Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
Global Global

Six Nations: Players to Watch in 2024

Every year, the Six Nations showcases some of rugby union’s greatest players. As a result, several of the sport’s finest have cemented their reputation at the tournament. This includes rugby legends like Jonny Wilkinson, Alun Wyn Jones and Ronan O’Gara, whose names remain synonymous with the championship.

But which players could make their mark at this year’s Six Nations? Now that the 2024 squads have been announced, here are the Six Nations players to watch from each team. 

Chandler Cunningham-South (England)

Unless you’re a London Irish or Harlequins fan, then Chandler Cunningham-South is a name you might not know. However, he could become a familiar face following the 2024 Six Nations.

A versatile and powerful forward who is comfortable in the second row, at blindside flanker or number eight, Cunningham-South will make his debut at the upcoming tournament. He will likely vie for pitch time alongside Alex Dombrandt, with Steve Borthwick adding both players to his Six Nations squad.

At just 20 years old, Cunningham-South is already forging a fierce reputation. As well as regularly appearing for Harlequins in 2023, he crossed the line during England’s win against Scotland at the U20 Six Nations. He followed this by scoring a try during England’s semi-final against France at the World Rugby U20 Championship.

Other England names to watch

In addition to Cunningham-South, England’s 2024 Six Nations squad includes six other uncapped players: Ethan Roots, Oscar Beard, Fraser Dingwall, Immanuel Feyi-Waboso, Tom Roebuck and Fin Smith. 

All eyes will also be on hooker and new England captain, Jamie George. A superb tactician, George will take the place of Owen Farrell at this year’s Championship.

Emmanuel Meafou (France)

Emmanuel Meafou will be looking to make a statement at the 2024 Six Nations. Standing at 6 foot 8 and weighing 145 kg, this commanding lock is a firm favourite amongst Toulouse fans. To date, he has won three Top 14 titles with the French club.

Born in Auckland and raised in Australia, Meafou has lived in France since 2018. Five years later, at the close of 2023, he was finally granted French citizenship. As a result, Meafou is now eligible to represent France on the international stage for the first time at the Six Nations. Sadly though, he may have to wait until after round one to make his debut. Unfortunately for him, he sustained an injury during Toulouse’s victory over Bath in the Champions Cup. 

Other France players to watch

As well as Meafou, Fabien Galthié has included five other uncapped players in his Six Nations line-up: Antoine Gibert, Esteban Abadie, Matthias Halagahu, Nicolas Depoortère and Nolann Le Garrec.

Additionally, with Antoine Dupont absent, Grégory Alldritt will steer the 2024 Six Nations squad. Widely regarded as one of the finest number eights in the modern game, fans will be eager to see how Dupont’s replacement performs.

Garry Ringrose (Ireland)

At the top of Andy Farrell’s Six Nations players to watch list is talented centre, Garry Ringrose. The Leinster co-captain was previously referred to as ‘the next Brian O’Driscoll’, a claim that added undue pressure. However, it seems 2024 could be his year.

Ringrose achieved new heights at the 2023 Six Nations, scoring Ireland’s winning try against France. Commenting on his performance, O’Driscoll praised Ringrose’s ability to disrupt and halt oncoming attacks.

Other Ireland players to watch

In addition to Ringrose, Irish supporters will be excited to watch new captain, Peter O’Mahony. Farrell will be hoping that O’Mahony can fill the void left by behemoth Johnny Sexton, who retired after the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

In contrast with the other Six Nations teams, Ireland’s squad contains more experienced players and fewer new talents. Every name in the main group has earned at least one cap, although Farrell has included uncapped trio Oli Jager, Thomas Ahern and Sam Prendergast as training panellists who will travel to Portugal with the squad for a pre-tournament training camp.

Ange Capuozzo (Italy)

Nicknamed the ‘Italian wonder kid’, Ange Capuozzo will compete at his third Six Nations in 2024. Seemingly unstoppable, Italian fans have high hopes that he will soon become one of their best Six Nations players of all-time. 

Born in France, Capuozzo qualified for Italy through his paternal grandparents. He made his international debut at the 2022 tournament, where he scored a brace against Scotland. In the next game, he set up Edoardo Padovani’s winning try against Wales. 

In the same year, Capuozzo was named as the 2022 World Rugby Men’s 15 Breakthrough Player of the Year. 

Other Italy players to watch

Italy’s current roster includes a wealth of experienced names. Following his recent move to Lyon, Monty Ioane is also one of this year’s Six Nations players to watch. The same goes for Lorenzo Cannone, another up-and-coming player whose powerful tackles have cemented his place in the Italian squad.

Additionally, head coach Gonzalo Quesada has selected five uncapped players: Luca Rizzoli, Matteo Nocera, Mirco Spagnolo, Alessandro Izekor and Ross Vintcent.

Arron Reed (Scotland)

Despite representing England at age group level, Arron Reed will make his debut for Scotland at the upcoming Six Nations. The Sale Sharks winger had reportedly garnered the interest of Steve Borthwick before being snapped up by Gregor Townsend.

Born in Chester, Reed previously represented the England U18 and U20 teams. In 2017, he made his club debut for Sale. In the same year, he scored a brace against Ireland for the England U18 squad. Next, in 2019, he scored a try against Scotland at the Six Nations Under 20s. 

Since then, Reed has earned a stellar reputation. In 2023, he helped Sale reach their first Premiership final since 2006 and firmly put his name on the radar.

Other Scotland players to watch

Like Reed, Scotland’s Six Nations squad features three other uncapped players. Most noteworthy is loosehead prop Alec Hepburn, who earned six caps for England in 2018. Additionally, Will Hurd and Harry Paterson will make their debuts.

Dafydd Jenkins and Mackenzie Martin (Wales)

Dafydd Jenkins will make history in 2024 by becoming the second youngest player to captain the Wales rugby team. The 21-year-old earned his first cap in 2022, when he came off the bench against Georgia. He was then named in the 2023 Six Nations squad and he made his first start against Scotland.

Viewed as the rising star of Welsh rugby, Mackenzie Martin made his senior debut for Cardiff in 2023. Later that year, he made headlines for his energetic performance in the Champions Cup. It was at this tournament that he powered through the Toulouse defence and scored his first try for Cardiff.

Other Wales players to watch

The 2024 Six Nations could be an interesting year for Wales. The current line-up is missing many of the team’s biggest names, with Leigh Halfpenny, Dan Biggar, Alun Wyn Jones and Justin Tipuric retiring in the last 12 months. Not to mention Louis Rees-Zammit, who has departed the squad for a career in the NFL.

As a result, this year’s team includes five uncapped players: Alex Mann, Archie Griffin, Cameron Winnett, Evan Lloyd and the aforementioned Mackenzie Martin.