Six Nations: Five possible breakout stars to keep an eye on, including Cadan Murley and Christ Tshiunza

Dylan Coetzee
Six Nations: Split with Tshiunza, Healy and Murley

The Six Nations is almost ready to get underway with the opening round in early February. Rugby’s greatest championship is always a spectacle but 2023’s edition is made that much more intriguing by the Rugby World Cup looming later this year in France.

In anticipation of the start of the championship, Planet Rugby has selected five possible breakout stars for the Six Nations.

Cadan Murley (England)

The pacey winger has been in sensational form for Harlequins in the Premiership this season and sits third on the try-scorers list with eight thus far. His influence extends further with a whopping 793 metres gained with ball in hand – only three metres behind the leader Mateo Carreras, 19 clean breaks and a total of 36 defenders beaten. Murley is a natural finisher, typified by his sensational try against Northampton Saints.

With England lacking pace in the back three under Eddie Jones, the young star could be a great option for new head coach Steve Borthwick to inject some venom into his outside backs.

Ollie Hassell-Collins (England)

The London Irish speedster is another who has been in outstanding form in the Premiership with the same number of tries as Murley. The 24-year-old has made 697 metres with ball in hand, beaten 36 defenders and made 15 clean breaks.

Hassell-Collins is another solid option in the England set-up as he is also a great finisher with pace to burn. There is certainly a feeling around the winger that he is ready to shine at the highest level.

Christ Tshiunza (Wales)

Possibly one of the most exciting young stars in the global game. Tshiunza is an absolute mountain of a man at 1.98 metres and 114 kilograms. The Exeter Chiefs back-row made his debut for Wales in 2021 and has since caught the eye with legendary Welshman Sam Warburton raving about his quality.

A hard runner with ball in hand, deceptive pace and outstanding game awareness. There is almost no doubt the star born in the Democratic Republic of Congo will be part of coach Warren Gatland’s plans.

With the way Tshiunza is trending, he could easily go on to outshine everyone on this list.

Gavin Coombes (Ireland)

The Irishman is another rising star, one who has a tremendous work-rate on both sides of the ball. For Munster in the United Rugby Championship, Coombes is fourth on the list for successful carries with an impressive 54, whilst on defence, the star boasts a 95% tackle completion rate.

Ireland has solid depth in the loose trio, but Coombes is certainly a star always knocking on the door, and if head coach Andy Farrell does call on the Munsterman, he will undoubtedly make an impact.

Ben Healy (Scotland)

One of the more controversial stars so far this year as Healy switched allegiance from Ireland to Scotland through his grandparents. With it has come a move from his homegrown side, Munster, to Edinburgh in the URC.

Head coach Gregor Townsend selected the fly-half at his first opportunity, and now Healy will have to battle with Finn Russell for the 10 jersey. The situation suits the playmaker who played for Ireland at U20 level as there have been clear issues between Townsend and Russell over the last couple of years.

Healy is a great addition to the Scotland set-up and showed solid form in the URC with 48 points with the second-best kicking percentage of 89% for players who have attempted 10+ kicks at goal.

It will be fascinating to see how Healy’s change of allegiance goes for him and for Scotland, but expect the well-drilled fly-half to be ready to jump at any opportunities handed to him.

READ MORE: Six Nations: England duo Elliot Daly and Jamie George withdrawn as Ollie Lawrence and Jamie Blamire called in