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Players To Watch At United Rugby Championship 2022 Ultimate XV

Players To Watch At United Rugby Championship 2022 Ultimate XV

The United Rugby Championships Dream XV heading a head of week one 2022.

Sep 14, 2022 by RugbyPass
Players To Watch At United Rugby Championship 2022 Ultimate XV

The United Rugby Championship 2022 season is just around the corner with some of the very best club rugby action set to get underway on Friday, September 16th. 

Entering it's second season in this format, the URC looks set to once again boast some of the very best talent the game has to offer.

Several clubs have been highly active on the transfer market as they look to build squads capable of not only competing in what is now a stacked league but also in the European Cup competitions. 

Before Benetton Treviso and Glasgow Warriors get the season underway, we have put together a URC Ultimate XV heading into the season. 

Steven Kitshoff, Stormers

Springbok incumbent loosehead Steven Kitshoff is one of the very best front rowers in the game. Unwavering in the scrum and physical on the loose, outside two seasons where he played for Bordeaux in the French Top 14 the giant prop has been a stalwart of Western Province Rugby since his debut in 2011. Now the captain of the defending champions, Kitshoff will be looking to lead his side to back-to-back titles as well as making a deep run in the Heineken Champions Cup. Honorable Mention: Andrew Porter 

Bongi Mbonambi, Sharks

If one were to design the perfect Springbok Hooker, Mbonambi would be the mold. At 5’9” and weighing in at 110kg, Mbonambi is a menace at the breakdown as he becomes a nigh on impossible force to move when he gets over the top of the ball. At set piece time his line-out throwing is highly reliable and his presence in the middle of the scrum has given many a tighthead a headache. Honorable Mention: Dan Sheehan

Tadgh Furlong, Leinster

World Rugby’s best prop and arguably one of the top three players in the game, Furlong is at the centre of everything that is great about Leinster and Ireland’s game. Possessing the hands of a flyhalf, the sidestep of a winger and immense strength, Furlong is unmatched in his play around the park. At scrum time he is world class and is the anchor of the scrum for whatever side he plays on. Instrumental in Ireland’s series win in New Zealand, Furlong will be looking to carry this form into this season for both Leinster and Ireland. Honorable Mention: WP Nel  

Eben Etzabeth, Sharks 

One of the toughest players in a sport full of some of the world’s toughest humans, Etzabeth is quite simply a giant. Dominant in every facet of the game, Etzabeth beats up opposition packs almost single-handedly as he pulverizes ball carriers with huge tackles. When given the ball he resembles a buffalo on the charge and always takes more than one defender with him. In the line-outs he is one of the most dangerous poachers of opposition throws. His addition to an already stacked Sharks pack makes them one of the very best club sides in the world. Honorable Mention: James Ryan 

Tadgh Beirne, Munster

A meteoric rise through the ranks over the past four seasons has seen Beirne go from a forgotten talent at Leinster to one of the very best forwards in the game. Capable of playing in both the second and backrows, Beirne is arguably the best poacher currently in the game. Almost singlehandedly putting an end to the All-Blacks chances of a comeback in the decisive third test this summer, Beirne is in the prime of his career and will be a huge factor in how successful Munster will be this season. Honorable Mention: Sam Skinner


Hamish Watson, Edinburgh

If Beirne is the best poacher in the game, then Watson is 1B. A nuggetty backrow who normally plays in the number seven shirt, the Edinburgh man is one of Scotland’s most important players. His form over the past three years is as good as any backrow in the game and has propelled him to career highs, most notably playing for the British and Irish Lions. Watch out for his name atop of the turnover charts this season as he looks to push his name forward for the role of Scotland captain heading to the World Cup. Honorable Mention: Siya Kolisi  

Josh van der Flier, Leinster 

European Rugby Player of the Year last season, van der Flier has gone from underappreciated to clearly Ireland’s best number seven. A true all-rounder who is simply sensational in every area, he is equally adept at acting as an extra centre as he is at set-piece time. His now famous red scrum cap tends to pop up all over the park, leading many to speculate if he is in fact three different people at once. At 29-years-old he is entering his prime, which is a scary thought for opposition coaches and players alike. Honorable Mention: Pieter-Steph Du Toit

