Super Rugby’s top 50 players in 2024, 30-21: rising Fijian weapons and Wallaby stars with points to prove

Which players will take Super Rugby Pacific by storm? Will Australia and the Pacific Islands mountain a charge? Soon, we will find out.

We continue our countdown of the 50 best players set to have a significant impact this year, based on previous form, talent, the potential impact they can have on their team’s season, and more. 

Many players in this section of the list have proven themselves to be significant weapons in their respective teams, but the challenge they face is whether they can step up in 2024.

>>Check out our list of players from 50-41

>>Check out our list of players from 40-31

Without further ado, here are 30 to 21:

Patrick Tuipulotu of the All Blacks. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

30. Patrick Tuipulotu – Blues

Handed the skipper duties at the Blues, the 43-capped All Black will be hoping for a strong year in Auckland, as they also try to shake off several years of coming close and mount a strong title charge.

Tuipulotu was left out of the 2023 World Cup squad, but given the personnel who’ve left Kiwi shores, the talented lock is in a prime position to become a key man in the new All Black leadership group, and where better to start than leading Auckland to a title?

29. Fraser McReight – Queensland Reds

Fraser McReight was one of the few shining lights for the Wallabies in 2023, showing the potential to fill the Michael Hooper-sized hole left in the squad.

Change is afoot at the Reds under the stewardship of Les Kiss, and there is good reason to believe the squad can push deeper into the 2024 season. McReight, along with Tate McDermott, will need to have big seasons for the Sunshine State. 

Mark Nawaqanitawase of the Waratahs runs the ball during the round 13 Super Rugby Pacific match between NSW Waratahs and Fijian Drua at Allianz Stadium, on May 20, 2023, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)

28. Mark Nawaqanitawase – NSW Waratahs

He might be playing for the Roosters in 2025, but Mark Nawaqanitawase still has the potential to cause a lot of damage in sky blue and gold this year. Now regarded as one of the most exciting up-and-coming wingers in the game, his effectiveness for the Waratahs proved vital in getting their side to the finals.

The Waratah backline proved to be one of the most exciting finds in Australian rugby last year, with Lalakai Foketi, Max Jorgensen and Izzy Perese also combining well with the likes of Tane Edmed and Dylan Pietsch. There is a reason though why Marky Mark stands out in that backline. 

27. David Havili – Crusaders

David Havili is one of the most exciting players in New Zealand rugby and a major reason why the Crusaders have been such a devastating side to the rest of the competition. 

The simple reason why he isn’t higher just goes to show how dangerous the Crusaders still are as a full team, even with a changing of the guard and new arrivals. Many sides struggled to shut him down in 2023, and until they do in 2024 he’ll be helping Canterbury keep a stranglehold on the egg basket. 

26. Selestino Ravutaumada – Fijian Drua

Get ready to hear a lot more about this guy. One of the less-celebrated weapons in the Fijian Drua last year, Ravutaumada came into his own during the Rugby World Cup, starting in every pool match for the Flying Fijians except their famous win over Australia.

He’ll be set to thrive even more in the back three this year, with the arrival of the Epeli Momo from the French side Montauban alongside Ilaisa Droasese, there’s the makings of a strong counterattacking weapon in the Fijians’ side.

Tamaiti Williams of the Crusaders passes the ball during the round five Super Rugby Pacific match between Crusaders and ACT Brumbies at Orangetheory Stadium, on March 24, 2023, in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo by Joe Allison/Getty Images)

25. Tamaiti Williams – Crusaders

The Crusaders have said goodbye to six front rowers in 2024, and while the arrival of Owen Franks from the Hurricanes will be a welcome addition, they’ll have plenty of great prospects left, of which Tamaiti Williams is one of the most exciting. 

Having burst onto the stage in 2023 for the All Blacks, Williams will have stiff competition alongside the likes of Fletcher Newell, Joe Moody, Franks and George Bower. Given the potential shown at every level last year, we’ll likely see plenty of him this year.

24. Du’plessis Kirifi – Hurricanes

A gun flanker in the Hurricanes set-up, Du’plessis Kirifi will be aiming for several goals this year – not the least of which is earning his first All Black cap. 

Having been called into the squad once as injury cover, Kirifi has enjoyed strong success as captain of the Wellington Lions and has translated that form into over 60 caps for the Hurricanes. More than most in New Zealand, he’ll be aiming for a huge year on the paddock. 

Carter Gordon of the Rebels runs in to score a try during the round 11 Super Rugby Pacific match between Melbourne Rebels and ACT Brumbies at AAMI Park, on May 07, 2023, in Melbourne, Australia. Photo: Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

23. Carter Gordon – Melbourne Rebels

A serious question faces Carter Gordon at the Rebels – how does he bounce back from 2023? While he faced criticism for the World Cup campaign, it is important to remember how much the young flyhalf has progressed in one year, and his transition to the Wallabies did showcase how much potential he could reach with more time under his belt.

He will be the Rebels’ starting flyhalf in 2024, and a lot will be riding on his shoulders to make their talented backline fire. Should he succeed, the Stockade will be in good stead for a crack at finals. 

How about the legs on the big fella! ????

Nick Frost snags a double!

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— Stan Sport Rugby (@StanSportRugby) April 28, 2023

22. Nick Frost – ACT Brumbies

It was one of the iconic moments of 2023 – watching Nick Frost outpace several All Black backs to score one of the tries of the year at the Cake Tin. It was a highlight in a strong year for the exciting Brumby lock, as he leapt over the likes of Darcy Swain, Angus Blyth, Matt Philip, Jed Holloway and more to emerge as the stand-out local pick in the engine room for the Wallabies, combining well with Will Skelton.

Australia’s 2022 Rookie of the Year will need to have a big year, with the mood in Australia desperate to see form turn around. 

(Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

21. Jordan Petaia – Queensland Reds

This could be a make-or-break year for Jordan Petaia as he enters the final year of his contract. He is still to fully fire at Wallaby level, but in Super Rugby he is one of the best players in terms of sheer athletic ability to come out of the Sunshine State. 

Alongside exciting talents in Josh Flook, and Hunter Paisami and veterans like James O’Connor, the Reds, when on form, are one of the most lethal backlines in the whole competition. If Les Kiss can get the side firing consistently, Petaia will likely be the key weapon unleashed to turn many close performances into wins for the Reds. 

Check back tomorrow to see who we picked for 20-11.

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