Six Nations 2024: Leaders and rising stars

We take a closer look at 12 key players who should shine for their teams as the Six Nations faces a period of transition...

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CAPTAIN: Jamie George

Age: 33

Caps: 85

Position: Hooker

With Owen Farrell opting to take a break from international duty and then signing for French side Racing 92, the time came for England to turn to someone new as their full-time captain. For Steve Borthwick, the answer was Jamie George.

George has been picked by the England head coach for his tactical nous, ability to build relationships, and emotional intelligence.

At the Six Nations, we will see if he can meet the challenge of blending youth, experience, and managing players he has played alongside for a long time.

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RISING STAR: Alex Mitchell

Age: 26

Caps: 11

Position: Scrum-half

Potentially the best scrum-half in England at the moment after an incredible season with Northampton, Alex Mitchell could really come into his own at this tournament.

When England played to his style at the latter end of the World Cup it worked wonders and his kicking game could be pivotal in the Six Nations.


CAPTAIN: Peter O'Mahony

Age: 34

Caps: 101

Position: Flanker

The biggest challenge facing Ireland at this Six Nations is moving on from stalwart Johnny Sexton but if there is a man to take his place, Peter O'Mahony seems the right answer.

Exuding natural leadership qualities, O'Mahony will create the siege mentality that has helped Ireland conquer for so long, and he will want to make it back-to-back Grand Slams for his side.

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RISING STAR: Jack Crowley

Age: 24

Caps: 9

Position: Fly-half

There is stepping up and then there is stepping into the shoes of someone like Sexton.

Crowley was running the tee for Ireland at last year's Six Nations and will now be the man who wants to lead them to glory once again.

He is confident heading into the tournament that his can stamp his authority on the side and be Ireland's next great fly-half.

If he can, Ireland will be stood in good stead for years to come


CAPTAINS: Rory Darge & Finn Russell

Age: 23 & 31

Caps: 15 & 75

Position: Flanker & Fly-half

Darge: Darge has been appointed co-captain in order to grow the leadership group that Scotland have. He has captained the side before and will make his impact later in the tournament as he returns from a knee injury.

Russell: The self-professed "Lionel Messi" of rugby, Russell has been the talismanic figure in this Scotland side for many a year. Head coach Gregor Townsend has had a strained relationship with Russell in the past, so his decision to appoint him co-captain is a sign that there is a lot of trust and growth in the dressing room.

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RISING STAR: Cameron Redpath

Age: 24

Caps: 9

Position: Centre

Cameron Redpath is a player that has the potential to have a long career for his country and as someone who plays alongside Russell at club level, he can bring a dynamic of trust and partnership that will be invaluable for Scotland.

He has put on some assured displays in his appearances so far and could grow into a dynamic starter for a Scotland team who feel their first Six Nations victory won't be too far away.


CAPTAIN: Dafydd Jenkins

Age: 21

Caps: 12

Position: Lock

The appointment of 21-year-old Dafydd Jenkins is a clear sign that Wales have decided to build towards the future.

Head coach Warren Gatland believes he can grow into an Alun Wyn Jones-style of leader- the highest of compliments for the young man.

He is already self-assured in his ability and has a chance at the Six Nations to stamp himself as the man that Wales build around for years to come.

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Age: 24

Caps: 14

Position: Wing

With Louis Rees-Zammit making the shock decision to leave rugby and pursue a career in the NFL, there is no better time for Rio Dyer to cement himself as Wales' fast man.

With the chance of starting every match at this tournament. Dyer has a chance to make the position his own and show Wales fans that the loss of LRZ has given them a chance to see Dyer shine.


CAPTAIN: Grégory Alldritt

Age: 26

Caps: 45

Position: No 8, Flanker

As captain of La Rochelle, Gregory Alldritt is no stranger to being the leader of his side. Fresh from his mid-season break, Alldritt is expected to lead from the front for France, his power and commanding presence in the pack giving his side confidence.

He is up there as one of the best No 8s in world rugby and will be key to Les Bleus navigating the tournament without Antoine Dupont.

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RISING STAR: Maxime Lucu

Age: 31

Caps: 18

Position: Scrum-half

There are not many 31-year-olds who would be referred to as a rising star, but when you are the man who has to fill the shoes of Dupont, it really is the opportunity of a lifetime.

Long-time France captain Dupont has opted to miss this year's Six Nations to play for his country at the Olympics and so without his flair and rugby brain in the side, Lucu has a chance to step up and show that there is real strength in depth at scrum-half.


CAPTAIN: Michele Lamaro

Age: 25

Caps: 33

Position: Flanker, No 8

There has been a lot of change in the Italy camp heading into this tournament and so Michele Lamaro will want to be the consistent, guiding force as they look to try and finally avoid the wooden spoon.

His leadership has brought about some of Italy's best performances in their history and 2024 could be the year they take it to the next level.

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RISING STAR: Stephen Varney

Age: 22

Caps: 24

Position: Scrum-half

Stephen Varney was brought up in Wales but opted to represent Italy to honour his grandparents. A good friend of newest NFL recruit Louis Rees-Zammit, Varney has been a consistent player in Italy's squad since 2020.

Now, if he impresses new head coach Gonzalo Quesada, Varney could be the danger man as Italy look to fire in attack like they never have before to challenge the likes of Wales, England, and Scotland.