Evan Roos, Stormers

Bursting onto the scene last year, Roos went from contemplating an early retirement with the Sharks to a Springbok with the Stormers. Garnering comparisons to Bok legend Duane Vermeulen, Roos is one of the most explosive ball carriers in the competition. Having made his international debut against Wales, Roos will be looking to break into South Africa’s match day squad on a consistent basis ahead of the World Cup. Honorable Mention:  Caelen Doris 

Jamison Gibson-Park, Leinster 

JGP has risen from Leinster’s second choice to Ireland’s first choice in the short space of two seasons. A perfect fit for Ireland’s up-tempo attacking game, JGP gets opposition defenses on the back foot with his quick rate of play, his pace around the ruck sucks in big forwards which opens up space out wide for his backline. His combination with Jonathan Sexton is rivalled only by France’s Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack. Honorable Mention:  Jaden Hendrikse  

Jonathan Sexton, Leinster 

Ireland’s captain and greatest ever player, Sexton is the Tom Brady of Rugby. Now 37-years-old and still one of the most physically imposing flyhalves in the game, Ireland and Leinster rugby goes as he does. Playing a game of 3D chess, Sexton manipulates the opposition whilst bossing his teammates around the park. Enjoy it while it lasts would be the advice, it is rare to see sporting excellence as he enters what many assume to be his last dance. Honorable Mention: Curwin Bosch

Canan Moodie, Blue Bulls 

Rugby’s next great superstar, the 19-year-old announced himself to the world in South Africa’s thumping of Australia in Sydney during their Rugby Championship clash. A 6’3” and 90kg, the speedster has the physical tools as well as the skills to match any player in world rugby. The latest South African teen sensation looks set to dominate the tournament this year as part of the best back three in the league alongside Sbu Nkosi and Kurt-Lee Arendse. Honorable Mention:  James Lowe 

Bundee Aki, Connacht 

Connacht’s heartbeat, Aki has gone from nightclub bouncer to one of the very best centres in the world. An absolute bowling ball in attack and a brick wall in defense, Aki is instrumental in Connacht’s competitiveness. Starring in Ireland’s dominant return to the world number one ranking, Aki needs a big season to edge himself ahead of the Leinster duo of Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose as the men in green look to go further than they ever have before at the next World Cup. Honorable Mention: Robbie Henshaw

Lukhanyo Am, Sharks

Rightly regarded as the best outside centre in the world, Am is a creative genius that makes things happen for both himself and his teammates. Possessing slick hands, a ridiculous rugby IQ and plenty of pace Am is the full package. Whilst his attacking traits are well known, it is his defensive prowess that sets him apart. Like any great 13, the Sharks captain reads opposition attacks like a book and cuts off the outside backs from their playmakers inside. Another strong season for both the Sharks and the Boks and he could find himself with another World Cup winners medal and even a World Player of The Year award. Honorable Mention: Garry Ringrose

Mack Hansen, Connacht 

Considered by many as a left field choice for the initial Irish squad last season, Hansen carried his exceptional club form onto the international stage. Now a bonified international star, Hansen has plenty of competition for a place in the Irish back three. Often Connacht players are forgotten regarding the Irish set-up but as this list proves with two players, the Galway-based side are a coming force once again. To fully realize their potential, Hansen will need to be heavily involved once again as a key playmaker. Honorable Mention: Makazole Mapimpi

Liam Williams, Cardiff

Already a Welsh and Lions legend, Williams is remarkably still only 31-years-old. Having made the switch from the Scarlets to Cardiff for this season, Williams could be the spark to get Blues attack going. A slippery operator who has routinely torn apart even the stingiest of defenses throughout his career. His experience and the addition of fellow Lion Taulupe Faletau prove that Cardiff mean business this season. Honorable Mention:  Hugo Keenan

Written By Philip Bendon