The Six Nations squads are in, and as per usual, the respective head coaches have made some intriguing decisions, with several big-name players absent.
The Planet Rugby writers have shifted through the selections and picked a starting line-up of those that have been omitted, NOT through injury, and it’s a seriously good team.
Without further ado, here is our side.
Six Nations Snubbed XV
15 Mike Haley (Ireland): The Munster full-back has been in stellar form for the province in the United Rugby Championship (URC) and Champions Cup, leading the way for metres gained in both competitions for the team. He is a victim of Ireland’s depth in the position, with the return of Jacob Stockdale and the form of Jordan Larmour, although Hugo Keenan is the clear front-runner for the role. Scarlets and Wales outside back Johnny McNicholl is another who could feel unlucky to miss out.
14 Jack Nowell (England): A regular under Eddie Jones, Nowell was a surprising exclusion from Steve Borthwick, who has included uncapped wingers Ollie Hassell-Collins and Cadan Murley. Other notable exclusions across the squads are France speedster Teddy Thomas and Ireland winger Robert Baloucoune.
13 Jonathan Davies (Wales): Davies fell out of favour with Wayne Pivac, and Warren Gatland looks to be testing the younger options. At 34, Davies is in the twilight of his career, and who knows, Gatland might turn to the veteran if injuries strike later in the year. He has been in solid form for the Scarlets and is still a sound defender. Kieran Crowley notably left out Italy centres Federico Mori and Marco Zanon.
12 Ollie Lawrence (England): The former Worcester Warriors centre has been in stellar form since joining Bath. The 23-year-old is another who is challenging for a hotly contested position, and with Joe Marchant’s ability to cover wing playing in his favour, Lawrence missed out. He must be close to a recall, though. Over in Ireland, James Hume is a surprising omission considering Robbie Henshaw’s injury, but Ulster’s form has not helped his cause.
11 Jonny May (England): Another English winger as Borthwick made the brave call to drop two established Test speedsters in his squad. Fabien Galthie has also opted for youth, calling up uncapped Bordeaux teen Louis Bielle-Biarrey and Lyon star Ethan Dumortier over the imposing figure of Alivereti Raka, while Gabin Villiere is still not fully fit.
10 Joey Carbery (Ireland): Arguably the most shocking omission across the board, Carbery has been a mainstay in the Ireland squad under Joe Schmidt and Andy Farrell and has long been touted as Johnny Sexton’s successor. Farrell, however, has gone in another direction, rewarding Ross Byrne for his form with Leinster, along with Carbery’s clubmate Jack Crowley. Is this a move to light a fire in Carbery, or is Farrell moving in a new direction? Wales duo Jarrod Evans and Sam Costelow were the other two notable omissions from the squads.
9 Ben Vellacott (Scotland): A tough pill to swallow for Vellacott, who missed out on Gregor Townsend’s squad, with Ben White and George Horne seen as the preferred cover for Ali Price. As for France, Baptiste Serin is still on the outside of the French squad despite the injuries to Maxime Lucu and Baptiste Couilloud.
8 Billy Vunipola (England): Vunipola fell out of favour with Jones after the World Cup, fought his way back into the squad, and Jones’ departure has resulted in another snub for the veteran number eight. Ospreys back-rower Morgan Morris is unlucky to miss out on Gatland’s squad.
7 Magnus Bradbury (Scotland): Bristol Bears’ indifferent form probably contributed to Bradbury’s snub, with Jack Dempsey, Andy Christie and Matt Fagerson getting the nod instead. The 27-year-old is versatile across the back-row, and his athleticism and work rate are assets to any side.
6 Ross Moriarty (Wales): Moriarty was a surprising snub from Gatland’s squad, as the 28-year-old was a regular during his first tenure as Wales head coach. He has been in excellent form for the Dragons but has recently been guilty of seeing the red mist too often. Another player the Wales boss could easily turn to in the case of injuries. Meanwhile, Ted Hill was unfortunate not to earn an England recall.
5 Kieran Treadwell (Ireland): Another to have paid the price for Ulster’s poor form. Treadwell came off the bench in Ireland’s wins over New Zealand and South Africa last year and has often impressed in a green shirt, but his provincial performances was not deemed good enough for the head coach.
4 David Ribbans (England): One of the shining lights in England’s Autumn Nations Series campaign, Ribbans’ breakthrough in the squad last November did not convince Borthwick enough to retain him in the squad, but he can’t be too far off. Also, for Ireland, Jean Kleyn continues to churn out brutally effective performances for Munster and still gets overlooked.
3 Demba Bamba (France): Injuries have hampered Bamba’s development, limiting him to just three appearances for Lyon this season. His lack of game time was deemed too much of a risk for Galthie, with Dorian Aldegheri also missing out on the French Six Nations squad.
2 Camille Chat (France): Burly hooker Chat has fallen to the same fate as Serin, as he cannot force his way back into the squad despite the injury to Peato Mauvaka. His former understudy at Racing 92, Teddy Baubigny, has been called up instead.
1 Nicky Smith (Wales): Smith is a strong contender for the biggest omission from the Wales squad. Ospreys’ scrum has been outstanding all season, and Smith has been at the forefront of their dominance, producing a fantastic performance against Leinster. English duo Val Rapava-Ruskin and Joe Marler are other notable absentees.
READ MORE: Winners and losers from Andy Farrell’s Six Nations squad
The article Six Nations: A XV of star-studded players who have not been selected for the tournament appeared first on Planetrugby.com.