Rugby legend believes English youth rugby's obsession with size stunts progress of talent | Page 3 of 4 | Ruck

Rugby legend believes English youth rugby’s obsession with size stunts progress of talent

11. Nick Abendanon

He was a fan’s player, born 20 years too late to justify his mercurial talent in professional rugby. Abendanon rarely featured on the England radar. Concerns about his defence, kicking and ability under the high ball all outweighed his ability to glide through defences in a broken field.

The full-back, despite being the best player in Europe, missed out on selection for the 2015 Rugby World Cup due to playing overseas, but even if he had been eligible, it is still hard to see the England management dispensing with the tenacious and reliable Mike Brown. Abendanon, then, is a player who England never trusted to reach his potential.


12. Lesley Vanikolo

The Volcano’ stormed onto the scene for Gloucester, doing something ridiculous like scoring five tries on his debut against Leeds, before qualifying for England on residency grounds.

International honours followed, with Vainikolo making his England debut against Wales in 2008. However, he failed to bring his try-scoring form to the international scene and was quickly dropped from Martin Johnston’s squad after winning five caps.


13. Stephen Myler

Myler switched codes in September 2006 after his rugby league career took in St Helens, Widnes and Salford. However, despite his consistency for Northampton Saints and the Saxons, the fly-half has only won one full Test cap.

Stephen Myler of Northampton kicks off – Photo mandatory by-line: Phil Mingo/Pinnacle – Tel: +44(0)1363 881025 – Mobile:0797 1270 681 – VAT Reg No: 768 6958 48 – 310514 – SPORT – RUGBY UNION – AVIVA PREMIERSHIP FINAL – Saracens v Northampton Saints – Twickenham, London, England

14. James Simpson-Daniel

James Simpson-Daniel was always a fan favourite and narrowly missed out on selection for the 2003 World Cup, despite being involved in the all-conquering England team of the 2002 Autumn Internationals. Although heralded as a potential world-class wing, injury constantly blighted his career and numerous England head coaches looked to other options ahead of him. He ended his career with a pitiful 10 caps.


15. Olly Morgan 

Morgan made his debut for England in the 2007 Six Nations against Scotland and started again against Ireland three weeks later. However, numerous injuries blighted his career and these were the only two occasions he ever played for the national team.

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