Six Nations rugby: The players to watch
With places on the prestigious Lions tour to New Zealand on the line, along with national glory, players from Europe's top rugby nations have plenty to play for as the 2017 Six Nations championship gets underway. But who are the superstars and rising talents you should be watching? Let's take a look...
Maro Itoje (England)
The dynamic 22-year-old lock might be a relative newbie at the highest level, but he's already shown plenty of flashes of his huge potential for both club and country.
Sergio Parisse (Italy)
The wily veteran has represented his country more than 120 times, but the Italian captain is still an inspirational force at age 33. Powerful, skilful, a world-class player leading an underdog team.
Garry Ringrose (Ireland)
Talented young centre Ringrose, who scored an electrifying try against World Cup finalists Australia, has Irish eyes smiling at the thought of a successor to legendary Brian O'Driscoll.
Huw Jones (Scotland)
Promising young centre Jones showed that his gamble to travel afar to hone his skills in the southern hemisphere's tough Super Rugby competition paid off, when he won man of the match with a two-try performance against Australia in the autumn internationals.
Louis Picamoles (France)
The barnstorming French number 8 has rediscovered his form after a club move to Northampton. He stood up well in a loss to the mighty All Blacks, and looks set to lead a rebuilding French side who are trying to find their way back to former glories atop the Six Nations.
George North (Wales)
It seems like Welsh winger North has been around forever (having debuted in 2010), but he's still only 24 years old. Bouncing back from horrible injuries and concussions in the past two seasons, the talented game-changer is looking to book his place on the Lions tour to New Zealand.
Jack Nowell (England)
The Exeter Chiefs winger has shown flashes of true brilliance for club and country, not just finishing tries but setting them up for others. With a Lions spot in his sights, expect Nowell to shine.
Noa Nakaitaci (France)
France may be rebuilding rather than challenging for the title, but their Fijian-born flyer is an electrifying talent often capable of being the most exciting player on the field.
My uncle played rugby, and my Dad played football, and they used to argue which game was the roughest - and everybody agreed rugby was. It's a great team sport, and to be successful, every person has to play at the same level.