There’s no denying the Rugby World Cup 2015 will be a showpiece of the best rugby talents in the world. But while there’s a wealth stars for the spectators to gawk over, there are a number of glaring omissions that we wish were part of the tournament. So here’s the 5 players we wish were in the Rugby World Cup:
Israel Dagg (New Zealand)
One of the most harsh and unforgiving exclusions of all the World Cup squads has to be that of Israel Dagg from the All Blacks. The talented Crusaders fullback was in great form during Super Rugby, despite the Crusaders’ falling short, and has made some brilliant contributions in the black jersey in recent seasons. He has also been performing excellently in the ITM Cup, showing his elusive running skills with Hawke’s Bay. The fact he is not involved is a testament to the quality of the All Blacks’ depth, but it’s a shame we won’t see the dazzling counter-attacking skills of Mr. Dagg in England.
Cobus Reinach (South Africa)
A rather surprising omission in Heyneke Meyer’s Springbok squad was Cobus Reinach. The speedy Sharks scrumhalf has been playing some impressive rugby, and while he doesn’t have many caps to his name, he has shone in the green jersey when given the chance, scoring a brilliant try against Argentina and England in 2014. His speed, tenacity, and playmaking will be missing in the World Cup. There’s no doubt he will be the first name on the waiting list if a No. 9 is needed in England due to injury.
Manu Tuilagi (England)
While an unfortunate off-field misdemeanour forced England rugby union to ban Manu Tuilagi, it’s a shame that we will not get to see the powerful centre causing chaos for opposition sides in England’s campaign. Even more devastating is that Tuilagi will miss out of the tournament in his home nation. The 24-year-old has become arguably one of the most feared and dangerous centres thanks to his tackle-breaking ability, and while he may have the chance to play in another World Cup in his career, he would’ve been the ideal solution to Stuart Lancaster’s attacking plans in this particular World Cup.
Cornal Hendricks (South Africa)
Cornal Hendricks has become one of the best finishers in not only Super Rugby, but Test rugby. The former sevens specialist and Commonwealth gold-medal winner has dazzled on the wing for the Cheetahs and Springboks when given the chance, carving up both Australia and New Zealand when put into space. Former All Blacks coach John Mitchell was even surprised at Hendricks’ omission, and it’s a shame we won’t be seeing his slender speed and incredible footwork on the wing for the Boks.
James O’Connor (Australia)
Former Australian exile James O’Connor was always going to have a tough job earning his spot in the Wallaby side for the Rugby World Cup. After been discarded from Australian rugby for his off-field antics, O’Connor found refuge in England with London Irish before joining Toulon. He has had the opportunity to come back and show his abilities with the Reds in Super Rugby this season, but it didn’t seem enough to get the nod from Michael Chieka for the 31-man squad. There’s no denying O’Connor’s skill though, as the 25-year-old has the speed, playmaking abilities, footwork, and kicking-game to ignite any side, and the Wallabies could’ve used his versatility in the outside backline.
Francois Steyn (South Africa)
The teenager who once helped South Africa win the 2007 Rugby World Cup has had his ups and downs in the past few years. After excluding himself from the Springboks, playing overseas in Japan, having personal affairs to attend to, and playing little Super Rugby this year due to injury, Francois Steyn’s form is somewhat unknown, yet there’s no doubt the utility back has the X-factor to unlock defences and cause problems any side he’s facing. The big playmaker would be a valuable asset in the Springbok squad, and add some direct line-running and deception to the Bok backline. Could he once again be an unexpected savoir 8 years later?
Which discarded player do you think deserves a spot in the Rugby World Cup? Let us know in the comments section below…