The 2019 Rugby World Cup will showcase the best talent the globe has to offer but a growing number of players will be unavailable due to eligibility rules or are unlikely to be picked for a trip to Japan.
This team makes us want a Baa-Baas team at the RWC!
Fullback: Charles Piutau, New Zeland
The world’s highest paid player would be a certainty for the 15-jersey. Despite reports he wanted to switch allegiance from New Zealand to Tonga for the World Cup, this is now impossible and means one of the worlds finest players won’t be at the sports showpiece event.
Winger: Simon Zebo, Ireland
with Ireland adopting a hard stance on eligibility for overseas players, Zebo’s phone hasn’t been ringing despite his fine form with Racing 92 this season.
Centre: Malakai Fekitoa, New Zealand
Fekitoa, who won the 2015 World Cup with the All Blacks, previously told the Herald of his desire to return home and add to his 24 tests. However, his move to Wasps this summer puts such aspirations firmly on the backburner and ends his chances of a recall.
Centre: Mathieu Bastareaud, France
The powerhouse centre, who was Les Bleus’s vice-captain during a disappointing Six Nations campaign, did not feature in the list of 31 and the six standby players who will start preparation for the tournament from June 25th. He’s since confirmed he retirement from international rugby.
Winger: Nemani Nadolo, Fiji
The 6ft 4, 137 kg winger has decided to hang up his international boots ahead of the Rugby World Cup, having amassed 30 caps and 19 tries for his country, including a memorable try against England in the Rugby World Cup in 2015.