ENGLISH newspaper The Telegraph has compiled a list of the top 100 rugby union players in the world, but only nine Irishmen have made the grade.
Jonathan Sexton is the only member of Joe Schmidt’s back-to-back Six Nations winning side to feature in the top 10, while Ireland captain Paul O’Connell is as far down as number 17.
New Zealand captain Richie McCaw is selected as the undisputed number one player in the world, but the lack of Irish players in the list has left a bitter taste in the mouths of many fans.
Even those who did make the cut, as listed below, were ranked fairly lowly, with Peter O’Mahony next in line after O’Connell way down in 34th spot.
Peter O'Mahony (34)
Rob Kearney (36)
Conor Murray (39)
Cian Healy (43)
Tommy Bowe (48)
Jamie Heaslip (55)
Sean O'Brien (63)
That said, there are no English players in their top ten, as New Zealand make up six of the top 10 spots in The Telegraph’s list.
The All Blacks are favourites to defend the World Cup, which begins on Friday, with Ireland given a 9/1 chance of lifting the Webb Ellis Cup for the first time.