Rugby these days can be a cut throat industry. Academies take on large cohorts of promising young talent every year in order to nurture just one or two gems into the first team.
This leaves a selection of players cast aside in their youth, with their rugby playing dreams dashed before their careers have even begun.
Occasionally a talented teenager will slip through the net, but another coach will see something in a player that one team might have missed.
Let’s take a look at the players released as youngsters that have gone on to prove a few people wrong.
#5. Joe Launchbury (Harlequins)
After Harlequins failed to offer him a professional contract aged 18, the lock left the club and joined National League 2 South side Worthing for the 2009–10 season while also stacking shelves in Sainsburys.
After impressing in the National Leagues, he subsequently signed with Wasps academy before becoming a first team regular. Launchbury is now one of England’s most-capped second rows having passed the half-century mark during the 2018 Six Nations.