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Leavers XV: Gone, but not forgotten

They all came in hope of achievement, some of winning the Webb Ellis Cup, some of winning just one match.

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Then after 40 matches 12 went home, because they had not qualified for the quarterfinals – Canada, England, Fiji, Georgia, Italy, Japan, Namibia, Romania, Samoa, Tonga, Uruguay and the United States.

Of them England and Italy play in the Six Nations.

The other eight are to play on in quarterfinals, then possible semifinals and then hopefully the Final.

They are Argentina, Australia, France, Ireland, New Zealand, Scotland, South Africa and Wales.

The departing dozen have to accept fait accompli.

In Japan's case that will be easy to do; in fact they will go home in triumph, bearing three scalps – including that of South Africa.

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Others will have the satisfaction of knowing they will not have to go through a qualifying process for 2019 – England, Georgia, Italy and Japan.

In those departing teams there were outstanding players and it is easy to give into the temptation of selecting a team.

Selecting a team is the best way to provoke an argument.

This will provoke an argument, but the sole selector has the qualification of having watched all 40 matches through the pools.

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This is what he has chosen!

15 Ayumu Goromaru (Japan):

At this World Cup it has often been the fullback who has set the spark for his team, making it difficult to choose but he scored tries, helped to make tries, counterattacked and kicked goals with his praying mantis style.

Bubbling Under: Mike Brown (England)

14 Anthony Watson (England):

His speed, zest and determination made him stand out.

Bubbling Under: Leonardo Sarto (Italy)

13 Vereniki Goneva (Fiji):Leavers XV: Gone, but not forgotten

He is an active outside centre. He runs with speed and skill, he gives his wings a chance to play and he defends.

Bubbling Under: Michele Campagnaro (Italy)

12 Rey Lee-Lo (Samoa):

His ability to play and let play is exceptional.

Bubbling Under: Latiume Fosita (Tonga)

11 DTH van der Merwe (Canada):

Fast, determined, strong and a great finisher – one of the stars of the World Cup

Bubbling Under: Fetu'u Vainikolo (Tonga)

10 Tommaso Allan (Italy):

Young, skilled, creative, speedy and a good goal-kicker.

Bubbling Under: Owen Farrell (England)

9 Eduardo Gori (Italy):

As lively, creative, brave and skilled as a scrumhalf should be.

Bubbling Under: Agustín Ormaechea (Georgia)

8 Mamuka Gorgodze (Georgia):

His team's man-mountain who played with strength and skill for every second he was on the field – a team man par excellence.

Bubbling Under: Ryu Holani (Japan)

7 Tinus du Plessis (Namibia):

A flank fast and brave, a fetcher of determination.

Bubbling Under: Nili Latu (Tonga)

6 Juan Manuel Gaminara (Uruguay):

An all-action flank, not big but making up for his size with his energy.

Bubbling Under: Michael Leitch (Japan)

5 Matthew Trouville (United States):

Excellent in line-outs and useful in general play.

Bubbling Under: Jamie Cudmore (Canada)

4 Joe Launchbury (England):

Big, skilled and determined

Bubbling Under: Luke Thompson (Japan)

3 Dan Cole (England):

Strong and surprisingly mobile, making a great contribution to his team.

Bubbling Under: Davit Zirakashvili (Georgia)

2 Tom Youngs (England):

A zestful, accurate hooker who is lively in the loose.

Bubbling Under: Shota Horei (Japan)

1 Soane Tonga'uiha (Tonga):

When Tonga played the All Blacks, they won the scrums and the Tongan loosehead played a strong role in the scrums and in other close-quarters play.

Bubbling Under: Mikheil Nariashvili (Georgia)

By Paul Dobson

@rugby365com

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