Top 20 best rugby players list features no England players, two All Blacks and three Springboks

 Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

No England players have been selected in a top 20 list of the world’s best rugby players ahead of the Rugby World Cup.

The list, compiled by British newspaper The Telegraph, has snubbed Steve Borthwick’s charges in their top 20, with France and Ireland players dominating the best of the best.

Only two All Blacks

For possibly the first time ever, New Zealand don’t head into the Rugby World Cup as favourites to lift the Webb Ellis Cup, and that is reflected in the Telegraph’s picks.

Sensational outside back Will Jordan just cracks the top 20, taking the 20th place on the list. His teammate, Ardie Savea, is the only other member of Ian Foster’s squad that makes the list, as he comes in at number three.

One tier two player also makes the final cut, with Fiji’s outstanding centre-come-back-rower Levani Botia ranking 15th. He is the only Fiji star to make the list and one of three tier two players to make the top 50.

Australia managed to equal the All Blacks’ tally of two players in the top 20, with centre Samu Kerevi ranking 17th and his captain Will Skelton at sixth.

Defending World Cup champions South Africa have three entries, two of which are front rowers. Loosehead prop Steven Kitshoff is ranked 19th overall in the world, with hooker Malcolm Marx just ahead in 18th place.

Springboks’ lock Eben Etzebeth is the highest-ranked forward, as he ranks as the second-best player in the world.

France and Ireland dominate

Ireland head into the World Cup as the number-one ranked side and have six players in the top 20.

Captain and fly-half Johnny Sexton (14th), lock James Ryan (12th) and hooker Dan Sheehan (11th) narrowly miss out on the top ten.

Meanwhile, Hugo Keenan is the highest-ranked full-back, claiming 10th place overall; he is joined in the top 10 along with back-rower Caelan Doris (5th).

Rugby World Cup hosts France have six players in the top 20, starting with full-back Thomas Ramos in 16th place with hooker Julien Marchand in 13th.

Les Blues have four players in the top 10: winger Damian Penaud (9th), centre Jonathan Danty (8th) and number Gregory Alldritt in fourth. The Telegraph also picked France captain and scrum-half Antoine Dupont as the best player in the world.

Telegraph’s top 20 best players in the world

20 Will Jordan (New Zealand)
19 Steven Kitshoff (South Africa)
18 Malcolm Marx (South Africa)
17 Samu Kerevi (Australia)
16 Thomas Ramos (France)
15 Levani Botia (Fiji)
14 Johnny Sexton (Ireland)
13 Julien Marchand (France)
12 James Ryan (Ireland)
11 Dan Sheehan (Ireland)
10 Hugo Keenan (Ireland)
9 Damian Penaud (France)
8 Jonathan Danty (France)
7 Tadhg Beirne (Ireland)
6 Will Skelton (Australia)
5 Caelan Doris (Ireland)
4 Gregory Alldirtt (France)
3 Ardie Savea (New Zealand)
2 Eben Etzebeth (South Africa)
1 Antoine Dupont (France)

READ MORE: Antoine Dupont ‘not worried for New Zealand’ as he targets Rugby World Cup opener

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