With the 2019 Rugby World Cup starting next week in Japan, the world’s best sides of 15 are all preparing to face off and do battle against each other.
But as it turns out, we think that a World Cup-worthy side could also be made from 15 unlucky lads who didn’t receive call-ups for their national squads.
Let’s start with three English representatives. The first is Dylan Hartley, who captained England to victory in most of their pre-tournament friendlies. He will be cursing his recent bad run of injuries for his World Cup absence.
Danny Care, however, may well be cursing England manager Eddie Jones, who has taken the controversial decision to replace the Harlequin with Willi Heinz – a former Crusaders backup who only qualifies for England through his grandmother!
It is less of a surprise to find Danny Cipriani absent from the national squad, despite his recent English Premiership Player of the Year award. A string of off-field controversies saw the Gloucester fly-half omitted from national contention back in 2015.
No World Cup-worthy squad would be complete without a few Kiwis. Prop Owen Franks and powerhouse midfielder Ngani Laumape will count themselves particularly unlucky to miss out due to strong competition in their positions.
The New Zealand squad will also be without talented blindside Liam Squire, who cited his mental health as the primary reason behind his absence – we wish him well.
An unlucky trio from Ireland next: prop Jack McGrath, flanker Jordi Murphy and the 6-foot 11 second row Devin Toner. These three have centuries of Lions, national and provincial caps between them, but all have been forced out of the squad for fresher faces.
If you feel that at this point, this team needs some more pace and power to be World Cup-worthy – fear not. A pair of Frenchmen and a couple of Argentinians will fill that gap.
Speedy wingers Teddy Thomas and Santiago Cordero, along with 6-foot 5 French lock Felix Lambey and Argentina’s 17-stone powerhouse Facunda Isa, all represented shock omissions from their squads. They will have to rely on injuries to get a run out in Japan.
A Scot and an Aussie fill the last two spots. The talent of Edinburgh-born Huw Jones would cement a solid centre, while Australia’s Tom Banks would add even more blistering speed to the side – as if it needed more!
It’s now up to the players actually picked for the tournament to prove their superiority over this talented bunch.
The 2019 Rugby World Cup begins on Friday September 20.News Now - Sport News