All Blacks stars Aaron Smith and Beauden Barrett have been ranked among the top 10 in a Welsh news website’s annual 50 best rugby players in the world list.
Smith, who had an impressive year at both Super Rugby and international level, was ranked fifth in the survey by Wales Online, while Barrett slid to ninth – four spots lower than his 2019 ranking.
On Smith, Wales Online said: “The All Black scrum-half will consider himself unfortunate to have missed out on World Rugby’s team of the decade recently. Regardless, his form in 2020 has been stellar.”
On Barrett, the publication said: “No player has been involved in more test tries since 2016 than Barrett. Quite simply a joy to watch – often seeing opportunity where others see risk.”
In total, seven All Blacks made the cut for the 50-strong list, all within the top half.
Best of the year: Dane Coles has had a few injury struggles in the last few seasons but there’s no doubt that the nuggety hooker is back to his best. He’s the kind of player the @AllBlacks need to stand up to the likes of England and the @Springboks.https://t.co/akc2jZkIqJ
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) December 26, 2020
Despite taking a sabbatical from test rugby to ply his trade in Japan, hulking lock Brodie Retallick was ranked at No25, with Richie Mo’unga (15), Dane Coles (14), Ardie Savea (12) and Sam Cane (11) all earning their place in the top 50 as well.
Fijian star and former NRL player Semi Radradra was ranked as the world’s top player for 2020, moving up one spot from his 2019 ranking, ahead of French halfback Antoine Dupont, South African winger Cheslin Kolbe and English forward Maro Itoje, ranked at two, three and four respectively.
On Radradra, who fronts for Pat Lam’s Bristol Bears at club level, Wales Online said: “Whether it’s for Bristol Bears or Fiji, he has the ability to create havoc for defences. He can go the direct route, bashing his way through in the centre, or he can take the scenic outside route, putting on the afterburners to arc around the opposition before delivering the decisive pass or offload. The best player in the world right at this moment in time.”
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