10. New Zealand Fly-half Dan Carter
Some people will read this name and think I’ve gone mad, but Carter has been seriously pressured at club level by Colin Slade and at international level by Slade and young Hurricanes fly-half Beauden Barrett. He hasn’t been quite the unstoppable force he was in the past during the Rugby Championship. However, he will be Steve Hanson’s first choice.
9. England eight Ben Morgan
Morgan has been outstanding in the past and looked in good form however against Ireland. However many will question if he should be picked ahead of Nick Easter with just one game under his belt since he was injured last season.
8. Australia scrum-half Will Genia
Another big name people will be surprised to see here, Genia himself admitted to being embarrassed about getting selected ahead of form player Nick White for the World Cup. Genia suffered from several injuries and indifferent form during the last season and the Rugby Championship.
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7. French fly-half Freddy Michalak
A player who is either world class or very poor, Michalak is picked ahead of rival Camille Lopez and François Trinh-Duc. France will be looking to the experienced Michalak to control the game and kick accurately for goal.
6. Irish number eight Jamie Heaslip
He has been excellent, and he has been indifferent for Ireland. The reserve captain will have to perform in the World Cup as he is surrounded by massive talents in the guise of Chris Henry, Sean O’Brien and Jordie Murphy, along with Peter O’Mahony, who will be nailed on to start at six if he’s fit.
5. Wales scrum-half Mike Phillips
Mike Phillips has been a great servant to Welsh rugby. However he has always been a slow passer and indifferent kicker, he used to make up for this with a rock solid defence and quick darting runs from the base. The speeding runs have disappeared in recent seasons, but the passing and kicking game has not improved to compensate. Phillips will be keen to make his mark on this World Cup we must hope that it is a positive one.
4. England lock Joe Lauchbury
Lauchbury has recently returned from injury but does not appear to have recovered his full fitness. He has been called up ahead of an in-form Dave Attwood despite this so will need to repay his coaches faith in-kind.
3. Australian fly-halves Quade Cooper and Bernard Foley
I put these players at an equal level because both have been indifferent for Australia despite being picked as fly-halves while Matt Toomua and Matt Giteau are been considered as inside centres. Both have been inconsistent in both goal kicking and match control. Cooper also has to show he can tackle and bring his team with him when he tries a piece of rugby magic.
2. England fly-half Owen Farrell
Farrell has recently returned from injury and played a full match against France in the victory at Twickenham. However the unkind would say England won in spite of Farrell rather than because of him. He has always looked like a manufactured fly-half seeming more comfortable at centre. With him at fly-half, you need a second fly-half in the centre like Henry Slade to make tries. He has been picked ahead of Danny Cipriani, who was probably England’s form player coming into the World Cup.
1. Wales wing Alex Cuthbert
His return to international rugby couldn’t have gone any worse. In his first game back he was one of a very few experienced internationals in the side, but rather than acting as a steadying influence he looked even more nervous and uncertain than the new caps.
In all of the warm-up matches he has been caught out of position by the opposition, looked uncertain in attack and weak in defence. A prime example of this was when a pass from him was intercepted by Sergio Parisse, Wales’s centre Scott Williams worked his way back to prevent Parisse scoring however Leonardo Sarto then brushed aside Cuthbert to score. Sarto is no Shane Williams at six foot four, however, he is still two inches shorter and two stone lighter than Cuthbert who was bumped out the way like he was a far smaller man. He is incredibly lucky to be holding on to his position in the Welsh squad.
Can you think of any other players that have been undeservedly called up? Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below