Two-time World Rugby player of the year Beauden Barrett stands as the frontrunner after the first round of voting in the Straight 8 Fan Vote to decide the best flyhalf on the planet.
Punters worldwide have hit the polls on RugbyPass’ Facebook and Instagram accounts as part of the initiative to decide the world’s best players in each position, as voted by the fans.
The first-five vote acts as the final instalment of the campaign, with last year’s World Cup finalists South Africa and England dominating proceedings with a total of ten players from the two countries filling 14 spots in the RugbyPass Straight 8 Fan Vote World XV.
Barrett looms as the favourite to snatch the final spot in the squad after a comprehensive showing in the opening round of the vote, with the new Blues recruit comfortably dispatching Springboks and Montpellier playmaker Handre Pollard with 69 percent of the fan’s support.
That victory has led him to a semi-final match-up against France and Toulouse youngster Romain Ntamack, who cruised through the first round with a 62 percent win over Wales and Northampton Saints pivot Dan Biggar.
On the other side of the draw, All Blacks and Crusaders star Richie Mo’unga beat England and Leicester Tigers veteran George Ford the the backing of 63 percent of punters.
That’s pitted him against electric Scotland and Racing 92 first-five Finn Russell, who won 60 percent of the vote to knock out 2018 World Rugby player of the year Johnny Sexton.
The second round of voting is edging to a close, with Russell holding a slender lead over Mo’unga, while Barrett is dominating Ntamack with just a matter of hours remaining.
RugbyPass Straight 8 Fan Vote World XV
1. Mako Vunipola (England/Saracens)
2. Malcolm Marx (South Africa/NTT Communications Shining Arcs)
3. Tadhg Furlong (Ireland/Leinster)
4. Maro Itoje (England/Saracens)
5. Eben Etzebeth (South Africa/Toulon)
6. Pieter-Steph du Toit (South Africa/Stormers)
7. Ardie Savea (New Zealand/Hurricanes)
8. Duane Vermeulen (South Africa/Kubota Spears)
9. Faf de Klerk (South Africa/Sale Sharks)
11. Semi Radradra (Fiji/Bordeaux)
12. Owen Farrell (England/Saracens)
13. Manu Tuilagi (England/Leicester Tigers)
14. Cheslin Kolbe (South Africa/Toulouse)
15. Stuart Hogg (Scotland/Exeter Chiefs)
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now