5 rugby stars who took unorthodox routes to the Rugby World Cup

Not all players have an easy ride to the top. These five have had ups and downs on their way to international rugby and the Rugby World Cup.

1. Chris Harris (Scotland)

Playing for National League One side Tynedale for five years between 2009 and 2014, the centre scored a try on his professional debut for the Falcons. He’s since become a fan favourite and Kingston Park, catching the eye of Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend, which led to him making his test debut during the 2018 Six Nations. He will play for Gloucester next season after the Falcons were relegated.

2. Joe Launchbury (England)

Harlequins decided not to offer Launchbury a professional contract at 18, which led to the lock signing for then National League 2 South side Worthing in 2009. His performances at that level led to him getting a trial at Wasps where he eventually won a full-time deal. He’s since gone onto captain the black and golds while establishing himself as an England regular.