In a time where we are all busily fixated on the next best thing in rugby, here we take a look at players touted to be just that who did not find such a fate…
1. Olly Barkley
The wonderkid won 23 caps for England between 2001 and 2008, and such was his early reputation that he featured for England before his club debut with Bath. A graceful left-footer able to play at fly-half or inside-centre, Barkley should have been a mainstay in the England midfield after the retirement of Will Greenwood.
The strange thing about Barkley is that it is hard to say where it all went wrong. Although he was never blessed with great pace, the playmaker kicked well from the tee and out of hand, was a fine distributor and hardly a weak player in defence. He is possibly the biggest mystery of English rugby from the 2000s.