Ones to Watch #4: Chauncey O’Toole

Name: Chauncey O’Toole

Position: Flanker/Number 8

Height: 6’2″

Weight: 95kg

Club: Neath Swansea Ospreys

International Caps/Points: 13/15

The man with possibly the most Irish name I have ever heard is, unsurprisingly, not Irish. You’d have to be from North America somewhere to get away with a name like that, and O’Toole is, as you will already have guessed, Canadian.

O’Toole actually grew up  playing ice hockey in his native Canada, before deciding to have a go at rugby in his late teens. Just as well for Canada that he did, as O’Toole (now 25) was recently named “man of the series” in the Churchill Cup (contested between Canada, USA, England Saxons, Italy A, Russia, and Tonga this year), where he propelled Canada into the final with some great performances. Canada lost out to England Saxons in the final this year, but it seems that pundits were almost unanimous in their choice of O’Toole as the tournaments leading player.

Having seen his status boom over the past couple of seasons, quite a few teams in the Rabo Direct Pro12, and Aviva Premiership were on O’Toole’s tail this summer, but it was the Ospreys who moved quickest, and O’Toole is off for a new challenge in Wales at the end of the World Cup. Nimble on his feet for a big man, and with bags of pace, O’Toole can play at openside or at Number 8, and was once dubbed “the best amatuer rugby player in the world”. Amazingly enough, he was on a short term deal at Glasgow last season, who decided to release him back to Canada before the Ospreys came calling. That may be a decision Glasgow live to regret, depending on how O’Toole performs at the World Cup and over the coming season.

O’Toole definitely looks to be the stand out player in the Canadian squad as far as I can see, and playing in such an important position he could have a massive influence on Canada’s fixtures. Have a look at this video of him in action against Russia in the Churchill Cup and see what you think yourself. One to Watch?