Five to watch from the northern hemisphere this autumn series
By Michael Cantillon
Last Updated: 10/11/17 11:13am
The November internationals are almost upon us again as the best of the best from the southern hemisphere make their trip north to Europe for another eagerly anticipated autumn series.
We've already previewed five players who could light up the international stage from the southern hemisphere, so here's our look at five up-and-coming players from these isles who could make their mark...
Jacob Stockdale (Ireland)
The Ulster wing has been in flying form so far this campaign, notching five tries and creating numerous attacking openings for the northern province.
Indeed, the 22-year-old has impressed to such an extent that he has now made himself one of the first picks in the Ulster team, surpassing fellow Ireland internationals Tommy Bowe, Andrew Trimble and Craig Gilroy in the pecking order.
Stockdale currently has two caps for his country, and earned his debut against the USA in June 2017 as he scored a try in a 55-19 victory.
The Ulsterman is physically imposing, has a notable turn of pace and is very strong under the high ball. In short, he's everything Joe Schmidt wants in a winger and is in from the start against the Springboks.
Steff Evans (Wales)
Wales are truly blessed in terms of back-three options and could have another absolute gem on their hands in Evans.
Warren Gatland already has the likes of British and Irish Lions Liam Williams, George North and Leigh Halfpenny to call upon but the performances of Evans over the last two years put him in pole position to start against Australia.
Like Stockdale, Evans currently has two caps having made his debut in the summer against Tonga, and scored two tries to save Welsh blushes in Samoa.
The 23-year-old Scarlets wing is an out-and-out finisher and has been exceptional over the last two seasons.
In 2016/17, Evans notched a league-high 13 tries in a real breakout campaign as the Scarlets went on to clinch the league in exhilarating fashion.
So far this season, he sits top of the PRO14 stats for try assists, clean breaks, defenders beaten and most offloads. Give him a chance and he'll punish you.
Sam Underhill (England)
Ineligible for so long having played his club rugby at the Ospreys in Wales, Underhill moved to Bath for this season and is ready to prove his worth in England colours.
The 21-year-old made his debut for England on the summer tour to Argentina and could force his way into Eddie Jones' long-term starting XV given the omission of James Haskell.
He has been given a chance to do that on Saturday having been named as the starting openside to face Argentina.
Intensely physical and energetic around the park, Underhill will leave everything out there and looks to have all the ability to develop into a world-class back-row.
Defence is his particular area of expertise, with big hits and being a breakdown nuisance his forte, but keep an eye out for a deceptive turn of pace too.
Huw Jones (Scotland)
He may already have eight senior caps to his name, but there is more to come from Jones who missed five months and the whole summer due to a hamstring injury.
The 23-year-old centre signed for Glasgow Warriors from the Stormers for this season but has yet to feature for Dave Rennie's side after Currie Cup commitments for Western Province delayed his arrival.
Jones' performances for Scotland after his breakthrough into the team in November 2016 were of such a high calibre that many were talking him up as a Lions prospect before his untimely injury.
He is sure to be starting for Scotland this autumn as they take on Samoa, New Zealand and Australia and is one to watch closely.
Ellis Genge (England)
In the absence of Lions loosehead Joe Marler from the England squad due to suspension, Leicester Tigers prop Genge potentially has an opening to prove himself to Jones this autumn.
The 22-year-old's Premiership form has been decidedly eye-catching with his aggression and work-rate particular strengths.
His ability at scrum-time has also markedly improved and, rather incredibly, Genge played as a No 8 until his late teens before being converted to a prop.
As such, he is superbly dynamic for a front-row forward and received a ringing endorsement from club teammate and 74-cap England man Dan Cole this week.
"Look at his form in the Premiership - he has been outstanding," Cole said. "Ellis is here on merit because he's in the top two or three looseheads in the country."
Tune into Sky Sports Action this Saturday to watch England take on Argentina at 3pm and Ireland face the Springboks at 5.30pm.