Top 5 Uncapped Rugby Players
When you look around in the world of Rugby, there are now so many players that have been recognised at the international level that sometimes it’s easy to forget that some truly world class players have never represented a country at the international stage. Whilst it is hugely disappointing that we haven’t seen these players run out for their country’s (yet?), we can still appreciate them.
Please bear in mind that Caps for teams such as the Maori All Blacks and England Saxons still make players eligible for this list.
5: Ihaia West (Auckland Blues)
If the name sounds familiar then it should do to everyone who watched the Lions tour. He was the electric Fly-half who blitzed the Lions defence with only a handful of minutes left on the clock and ended up handing the Lions their first defeat of the tour. At the age of 25 now, and with much younger 10’s getting the nod in Steve Hansen’s All Black setup, it would take a crisis like the fly-half catastrophe during the 2011 World Cup for West to get the call up to the All Blacks. Whilst this may sound cruel, and many would like to see him in Black, it’s the harsh reality about New Zealand rugby.
4: Seán O’Brien (Connacht)
Not to be confused with Leinster’s Tullow Tank, the man from Connacht seems an unlikely choice for this list. However, with such fierce competition in Ireland’s back row at the moment with the like of the other Seán O’Brien, Peter O’Mahony, CJ Stander, Jack Conan, Jack O’Donoghue, Tommy O’Donnell and Dan Leavy, it seems unlikely that the 22 year old will get many, if any caps in the years to come. This is a huge disappointment seeing as many tip him as a potential replacement to John Muldoon when he hangs up his boots. Go back 10, even 5 years, someone with O’Brien’s talent would have easily been drafted into the Ireland setup. But with so much talent, it seems like a pipe dream. So, whilst he may not end up being Ireland’s primary choice, if a choice at all, we will hopefully see him turn into Connacht’s go-to-man in the future.
3: Dan Robson (Wasps)
Quite frankly, if he hadn’t of gained 1 cap in the 2011 World Cup, Joe Simpson would have easily taken this spot for Wasps. However, Dan Robson has found himself on this list despite playing for one of the best teams in European rugby at the moment. Robson, who plays in a very similar style to Simpson, was called into the England squad ahead of the 2016 Autumn Internationals, but still hasn’t appeared at the test level. Despite being a solid distributer of the ball and a darting Scrum-half, Eddie Jones still hasn’t given this particular 9 the International appearance he arguably deserves.
2: Callum Gibbins (Glasgow Warriors)
From a Northern Hemisphere perspective, we first saw what this man is capable of from the Hurricanes v Lions game in the Summer. Since then, the 29 year old has joined the Glasgow Warriors and with new 5 year residency laws, it seems unlikely that he will be called up to Scotland’s ranks in the future. When you have to contend with the likes of Richie McCaw (before he retired), Kieran Read, Jerome Kaino and Sam Cane to name a few in the All Blacks ranks, it would have taken some doing for Gibbins to be called up to the All Blacks squad. This isn’t to say he’s a bad or average player, in fact, having watched most of Glasgow’s games this season, he’s been on fire. However, the fact is, with so much talent in New Zealand, it was also going to be hard for him to find a place in the coveted Black jersey.
1: Jimmy Gopperth (Wasps)
Let’s be honest, who else was going to take the top spot on this list? The man has made such an impact for Newcastle, Leinster and most recently Wasps, that it’s astonishing that someone hasn’t given him a test cap just for being such an ambassador to Rugby. Having scored 1600+ points since coming to the Northern hemisphere, this prolific goal scorer truly is a force to be reckoned with on the field. His passion and pride on the field is something all players young and old should take note of. During the 2016/17 season, he was award the Premiership, Players’ and Wasps’ player of the year awards as well as Try of the Season which just goes to show his love of the sport and talent in the game. The world of Rugby will certainly miss one of its most underappreciated stars when he hangs up his boots.