess some of the best outside backs in the league.

Cameron Winnett – Cardiff & Wales

Cardiff flyer Winnett made the Welsh No. 15 shirt his own in this year’s Six Nations Championship with a string of impressive performances. 

Brave under the high ball, possessing an eye for the gap and utilizing a finely tuned kicking game, Winnett is the total package. 

His return to the Cardiff backline for the season run-in will be crucial, as they look for a late-season push toward the top 8.

Joe McCarthy – Leinster & Ireland

‘Big Joe’ has enjoyed a meteoric rise since the Rugby World Cup quarterfinals and has edged out his more experienced Leinster teammate James Ryan for a place in the Irish second row alongside Tadhg Beirne. 

In simple terms, McCarthy is an athletic freak with ability to pulverize opposing defenders and ball carriers while utilizing a deft skillset to fit seamlessly into the complex Leinster and Irish attacks. 

At just 22-years-old, the 6-foot-6, 280-pound mauler will be crucial for Leinster this season in the team's quest to claim a maiden URC title.

Danilo Fischetti – Zebre Parma & Italy

A mean machine in the front row, Zebre’s Fischetti was one of the top performing front-row players in this year’s Championship. 

A true beast at scrum time, Fischetti adds in a remarkable ability to cover ground and disrupt opposing rucks. 

For Zebre, he is arguably the most important player heading down the stretch. They're in search of a few wins to show that they are, in fact, progressing.

Stafford McDowell – Glasgow Warriors & Scotland

Starting for Scotland in the final round of the Six Nations highlights how far McDowell has come as he looks to put pressure on clubmates Sione Tuipulotu and Huw Jones for regular game time at test level. 

In the URC, he has been one of the standout performers this season and has scored four tries to date. 

Utilizing his height to masterful effect, McDowell has an uncanny ability to dominate at the contact point, leading to several line breaks, while his offloading game is world-class.

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