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Our Alternative World Cup XV

first_imgSir Ian Mcgeechan, who is used to bringing players together, would be in charge our alternative XVEveryone will be keen to see how the Richie McCaws, Quade Coopers and Chris Ashtons of the rugby world perform in New Zealand over the coming weeks, but what about those not taking part?The World Cup is rugby’s showpiece event but not everyone has the chance to compete in it, so here at Rugby World we decided to pick a match-day 22 from all those players around the globe not at the tournament.  Some names you’re sure to recognise and others might not be so familiar, but it’s a team that would cause problems for most nations at RWC 2011. It’s a mix of youth and experience, pace and power, flair and doggedness.Below we explain the myriad of reasons why these players weren’t picked – and are unlikely to be called out to New Zealand as injury replacements – but why they deserve a place in our starting XV. As for who should coach this diverse group of players, it has to be Sir Ian McGeechan, so used is he to bringing players from different nations together with the Lions.1. Loosehead Prop – Kevin TkachukAge 34 (11 Sept 1976)Born ManitobaCountry: CanadaClub: UnattachedHeight 6ftWeight 18st 5lbThe shock omission from Canada’s World Cup squad, Tkachuk is a veteran of 53 Tests and seven years at Glasgow Warriors. He left the club at the end of last season to focus on the World Cup, but Canucks coach Kieran Crowley said: “We felt some players have gone past Kevin in performances.” Still, any team would benefit from his experience.2. Hooker – Schalk BritsAge 30 (16 May 1981)Born EmpangeniCountry South AfricaClub SaracensHeight 5ft 11inWeight 15st 6lbA premiership winner and a star in the northern hemisphere, with running and passing skills to make any back jealous – but he gets no love from the South Africa selectors. He won three caps in 2008 but has since been ignored and says: “There’s an illusion that if you weigh less than 100kg, my weight, you can’t scrum.”3. Tighthead Prop – Carl HaymanAge 31 (14 Nov 1979)Born OpunakeCountry New ZealandClub ToulonHeight 6ft 4inWeight 18st 10lbNew Zealand did all they could to tempt Hayman back home, reportedly even offering to help him set up a farm, but instead of another shot at World Cup glory he opted to sign a big-money deal with Toulon. He’s still one of the world’s best tightheads so it was a blow for Graham Henry, who would have liked Hayman in the black No 3 jersey.4 Second-Row – Ian EvansAge 26 (4 Oct 1984)Born JohannesburgCountry WalesClub OspreysHeight 6ft 9inWeight 18st 4lbEvans made his Wales debut on the same 2006 tour to Argentina as Alun Wyn Jones and both were expected to enjoy long Test careers. But while Jones has now amassed 50 caps, Evans is stuck on 16. Warren Gatland is a fan but a horrible run of injuries means he hasn’t played a Test since 2008.5. Second-Row – Erik LundAge 32 (3 July 1979)Born FredrikstadCountry NorwayClub BiarritzHeight 6ft 8inWeight 19st 2lbBorn in Norway, raised in England, Lund made slow but steady progress through rugby’s ranks before excelling for Leeds in 2009-10. He’s proved an equally powerful presence at Biarritz and he wasn’t out of his depth donning Baa-Baas stripes this summer, but he pledged his allegiance to Norway early on.6. Blindside – Anton RudoyAge 28 (21 Feb 1983)Born AlmatyCountry KazakhstanClub Enisey-STMHeight 6ft 2inWeight 14st 6lbRugby is clearly in the Rudoy genes. Mum Olga played in five World Cups, her last aged 47, while Anton has impressed for Kazakhstan’s men, but couldn’t help them qualify for RWC 2011. A destructive ball-carrier with a penchant for scoring tries, he deserves to play on rugby’s biggest stage.7 Openside – Nili LatuAge 29 (19 Feb 1982)Born TongatapuCountry TongaClub Green RocketsHeight 6ftWeight 15st 12lbLatu was one of the stars of the 2007 World Cup. Dynamic with ball in hand and a snaffler at the breakdown, he led Tonga with aplomb as they troubled finalists South Africa and England in the pool stages. But he’s been kicked out of the current squad by coach Isitolo Maka for “disciplinary