URC – Sacha And Quan Breakout Stars Of 2023/24 Season


The 2023/2024 season of the United Rugby Championship was another stellar campaign, with nail-biting action from Round 1 until the Grand Final. The Grand Final itself gave us a closely fought contest in the highveld of Pretoria with Glasgow Warriors coming out on top to claim their first United Rugby Championship title and the second in three years to be won by the away side.

With the history books now carved in stone, we can look back at the season and reflect on the young breakout stars who staked their claim and made themselves indispensable to their teams this season.

The United Rugby Championship has a plethora of young talent coming through the ranks, with opportunities across every region and every team to display these talents. As we look forward to the 2024/2025 season, our four Breakout Stars will be expected to remain invaluable to their respective sides, cementing their place and driving them to Grand Final glory.

Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu

Within South African rugby circles, Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu is seen as a long-term solution for the Springboks at fly-half. Following a successful season as DHL Western Province U21 captain, leading the side to an undefeated SA Rugby U21 Cup victory, Feinberg-Mngomezulu stepped up to the DHL Stormers for the 2023/2024 season. He announced his arrival with sensational ball control, finishing a breakaway try against the Emirates Lions in Round 1. He secured a starting position at inside centre in five of the first six rounds before injuries sidelined him.

Feinberg-Mngomezulu made a triumphant return in Round 16, scoring two tries in a 6-minute cameo to secure an away win against the Dragons. An elite goal kicker, he maintained an 86% kicking percentage throughout his 10 appearances. These skills earned him his first call-up to the Springboks, where he aims to cement his place in the four-time World Cup winners' squad.

Matt Currie

Since making his debut for Edinburgh in 2021, centre Matt Currie has become a key player, starting all but two URC fixtures. Adapting seamlessly to the number 12 shirt, he contributed to Edinburgh’s narrow win over the Emirates Lions at the season's start.

Currie proved a reliable defensive asset, making 119 tackles with an 85% success rate. Despite Edinburgh’s pragmatic style, which yielded the 12th highest number of tries, Currie showcased his attacking capabilities, making 101 carries for 394 meters. Having proven himself a rock in the midfield, Currie looks set to drive Edinburgh to success in the 2024/2025 season.

Quan Horn

In his second season with the Lions, Quan Horn has cemented his role as the club’s first-choice full-back. The 23-year-old scored 35 points in 17 appearances during the 2023/24 campaign, with his try against Dragons RFU earning a nomination for Try of the Season.

Demonstrating speed and agility, he accumulated 757 meters and made 323 meters from kicks in play. Horn’s reliability saw him play an astonishing 1359 minutes in the URC this season. Though the Lions missed a top-eight finish, Horn remains key to their ambitions for the next season.

Simone Gesi

At just 23, Simone Gesi has become a mainstay in the Zebre lineup. After leading Zebre Parma with 10 tries in the 2022/2023 season, he aimed to further improve their fortunes on the wing. Despite Zebre Parma’s frustrating 2023/2024 season, Gesi thrived, featuring in 16 of the 18 rounds and ending the season with 45 points as the club’s leading try scorer with 9 tries. This was more than double the next-highest try scorer, highlighting Gesi's significant impact.

His outstanding performance earned him a call-up to Italy’s Six Nations squad for 2024, where he aims to secure a starting place in the 2024/2025 season.

Jack Crowley

Jack Crowley has enjoyed a meteoric rise in Irish rugby. Having marshalled Munster to a United Rugby Championship victory in 2023 against the DHL Stormers, he looked to continue his fine form this season and establish himself as Ireland’s premier fly-half after Irish legend, Johnny Sexton’s retirement. He picked up where he left off in Cape Town as he finished the season as the 8th highest point scorer in the competition, taking Munster to a closely fought semi-final tie against this year’s champions, the Glasgow Warriors.

Proving himself as a reliable kicker off the tee with an 82% success rate from 45 attempts, Crowley has cemented himself as one of world rugby’s elite fly-halves. This form has led to him being awarded the Next-Gen Player of the Season for 2023/2024, having matured in his role, becoming an excellent general in the Munster side while also having the ability to change a game with his excellent vision. Voted for by a media panel, it was remarked that he was ‘central’ to Munster’s illustrious form in 2024, which he will hope to take into next season to try and reclaim the United Rugby Championship title.