The 2023 Six Nations begins seven months before the World Cup, which is ideal timing for a new star to emerge.
On Saturday, Wales hosts Ireland, before England hosts Scotland at Twickenham and Italy hosts defending Grand Slam champions France on Sunday.
Here are some newer faces to keep an eye out for when the action starts.
England – Ollie Hassell-Collins
Irish wing in London Ollie Hassell-Collins has yet to gain an England XVs cap despite previously representing the sevens side, but he might get his chance this Six Nations with new head coach Steve Borthwick benching stalwarts Jonny May and Jack Nowell. The late call-up of seasoned flank Anthony Watson might stymie Hassell-Collins’ progress, but the 24-year-quickness, old’s firmness under the high ball, and last-ditch defense could earn him a debut in one of the most important games of the year, when England face Scotland.
Ireland – Jack Crowley
Munster winger Jack Crowley is the latest candidate to try out for the post of Johnny Sexton’s replacement, with the 37-year-old likely to retire after the World Cup this year. Crowley, 23, had his big break earlier this season when he started in place of the injured Sexton against Australia. Crowley’s replacement, Ross Byrne, who is also in Ireland’s Six Nations squad, kicked the winning penalty that day, but Crowley will hope for another chance to exhibit the type of leadership he shown at Munster.
Scotland – Ben Healy
Crowley is not Munster’s sole fly-half on this list. Crowley’s teammate Ben Healy, who will join Edinburgh next season, represented Ireland at under-20 level and has been called up for Scotland due to his grandparents’ eligibility. Gregor Townsend hauled in the uncapped 23-year-old in place of the injured Adam Hastings. The Scotland head coach hailed Healy’s recent form with the Irish province and stated he had “Test match ability”. Healy has a strong kicking game and understands how to lead an attack, but he will have to fight for his spot in the matchday 23 with Finn Russell and Blair Kinghorn.
Wales – Christ Tshiunza
Wales head coach Warren Gatland named Exeter forward Christ Tshiunza as the most likely player to break through in this year’s Six Nations on the Rugby Union Daily podcast. When it comes to rugby, Gatland usually knows what he’s talking about, so we won’t dispute with his decision. Tshiunza, 21, played two fall Tests for Wales in 2021 and can play lock or flanker. With recent outstanding try-scoring performances for Chiefs, he has piqued the interest of former Wales captain Sam Warburton and is expected to pique the interest of many more when the Six Nations begins.
France – Nolann Le Garrec
Antoine Dupont, France’s captain and outstanding player, is clearly the team’s starting scrum-half. However, if he requires a substitute, Racing 92’s 20-year-old Nolann Le Garrec is ready. The uncapped and brave Le Garrec has a comparable fast-paced and unpredictable approach to Dupont, as well as a clever kicking game.
Italy – Ange Capuozzo
You might argue that Ange Capuozzo has already established a name for himself after his break led to Edoardo Padovani’s try in Cardiff last year, which helped Italy clinch their first Six Nations victory since 2015. The 23-year-old Toulouse full-back also scored two tries in Italy’s first triumph against Australia this fall. His quick feet and turf-skimming speed might help him make even more history this tournament.