The English National team boasts a rich history of remarkable players, spanning from the likes of Martin Johnson and Joe Launchbury to Jonny Wilkinson and Owen Farrell.
Nevertheless, despite the presence of these exceptional talents, the team has also witnessed its fair share of letdowns.
Many players were anticipated to shine but never fulfilled those expectations, while others were deemed suitable stand-ins but were denied the opportunity.
Furthermore, questions linger as to why some of these players were ever selected for the national team. Regardless of the underlying reasons, a significant number of individuals have earned a place on this list due to their substantial disappointments for various reasons.
1. Christian Wade
The 2013 British & Irish Lion is poised to sensationally quit Wasps in order to pursue a lucrative career in the NFL, having grown disillusioned with rugby union. The 27-year-old is one of the most recognised names in the domestic game, but his continued absence from the international set-up – having won just one England cap on the 2013 tour of Argentina – has left him frustrated and fed up of continuously being overlooked. What a waste.
2. David Flatman
The now pundit for ITV, BT Sport and Channel 5 speaks a very good game but his opportunities at international level were not forthcoming. He won his first full caps as a replacement in the Tests against South Africa on the summer tour in 2000 but never really established himself as the first choice, finding himself behind Graham Rowntree in the pecking order. Winning just eight caps between 2000 and 2002, he’d probably walk into Eddie Jones latest squad.
3. Hugh Vyvyan
The Newcastle and Saracens legend, who made 245 Premiership appearances, won a deserved first England cap against Canada in the Investec Challenge match in 2004 and scored a try as captain. However, shockingly, this would be the only full test cap he’d ever win.
4. Dave Walder
The Geordie magician steered the Falcons to cup final glory in 2001 and 2004, the Durham University graduate playing four tests for England between 2001 and 2003. The fly-half made 87 Premiership appearances during his seven seasons at Kingston Park before going on to domestic and European glory with London Wasps. A great player, so it’s disappointing we didn’t see more of him at Test level.
5. Tom Varndell
An England international with four caps to his name, the wing became the Premiership’s all-time leading try-scorer during the 2016/17 campaign when he scored against Harlequins at Ashton Gate. Like Wade, it’s hard to believe he didn’t get more of a chance, scoring three tries in his four test caps.