5 Ones to Watch: Anglo Welsh Cup Breakthrough Players

Jake Polledri

Having signed from neighbours Hartpury, Polledri has had an incredible breakout season, using the Anglo Welsh Cup as the platform to push for more and more first team opportunities for the Cherry and Whites. The back-rower is a powerful, strong ball carrier with an explosive burst of pace to beat his man. His performances were rewarded with a call up to Italy’s training side for the Six Nations and if his form continues it won’t be too long before he joins his former Hartpury teammate Seb Negri in  Italy’s back row.

With tries like the one above, you can see why Gloucester fans have been singing his praises so far this season and he’s still got so much room to grow and develop into something special.

Joe Cokanasiga

The former England U20 international has been in scintillating form for London Irish this season. The winger impressed in the Championship for the Exiles last season and has carried that into this campaign. Scoring a hat-trick in London Irish’s 66-7 victory over Wasps in Round 3 of the competition, which saw him earn Player of the round. His performances have also earned him a call up into Eddie Jones’ England squad. The giant winger stands at 6″4, and has the agility of Shane Williams to beat his man.


He possesses a scary amount of pace, strength and hard running lines which would have any defence quaking in their boots at the prospect of facing him.

Adam Radwan

The Newcastle winger is a graduate of the Falcons academy that has used the Anglo Welsh as a platform to deliver on the first team stage. Having previously played for his side’s A team and 7s side, Radwan has enjoyed success in this season’s competition. He’s built like thd archetypal winger, compact and pacey with quick dangerous feet. In open play, he likes to run at the defence and use his footwork to beat his man. The Newcastle man is electric paced and can cause any defence problems with his raw pace. In round 1 of the competition he made the most metres of anyone, making 150 metres, beating nine defenders and making three clean breaks

Ben Earl

The 20 year old Saracens back rower has been ever present for the Saracens during their Anglo Welsh campaign, captaining the side against Newport Dragons. Using the springboard of his impressive Anglo Welsh performances, he made his European debut in Clermont, coming off the bench at the Stage Marcel Michelin in the European Champions Cup. Earl was part of the England U20 squad that reached the World Cup final in Georgia last season and once again this year, is in the squad for their U20 Six Nations campaign. The Saracens man is a powerful ball carrier and tackler, and will hope to feed off of the likes of Billy Vunipola to shape his game and continue in his path up the Saracens and England ladder.

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Jacob Umaga

The young Wasps playmaker comes from esteemed heritage in rugby circles, with his father Mike, a former Samoan international, and his uncle Tana, the famous former All Black captain. So Jacob has some big boots to fill in terms of keeping up with the family. The England U20 international can play at either fly-half or centre. He has been a key player in Wasps’ Anglo-Welsh run, capped with an incredible round 4 performance, scoring 15 points and assisting another two tries against Leicester. Umaga is forging a name for himself, and will be knocking on the Wasps’ first team in the coming years, whilst also excelling for England U20 and his sides’ A league campaign.

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These are half of the candidates for the Anglo Welsh Breakthrough Player Award. To vote for your choice, go to new-heroes.com 

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