Newshub's Sporting Review 2019: Ones to watch in 2020

OPINION: 2019 has seen a number of athletes break out in their chosen sports and 2020 will be no different, Newshub's panel of experts make their picks at who will become a breakout star next year. 

Will Young

The talented Central Districts batsman will make his Blackcaps test debut in 2020. He had that moment taken away from him following the horrific attacks in Christchurch earlier this year, and injury robbed him of a spot in the Blackcaps squad for both the Cricket World Cup and the tour of Australia.

With Jeet Raval's test career on life support, Young is the next cab off the rank and don't be surprised if he establishes himself behind Williamson and Taylor as our most reliable test batsman. 

Brad Lewis, Newshub online sports producer

Zion Williamson

The New Orleans Pelicans' phenom should've been in the running as a breakout star for 2019, had it not been for a knee injury that had the basketball world breathing a collective sigh of disappointment.

Williamson came out of his lone season at Duke University as the unanimous and most hyped No. 1 draft pick since LeBron James, and deservedly so until surgery forced a lengthy delay to his highly anticipated debut.

The 19-year-old is like something created in a video game - a terrifying combination of raw power, athleticism, skill, and a no-plays-off mentality.

The Pelicans are understandably cautious about his comeback date, well aware of the asset they have on their hands. Recent indications suggest we may see him take the court in January.

It's going to be worth the wait. Buckle up.

Stephen Foote, Newshub online sports producer 

Zion Williamson.
Zion Williamson. Photo credit: Image: Getty

Sarpreet Singh

In the context of world sport nothing gets bigger than Football, and to have our own gem in amongst the rough makes it just that much better.

Kiwi kid Sarpreet Singh is one I'd continue to keep an eye on, Although plenty of New Zealand footballers are in and around the European scene, nothing is bigger than playing for powerhouse Bayern Munich.

Singh briefly made his Bundesliga debut, and it's a sign of what's to come. The young man has turned heads since joining the Wellington Phoenix, and it's a sign of what to expect for the future.

New Zealand players need exposure to high calibre football and Singh is getting just that.

Sullivan Harnett, Newshub sports reporter

Coco Gauff

The 15-year-old American burst onto the scene with a breakthrough 2019 that saw her beat Venus Williams on the way to reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon, before capturing the world's attention again at the US Open. 

Kiwi fans will get a chance to see a champion of the future at the ASB Classic in January, which could set up another sensational year for a rising star of women's tennis. 

Andrew Gourdie, Newshub sports presenter 

Coco Gauff.
Coco Gauff. Photo credit: Image: Reuters

Brave Blossoms

One of the most intriguing sub-plots of the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan was the home team's bid to advance past pool play for the first time.

Under former All Blacks Jamie Joseph and Tony Brown, the 'Blossoms' hoped to build on their massive upset of South Africa at the previous tournament four years earlier and carefully designed a programme that kept their best players out of Super Rugby.

Victories over Ireland and Scotland helped Japan top their group unbeaten, but their dream run ended in the quarter-finals, where they bowed to the Springboks, who went on to take the silverware.

Joseph has committed to taking the Japanese through to the next World Cup, but expectations on the Cinderella team of world rugby are now much higher.

Their success has elevated them to eighth on latest IRB rankings - ahead of Scotland, Argentina and Italy - but failed to earn promotion to the game's top echelon.

Every encounter with a tier-one team now looms as an opportunity to push for that elite status.

Grant Chapman, Newshub online sports editor

 

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