With just 3 days to go before the most anticipated 6 Nations for some time there is a catalogue of top players who will not be going out on the field – at least in week 1.
The Vunipolas, Chris Robshaw, Antony Watson and possibly George Kruis for England,
Ireland have lost Jonny Sexton, Sean Cronin and Peter O’Mahony,
While France will miss Wesley Fofana and Francois Trinh-Duc.
WP Nel is having neck surgery and Alasdair Dickinson and Peter Horne are also missing.
Wales are without Luke Charteris, Dan Lydiate and Taulupe Faletau.
Italy are without Dries van Schalwyk and must at least be glad that talisman Sergio Parisse is fit.
I’ve almost certainly forgotten some who won’t be fit for the first weekend.
To be fair none of the coaches, as far as I am aware, have been moaning or getting their excuses in first – Eddie Jones has been positive in saying that the injuries give others opportunities and that in a World Cup you need strength in depth if you are going to have a chance of winning. Remember it was the fifth choice stand-off who kicked the winning points for the All Blacks in the 2011 WC.
You could make a very handy team out of the players who are out this weekend – let’s hope that most, if not all, are back before the tournament ends – especially the English ones, obviously!