Rugby Union

The injury XV of the Rugby World Cup 2015

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There have already been several characteristics of this World Cup that have made it unique; and unfortunately, one has been the injury list.

Some players were unexpectedly cut from their teams squad due to pre-existing injuries, others have incurred them during the tournament.

Here is a fantasy XV of players who will no longer feature for their country due to this epidemic.


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1. Alex Corbisiero (England)

For a couple of years, the British and Irish Lions hero has struggled to get consistent game time through injury. This may be of particular regret as the incumbent loosehead seems to be struggling at the scrum as of late.

2. Zhurab Zhvania (Georgia)

Georgia has no shortage of top class front rowers, but losing Zhvania close to the tournament was not ideal. The Stade Francais player has scored seven tries from his 18 Tests which is a good return for any front rower.

3. Coenie Oosthuizen (South Africa)

Neck injury had sidelined the impressive Cheetah's prop Oosthuizen before the World Cup started. Able to play both sides of the scrum, he had been pushing his case as starting tighthead for the Springboks. Jannie Du Plessis is hardly a poor option, but South Africa will miss Oosthuizen's versatility and impact.

4. Will Skelton (Australia)

One of the biggest (literally) losses Australia could have sustained, Skelton burst onto the international scene last year using his size to crash over the line against England. Whether as an impact sub or a starter, his presence was sure to get over the gain line and secure the set piece. The rest of the world will be relieved Australia do not have a like-for-like replacement for the giant, Skelton.

5. Grant Gilchrist (Scotland)

Having already missed large chunks of his international career due to a complicated arm fracture, this was the worst possible timing for Gilchrist as he was finding form in an exciting Scotland side. A strong ball carrier and lineout option he would have relished the upcoming battle with South Africa.

6. Billy Vunipola (England)

Normally played at number eight, the younger Vunipola brother has club experience at six and is certainly physical enough to do the job. Struggling with consistency lately, he will be particularly disappointed to be forced to step down after one of his better outings against Wales.

7. John Hardie (Scotland)

A surprise selection for some, Hardie has impressed in Super Rugby with his work rate and vindicated his selection with a try against Japan. His World Cup dream was short lived as fellow Kiwi Blair Cowan has been called in to replace him due to - you guessed it - injury.

8. Wycliff Palu (Australia)

Part of the double injury news for Australia ahead of the England game, big ball carrier Wycliff Palu was ruled out due to a hamstring issue. He may not have started against England but without fellow Waratah, Skelton, the Aussie pack has been considerably downsized.

9. Rhys Webb (Wales)

And here is the first of a slew of Welsh backline injuries. Rhys Webb looked to have finally secured the starting nine shirt with an excellent Six Nations and club season. His high-tempo allowed Wales to use their power more effectively out wide. His replacements have done well in his absence, but the lack of experience in the squad at scrum half will be a worry.

10. Gareth Anscombe (Wales)

The former Super Rugby stand out was hoping to apply pressure to Dan Biggar's position in the run-up to the World Cup but, unfortunately, could not stay fit. Biggar's experience and goal-kicking likely would have done enough to keep him at bay anyway, but squad competition is something every coach wants. It is possible that in-form Finn Russell will be in this conversation in the days to come, but luckily for him and Scotland, he has not been ruled out yet.

11. Waisake Naholo (New Zealand)

Super Rugby's top try scorer forced his way into the All Black squad with an attention-grabbing season that saw his franchise win the title for the first time. His two appearances in the Rugby Championship demonstrated his considerable talents before a leg injury ended his World Cup before it started. Rest assured it won't be the last you see of Naholo.

12. Jean de Villiers (South Africa)

Unfortunately for world rugby, the same cannot be said for the legend Jean De Villiers after his latest knock. A fractured jaw will preclude him from the rest of the tournament, and he has since announced his retirement from international rugby. South Africa will sorely miss his presence in a youthful backline.

13. Scott Williams (Wales)

There were actually selection choices to make in this Injury XV between Welsh centres. It has been nothing short of ridiculous how they have dropped one-by-one. After Williams went down, Cory Allen was carried off having scored a reassuring hat-trick. With the game Australia to come, Wales will have the squad tested as never before.

14. Hallam Amos (Wales)

Another Welshman to fall to the injury curse, Amos had leapfrogged British Lion, Alex Cuthbert in the pecking order with his scoring rate and sheer pace. Fortunately for Wales they do have plenty of strength in depth out wide, as yet again I could have picked another Welshman in this team in Eli Walker.

15. Leigh Halfpenny (Wales)

Arguably the biggest blow to Wales before the tournament was the ever brilliant Leigh Halfpenny. Not only one of the most secure full backs in the world but one of the best kickers too. Luckily Dan Biggar stepped up to show that he would not be missed in this regard.

Do you think the loss of these players has affected their respective teams' performance? Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below!

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Rugby Union
Wales Rugby
England Rugby
Scotland Rugby
Australia Rugby
IRB Rugby World Cup
Leigh Halfpenny

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