reasons”.8. Number 8 – Simon TaylorAge 32 (17 Aug 1979)Born StirlingCountry ScotlandClub BathHeight 6ft 4inWeight 17st 12lbLong seen as one of Scotland’s most talented and consistent performers, Taylor made himself unavailable to the national team in August 2009. He wanted to concentrate on club rugby and staying fit having been dogged by injuries ever since the 2001 Lions tour. Two years on and it seems he brought his Test career to a premature end.9. Scrum-Half – Byron KelleherAge 34 (3 Dec 1976)Born DunedinCountry New ZealandClub Stade FrançaisHeight 5ft 9inWeight 15st Would you like to sign up to Rugby World’s excellent weekly email newsletter? Click here.For Back Issues Contact John Denton Services at 01733-385-170 visit He may not be the best scrum-half in the world but Graham Henry would doubtless want him in his All Blacks squad given that the uninspiring pair of Jimmy Cowan and Piri Weepu are currently fighting over the No 9 shirt. Kelleher’s strength suits the Top 14 where he enjoyed great success with Toulouse before joining Stade in June.10 Fly-Half – Danny CiprianiAge 23 (2 Nov 1987)Born RoehamptonCountry EnglandClub RebelsHeight 6ftWeight 14st 13lbOh danny boy, how a nation loved you – and then you threw it all away. Cipriani divides opinion but no one can deny his talent on the pitch, in attack at least (defensively there are big flaws). Since he was a teen he was tipped to be England’s No 10 at RWC 2011, but high-profile misdemeanours and a move Down Under put paid to that.11. Left-Wing – Tim Visser Age 24 (29 May 1987)Born ZeewoldeCountry ScotlandClub EdinburghHeight 6ft 4inWeight 17stHolland may want Visser but the potent finisher is holding out for Test honours with Scotland. The ‘Flying Dutchman’ has topped the Magners League try chart for the past two years and crossed twice for the Barbarians against England in May. He qualifies for the Scots next summer and could be a familiar face in the team by 2015.12. Inside-Centre – Lote TuqiriAge 31 (23 Sept 1979)Born NamatakulaCountry AustraliaClub Wests Tigers RLHeight 6ft 3inWeight 16st 5lbThe Wallabies could have called on an older head this year had that head been more wise. Tuqiri was contracted to the ARU until 2012 so would have challenged for a World Cup spot, but in July 2009 was sacked after bringing a woman back to his hotel room in a Test week. He’s since returned to league, but would make a hard-running centre.13. Outside-Centre – Mathew TaitAge 25 (6 Feb 1986)Born Shotley BridgeCountry EnglandClub LeicesterHeight 6ftWeight 14st 2lbTait played in every match of England’s 2007 World Cup campaign, starting five. The future seemed bright but injury problems, coupled with England’s desire to opt for power instead of finesse, have seen his career stutter. He’ll get a fresh start at Leicester, but will he be back in contention in 2015?14. Right Wing – Rupeni CaucauAge 31 (5 June 1980)Born NabouwaluCountry FijiClub ToulouseHeight 5ft 11inWeight 17st 4lbSpeed, footwork and a talent for the spectacular; Caucau is a joy to watch, one of rugby’s greatest attacking geniuses. However, he’s not so good at timekeeping, weight watching or staying out of trouble. Anyone would love him in their team, but his unreliable nature means they don’t know if he’d turn up.15. Full-back – Isa NacewaAge 29 (22 July 1982)Born AucklandCountry FijiClub LeinsterHeight 5ft 11inWeight 13st 12lbTwo minutes – that’s how much Test rugby Nacewa has played. He didn’t realise that by playing for Fiji v Scotland in 2003 he was ineligible for the All Blacks and unsuccessfully tried to have the cap annulled. Fiji asked the Irish Players’ Player of the Year to play for them this year but he declined, to focus on his pregnant wife and twins.Bench16. Takeshi Kizu Japan17. Ceri Jones Wales18. Jone Qovu Fiji19. Sione Lauaki New Zealand20. Ricky Januarie South Africa21. Nick Evans New Zealand22. Regan King New ZealandThis article appeared in the October 2011 issue of Rugby World Magazine.Find a newsagent that sells Rugby World in the UK. You may prefer the digital edition on your MAC, PC, or iPad. center_img LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALSlast_img read more