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What is our X-Factor Rating?

In the sports world 'x-factor' is a term with many definitions.

For the Prep Rugby Watch rankings, we use Dan Ritchie's quote in his article "Influence of the X-Factor Player" as our definer:

"A player with exceptional speed or strength, a player who possesses a skill set that is unmatched by any teammate or opponent or simply someone who has the ability to make something out of nothing can be referred to as having X Factor."

This quote captures what it means to be an X-factor player.

So what does it look like for high school players?

Here are some traits we are looking for you to get that 5-star X-factor rating:

  1. Evasion- Can the player escape a tight space to gain meters or win the contact. This is often achieved by footwork supported by great hip mobility. This player also has a strong skill set to win the hand-fighting battle that occurs (stiff arms, charges, etc). Here is a great example of world-class evasion from Cheslin Kolbe. How many defenders should have him covered? How does he beat them?

  2. Pace and/or strength- World-class speed and strength are also attributes of an X-factor athlete. But, it isn't good enough to just be fast and strong. Referencing the video above you see Cheslin Kolbe avoids using his speed immediately once he gets the ball. His speed comes after the move to put himself into space. This is called athlete intuition and is the next trait we look for.

  3. Uncanny athlete intuition- This is also called game sense among other things. Regardless of the term, it describes a player who knows the 'right' decision in every situation. Here is a great video of Nick Saban talking about it.

  4. Ability to take over a game- This can be achieved with any of the 3 traits highlighted above. But the infinity stone-like superpower is if a player has all 3 traits. A good example of this would be Antoine Dupont from France. Here is a good highlight reel of the most dangerous man in rugby.

So who are 15 PRW athletes who have scored 5 stars in their X-Factor? Check out the list:

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