Ones to Watch #2: Aurélien Rougerie

Name: Aurélien Rougerie

Position: Wing/Centre

Height: 6’3″

Weight: 104kg

Club: ASM Clermont Auvergne

International Caps/Points: 57/110




Everyone knows about Aurélien Rougerie. The big French wing has been a massive danger to opponents everywhere since making his debut in a French shirt back in 2001. His abilities are well documented… He’s a big lad with lightning pace, quick hands, and plenty of strength to barge his way over the line. Rougerie is certainly a force to be reckoned with for both club and country. Unfortunately, almost everyone has also written off Aurélien Rougerie. This, I think, is a big mistake.

Having been out for an extended period of time after breaking an ankle, he’s just making his comeback to the French side in this World Cup, and it seems that lots of people have forgotten about what he can do. Ok, so he didn’t score against Japan, but he’s just come back into the side, and a lot have discounted him because he’s “old” now, but I think that his experience will count in his favour as the World Cup goes on. France are often chokers on the big occasions, and they’ll need a cool head like Rougerie’s when it comes to the latter stages of the tournament, which they will reach. When Rougerie does play, and is on form France can be absolutely on fire. I’ve watched him almost single handedly destroy the confidence of many international teams as he hits them again and again, hard and at pace. Similarly at Clermont he does a big job when he’s in the side.

Rougerie is always a danger out wide, and with his size and weight it makes him really difficult to deal with if you’ve got smaller wingers in the side. Similarly if he plays at centre, his pace makes him hard to live with if you’ve got a sluggish 12 or 13.  I think that makes Rougerie worthy of being France’s “One to Watch”. He might not start every game, and at 31 he’s no spring chicken any more. He’s not even the most dangerous player in the French team, many would argue, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Rougerie chose this World Cup as the time to remind the watching world that he can still cut it at the very highest level.