Earlier this morning, Super Rugby returned to our television screens, making that early start just a little bit easier. A total of 15 franchises based in South Africa, New Zealand and Australia will battle it out to compete for the trophy, in a final that is played in August. Australia's New South Wales Waratahs are current reigning champions, but face stiff competition this year round, especially given that it is a Rugby World Cup year. Internationalists will be looking to retain the form that has earned them a chance to play for their country, whilst youngsters will be trying to put their hand up for possible selection. We have selected 5 players to look out for this season, who are sure to light up this rugby year!
1. Israel Folau - NSW Waratahs
Where else would we start. This man has it all, and really is the complete athlete. He stands at 6 foot 5 inches, and weighs over 100 kilograms, but the Wallaby is incredibly nimble on his feet and has a sidestep that would confuse even the smartest of defenders. He is a former Aussie rules and rugby league star, and has more than proved his worth in union. He is a sure to be the centre of attention in the Super 15 as well as the World Cup in England later in the year.
2. Beauden Barrett - Hurricanes
Long have New Zealand fly-halves been in the shadow of the mercurial, Dan Carter, however, it looks like the Hurricanes man might have edged his way infront of him. Barrett burst his way in to the international scene with 3 penalties in a crushing 60-0 victory over Ireland on his debut, and he has backed that up with fine performances in a number of positions for his country. However, he seems to have nailed down the stand-off position at his club, and will look to hold off the competition from Carter and Aaron Cruden for the All Blacks 10 jersey.
3. Brodie Retallick - Chiefs
We couldn't miss out the current World Player of the Year, and it's the incredible statistics he managed to rack up last season that has earned him that title. The big lock carried the ball over 100 times, as well as making almost 150 tackles, which isn't bad for a 23-year-old. The Chiefs have a bundle of superstars to their name, and will be definite contenders for the trophy if this man can keep up his incredible work-rate.
4. Seabelo Senatla - Stormers
Having made a name for himself in the IRB World 7s Series recently with the South African 'Blitzbokke' side, it is now time for the 22-year-old to shine in the 15 man game. Senatla is lightning quick, and already has a Commonwealth gold medal to his name. His 7 tries in the 2013 Under-20 World cup was an incredible feat, and he will be hoping to make the same kind of impression with the Stormers for the new season. You wouldn't be making a mistake if you were to have a look at his highlight reel!
5. Will Skelton - NSW Waratahs
A second entrant from the Australian side. Try to imagine being 6 foot 8 and 21 stone and being in prime psychical condition, or even more frightening, imagine having someone of that description running at you. That is what 14 clubs will have to deal with this season, as 'Tahs second-row giant will look to stamp his authority on some of the best in the game, which won't be hard considering the New Zealand born, 22-year-old wears a size 18 boot. Yes, you read that right, size 18. The monster lock already has Wallaby caps to his name, as well as a couple of tries, and the future is extremely bright.
Who are you looking forward to see in Super Rugby in 2015? And who are the favourites for the title? Tweet us or let us know on Facebook using the links below.