Five youngsters to watch at the Rugby World Cup 2023

What new faces will be looking to impress in France at the 2023 Rugby World Cup?

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The BBC has selected five young players from outside the home nations who will be aged 22 or younger when the opening ball of the World Cup is kicked on 8 September.

Canan Moodie

Balanced runner with elegant distribution who can play on the wings or in the middle.

Tournament : 8 September to 28 October 2023 
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Canan Moodie, a 20-year-old utility back, can mix it with the best among South Africa’s world-class attacking talent.

In September 2022, he made his international debut with a stunning individual try.

11 months later, he made his first start at center in the Springboks’ record win over New Zealand at Twickenham, intercepting a loose pass before allowing Damian Willemse to turn defence into attack.

It is thought that he may be the breakout star of this World Cup, competing with the likes of Cheslin Kolbe and Makazole Mapimpi on the wings, or Jesse Kriel at 13.

Carter Gordon

At fly-half, he could steer the Wallabies.

Following the omission of the experienced Quade Cooper from his youthful World Cup squad, Eddie Jones has endorsed Carter Gordon to play a key role from number 10.

On 8 July, Gordon, 22, scored a try on debut against South Africa.

He has since started the Wallabies’ past three games, which all ended in defeat, but at least he gained some valuable experience ahead of the tournament.

Gordon’s tenacious defence, huge boot and creative flair will be crucial to unleashing the Wallabies’ potent backline, which will also include Mark Nawaqanitawase.

Juan Martin Gonzalez

Juan Martin Gonzalez is no stranger to the international stage, but his 24 Test caps at the age of 22 prove his pedigree.

Gonzalez was recently signed by English Premiership champions Saracens from London Irish.

During Argentina’s first-ever victory over New Zealand last summer, he scored a powerful burst that led to seven tries for Argentina.

When the two sides face each other on 9 September, Gonzalez will be looking forward to facing his new Sarries teammate Ben Earl.

Davit Niniashvili

An attacking player with a steely defense.

Like Gonzalez, Georgia full-back Davit Niniashvili has international experience despite his young age.

Georgia’s key threat thanks to his blistering speed, agility, and eye for the tryline, has scored nine tries in 24 Tests.

As a player for Top 14 side Lyon, Niniashvili upended South Africa’s colossus Eben Etzebeth during the 2022 Challenge Cup final with a thumping tackle.

In Pool C, Wales and Australia will have to devise a plan to contain the livewire.

Louis Bielle-Biarrey

Under the red scrum cap, there are hard lines and gas to burn.

It is likely that Damian Penaud and Gabin Villiere will occupy the wings for France in their first World Cup.

But 20-year-old Louis Bielle-Biarrey, selected ahead of fellow youngster Ethan Dumortier in Fabian Galthie’s final squad, could be more than just a useful deputy.

In the recent warm-up win over Scotland, the Bordeaux-Begles wing made his Test debut with a try, and he is set to become France’s youngest World Cup representative.

On the wing, Moefana can also fill in for Les Bleus, but Bielle-Biarrey will want to impress on home soil.

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