The Best Uncapped England Rugby XV: The nearly men
Lock: ED SLATER
The 29-year-old lock, who can also play at blindside flanker or number eight, took an unconventional route to the top and developed his craft in Australia before spending seven years at Leicester. He was desperately unlucky not to win a full cap for England during a successful period at Welford Road, where he was called up five times, that saw him become a big favourite. He’s now still rucking away down at Gloucester after being part of a transfer that saw Jonny May go the other way.
Lock: RICHARD BIRKETT
The reliable lock was been forced to retire with a neck injury at the age of 33. He played all of his professional rugby for Wasps, making his first of 259 appearances in 1999 and gong on to win four Premiership titles and a Heineken Cup.
Flanker: JOHN WELLS
Playing at blindside flanker, he played for England U-16, U-18, Students, U-23 and England ‘A’. He was not capped for England, though he did play in a non-cap international against Italy. Wells made his debut for Leicester Tigers in 1982 away against Harlequins, and he went on to play for them over 360 times, captaining the side from 1991-93. He is particularly noted for playing in a back row with England internationals Dean Richards at number eight and Neil Back at openside.
Flanker: BEN WOODS
The flanker started his professional career at Newcastle Falcons in 2003 but suffered a badly broken leg at the end of his first season and was sidelined for 18 months. He could have given up there, but when Woods returned he quickly made his mark on the Falcons first team and earned a call-up to play for the England Saxons. After moving to Leicester, injury to Lewis Moody allowed Woods to make his mark at Leicester and he played in 23 games for them in his first season, culminating in a try-scoring appearance in the 2009 Heineken Cup Final.
Number 8: RICHARD BAXTER
Brother of head coach Rob, the 34-year-old No 8 played his 431st game for Exeter before retiring to work full-time on the family farm in 2013. He was named in the Premiership team of the year in his final two seasons, probably suggesting he peaked too late to get a chance at International rugby.