Despite the 2023 Rugby World Cup being well underway in France, it is still no easier to tell what nation is going to be crowned the winner and presented with the famed Webb Ellis Cup at the Stade de France on October 28.

There’s also very little to separate the likes of defending champions South Africa, Ireland, France and New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup betting odds.

There have been some defining moments already that could’ve given us some sort of indication of who has a better chance of becoming world champions, however. Les Bleus beat the All Blacks in the opening game of the tournament, while World No.1-ranked Ireland edged out the Springboks in a thrilling 13-8 win.

There’s a long way to go before the final though, and a lot can happen when tensions get ramped up in the knockout stages. So, instead of trying to predict who is going win the Rugby World Cup, let’s take a look back at some of the players who have stood out due to their superior individual performances thus far.

Johnny Sexton – Ireland

The top scorer in the competition at the time of writing, Johnny Sexton has racked up a total of 45 points after Ireland’s first three games. The 38-year-old is showing no signs of letting age catch up with him as he scored two tries and successfully kicked seven out of eight conversions in Ireland’s record 82-8 win over Romania.

The Leinster fly-half scored his third try of the tournament in the 59-16 win over Tonga, kicking all four conversion attempts while also slotting home a penalty. Sexton was on point with his boot again in the win over the Springboks, scoring his only two attempts from the tee with one conversion and a penalty. Connaught’s Bundee Aki deserves an honourary mention for his four tries this far. 

Henry Arundell – England

Harry Arundell might have only played one match at the World Cup at the time of writing, but he deserves his place on this list following what proved to be a stunning debut in England’s 71-0 mauling over Chile in Lille.

The 20-year-old was handed a first start on the wing by Steve Borthwick and he repaid the faith of his head coach by scoring five tries against the South Americans — matching England’s record for the most tries scored in a single World Cup match. Arundell is also the leading try scorer despite playing just one game.

Damian Penaud – France

It was hard to pick between Damian Penaud and his Les Bleus teammate Thomas Ramos, who is second to Sexton in the top scorer list with 41 points. But we have sided with the former, who has four tries to his name this far and is being well-backed to finish the tournament as the top try scorer.

Penaud scored France’s first try against New Zealand as the hosts came back from behind in the second half to beat the All Blacks 27-13 in Paris. The 27-year-old Bordeaux Begles winger was on the scoresheet three times as Les Bleus set a new record for their biggest World Cup win in the 96-0 victory over Namibia.