Obviously at Rugby World Cup 2015, the highest profile event in World Rugby, there won’t be many players that are completely unknown. Therefore; without a single warm up game being played or any coaches naming their final squads for the tournament, selecting any sort of team from the players who may feature would be lunacy, so here goes –
The Surreptitious Rugby World Cup 2015 XV
1. Keita Inagaki – the Japanese loose head is a Melbourne Rebels player and is very mobile for a man tipping the scales at over 18 stone, he may well bag a few tries in Pool B.
2. Nicholas Klappenbach – Uruguay’s Captain is a qualified doctor and while his troops may struggle as a collective he should be a stand out player, he might be wearing 2 but he plays like a 7.
3. Titi Lamositele – A former High School Football star the 20 year old from Samoan heritage is contracted with Saracens and is the youngest player to be capped by the Eagles.
4. Nico Esterhuyse – Namibia’s veteran lock forward stands 6 feet 9 inches tall, the stuff of nightmares for New Zealand, Georgia, Argentina and Tonga’s hookers who will have to avoid him at lineout time.
5. Leone Nakarawa – Everybody who’s seen Glasgow Warriors play in the last 2 seasons knows what he can do but that doesn’t make his 7’s handling any less spectacular or easy to stop, expect no look passes and confused defenders.
6. John Moonlight – the Canadian 7’s Captain has scored 3 tries in just 13 starts for the 15 a side team, expect dynamism and pace to frighten most opposing forwards.
7. Renaldo Bothma – he’s played 5 games for Namibia and scored 5 tries. The South African born Bothma has scored 22 tries in 90 games for the Steval Pumas, he could help spark some upsets.
8. Danny Barrett – He’s the USA 7’s Captain and he’s relentless, prominent in the Eagles win at World Rugby 7’s series in Twickenham this year; he’s got speed to go with the stamina.
9. Sam Hidalgo-Clyne – This one’s in more in hope than belief, he’s been the best scrum half in Scotland all year but Greig Laidlaw is the current number 9 and as skipper he’ll be hard to depose.
10. Ben Volavola – The Waratahs player might not play at 10 for Fiji but his pace, dancing feet and vision will open up space for the destructive outside backs they’ve got wherever they fit him in.
11. Zack Test – The Loughborough University student and USA 7’s specialist will be tricky for defenders to stop as he is 6 feet 3 inches tall and fast enough to have scored 108 tries in 46 7’s tournaments.
12. Kotaro Matsushima – Born in South Africa he was the first player Japanese to join the Sharks academy before moving to Suntory Goliath and then onto the Waratahs. In other words, the diminutive 22 year old has got plenty of air miles in the bank.
13. JC Greyling – Namibia’s 24 year old tackles like a 6 and runs like an 8, there’ll be a few bruised bodies in Pool C when the former Valke Currie Cup player is finished with them.
14. Tamaz Mtchedlidze – There’s nothing original about a 6 foot 5 inch , 17 stone Georgian, unless he’s playing on the wing. He plays in Pro D2 in France for SU Agen and everyone in Pool C has been warned.
15. Catalin Fercu – Romania’s Captain has been a crucial member of Saracen’s LV Cup team and their ‘A’ team Saracens Storm this season, he missed the last RWC in New Zealand because he didn’t fancy the long flight to New Zealand (yes, really) so he’s got plenty to make up for and his 143 points in 78 matches suggest he’s more than capable of doing that.
An honourable mention should go to Scottish flanker John Hardie, the 27 year old is so surreptitious that nobody in Scotland has actually seen him play regional rugby, having left the Super Rugby Champions The Highlanders to pursue his dream of playing for Scotland (no laughing at the back) and as yet the S.R.U haven’t decided whether he’ll be an Edinburgh player or a Glasgow Warrior in the coming season.