The best rugby players on Earth are about to do battle at the World Cup in Japan.
But there is some great talent that can count themselves desperately unlucky to only make our ‘Snub XV.’
Fox Sports Lab picked the best of the rest as we count down to the tournament opener on September 20.
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Jack McGrath of Ireland celebrates his team’s 40-29 victory against New Zealand in 2016.Source:Getty Images
1: Jack McGrath (Ireland)
The reliable loosehead prop was a British and Irish Lions starter in 2017 in the shared series against New Zealand.
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Dylan Hartley of England looks dejected during the Six Nations.Source:Getty Images
2: Dylan Hartley (England)
The abrasive Kiwi-born hooker was Eddie Jones’ choice as captain throughout the majority of the pre-World Cup cycle but paid the price for a bad run of injuries.
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New Zealand’s Owen Franks holds the Bledisloe Cup at Eden Park in Auckland.Source:AP
3: Owen Franks (New Zealand)
A two-time World Cup winner and Test centurion, Franks was a shock omission as Steve Hansen opted for the superior mobility and skill of Angus Ta’avao and Atu Moli.
Ireland’s Devin Toner and New Zealand’s Kieran Read jump for a lineout ball.Source:AFP
4: Devin Toner (Ireland)
The popular 2.1m giant was the most capped player in Joe Schmidt’s coaching tenure but made way for South Africa-born Jean Kley, who is viewed as a superior scrummager.
Italy scrumhalf Tito Tebaldi tackles France lock Felix Lambey during the Six Nations.Source:AFP
5: Felix Lambey (France)
The big red head must be scratching his melon after starting four of the five Six Nations Tests yet missing out.
New Zealand’s Liam Squire is tackled by Australia’s David Pocock.Source:News Corp Australia
6: Liam Squire (New Zealand)
Not so much a selection snub given he made himself unavailable after feeling he “wasn’t ready just yet physically or mentally for the pressures of test match rugby.”
The tough blindside with 23 caps otherwise would have been a shoo-in.
“For me mental health is a lot more important than playing rugby,” Squire said.
Jordi Murphy of Ireland celebrates victory at Twickenham.Source:Getty Images
7: Jordi Murphy (Ireland)
Speaking of shoo-ins, Murphy must have thought he was in that category following injuries to fellow flankers Sean O’Brien and Dan Leavy.
But Schmidt preferred Rhys Ruddock to the 29 Test veteran.
Australia’s Lukhan Salakai-Loto tackles Argentina’s Facundo Isa.Source:AFP
8: Facunda Isa (Argentina)
The powerhouse Toulon ball carrier was a shock non-selection as coach Mario Ledesma favoured Argentina-based players.
The Pumas are blessed with quality loose forwards but this was a strange call.
Danny Care of England scores a try at Twickenham.Source:Getty Images
9: Danny Care (England)
The 84-Test scrumhalf fell out of favour with Jones and was discarded for former Crusaders backup Willi Heinz, who qualifies for England through his grandmother.
“I had never been pushed out because of someone from another country,” Care said.
“But then when it happens to you, it does sting.
“It really hurts.”
Unwanted England star Danny Cipriani at the Stade de France.Source:Getty Images
10: Danny Cipriani (ENG)
Not a surprise that he wasn’t picked given his various off-field indiscretions and reputation as a flighty type.
But like Quade Cooper Cipriani can still play — he was judged the English Premiership player of the year.
Santiago Cordero of Argentina scores a try at Twickenham.Source:Getty Images
11: Santiago Cordero (Argentina)
The pacy Puma was one of the stars of the last World Cup but, like Isa, seems to have hurt his selection chances by moving overseas.
Ngani Laumape of the All Blacks celebrates scoring a try at Tokyo Stadium.Source:Getty Images
12: Ngani Laumape (New Zealand)
Hansen admitted the powerhouse midfielder could have done nothing more after starring for the Hurricanes and All Blacks all season.
But a lack of positional versatility counted against him as veteran rivals Sonny Bill Williams and Ryan Crotty proved their fitness in the nick of time.
Scotland centre Huw Jones dives over the line to score a try at Murrayfield.Source:AFP
13: Huw Jones (Scotland)
A quality performer, Jones has scored 10 tries in 23 Tests and will rightfully be kicking stones.
France winger Teddy Thomas runs to score a try at the Stade de France in Paris.Source:AFP
14: Teddy Thomas (France)
The talented Frenchman has also scored 10 tries (from 16 Tests) but will have to count on an injury to get a run in Japan.
Tom Banks of the Wallabies makes a break at Bankwest Stadium.Source:Getty Images
15: Tom Banks (Australia)
Like Laumape, a Super Rugby star in 2019 hurt by a lack of versatility.
Banks is one of the fastest players in Australia but missed out to the likes of Adam Ashley-Cooper and Dane Haylett-Petty.
Did the lack of a hyphen count against him?
Pocock creates RWC headache
Rugby: David Pocock made a terrific return for the Wallabies against Samoa on Saturday. His availability creates a welcome headache for Michael Cheika ahead of the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
16: Nathan Harris (New Zealand)
17: Karl Tu’inukuafe (New Zealand)
18: Samson Lee (Wales)
19: Vaea Fifita (New Zealand)
20: Pete Samu (Australia)
21: Kieran Marmion (Ireland)
22: Ben Te’o (England)
23: Akihito Yamada (Japan)
Originally published asThis World Cup ‘Snub XV’ would beat most teams on the planet
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