The Six Nations round one unavailable XV

The Six Nations round one unavailable XV


As the first Six Nations campaign of the new World Cup cycle draws nearer, the respective international coaches will be praying their major stars are available for what promises to be a closely contested tournament.

Each nation, however, is already facing selection issues and few will be able to field their strongest sides on the opening weekend.

Joe Santamaria names a starting XV made up of players from across the Six Nations who won’t be available for the opening round, and in some cases more, of the tournament for a variety of reasons…

Antoine Dupont, already seen as an all-time great of the game aged only 27, is arguably the biggest absentee from this year’s Six Nations as he turns his attention to sevens ahead of the summer Olympics (Picture: Getty Images)

1. Dave Kilcoyne (Ireland)

The industrious Munster stalwart is one of several looseheads who will miss the entire tournament after a shoulder operation. Kilcoyne has proven to be extremely reliable when called upon by Ireland who will lament his absence as the tournament progresses and they look to rest the likes of Andrew Porter.

2. Dewi Lake (Wales)

The abrasive Osprey would surely have been a candidate for the captaincy if fit and Wales will likely miss his experience during the tournament, especially given the paucity of seasoned international front rowers at Gatland’s disposal. 

3. Javan Sebastian (Scotland)

Scotland coaches and fans alike will have winced when they learned of Sebastian’s injury, which threatens to expose their lack of depth in this most crucial position yet again. They can ill afford another tighthead to pull out. 

4. Edwin Edogbo (Ireland)

The third and final Munsterman in this team was gathering some real momentum in the opening months of the season before seriously injuring his Achilles against Leinster. He is young enough to force himself back into Andy Farrell’s plans when he recovers.

5. Dino Lamb (Italy)

It has been a brutal few weeks for the Harlequins lock, who was knocked unconscious against Toulouse before injuring his shoulder against Gloucester. Italian fans will hope he is able to feature later in the tournament.

6. Tom Curry (England)

Sale Sharks’ talisman has been ruled out for the tournament and will be devastated, having no doubt wished to put a frustrating World Cup in his rearview mirror. Borthwick will also rue the absence of one of his most trusted players.

7. Rory Darge (Scotland)

The latest in a series of world-class Scottish flankers looks unlikely to feature in their opening match against Wales due to a knee injury. Scotland’s prospects of winning in a stadium where they have historically struggled look bleaker in his absence.

8. Jac Morgan (Wales)

The Osprey’s serious injury will have devastated Welsh fans who rightly regard him as one of the best back row forwards in the game. Wales’ ability to cope with his absence will likely define their tournament.

Jac Morgan had a superb World Cup for Wales, leading his nation to top their pool for only the second time this century (Picture: Getty Images)

9. Antoine Dupont (France)

The man widely regarded as the best rugby player on the planet needs no introduction. While his participation in the tournament will be missed, he should be praised for challenging himself in a new and unfamiliar environment as he pursues Olympic glory. 

10. Owen Farrell (England)

After his move to Racing, there is every chance Owen Farrell has already played his final game for England. Whether or not that is the case, one hopes his absence from this tournament will encourage those who have unfairly criticised him to reflect upon how much worse off England would have been without him this past decade.

11. Mack Hansen (Ireland)

Ireland and Connacht’s cult hero will miss the entire tournament after having an operation on his shoulder. One suspects the Irish will miss his presence during the week almost as much as they will on matchdays.

12. Joe Hawkins (Wales)

One of the victims of Wales’ selection rules, Hawkins would surely be a starter for Gatland’s side were he to have the required twenty-five caps. Expect his name to be mentioned an awful lot if Wales struggle. 

13. Joe Marchant (England)

The ex-Harlequin has left for France just as he was beginning to get the international recognition he has long deserved. If England continue to look turgid in attack, their fans may begin to look longingly across the channel. 

14. Henry Arundell (England)

Aside from Farrell and Dupont, who are established international stars, no player’s unavailability has commanded more attention than that of Arundell. There is good reason for this, as the flying winger always seems to find the try line while England so often struggle to do so.

15. Ollie Smith (Scotland)

The Glasgow fullback’s knee injury could see him miss up to a year of rugby and will cause Townsend real concern as he looks for ways to transform Scotland into a genuinely world-class side over the coming months.

Dave Kilcoyne (Ireland)

Dewi Lake (Wales)

Javan Sebastian (Scotland)

Edwin Edogbo (Ireland)

Dino Lamb (Italy)

Tom Curry (England)

Rory Darge (Scotland)

Jac Morgan (Wales)

Antoine Dupont (France)

Owen Farrell (England)

Mack Hansen (Ireland)

Joe Hawkins (Wales)

Joe Marchant (England)

Henry Arundell (England)

Ollie Smith (Scotland)

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