Fans worldwide have hit the polls on RugbyPass social media accounts to determine who are the best players on the planet as part of a new campaign called the Straight 8 Fan Vote.
The campaign is a fan-voted, three-round knockout tournament on RugbyPass‘ Facebook and Instagram accounts to decide who the best players on the globe are per position, which will ultimately culminate in a fan-picked World XV.
The first instalment of the series features eight of the world’s top locks, who already have gone head-to-head in the quarter-final stage of the bracket.
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The new Honda Heat recruit, who moved to Japan’s Top League after playing a key role in South Africa’s World Cup-winning campaign last year, attained just 27 percent of the votes across both Facebook and Instagram.
Itoje’s trophy-laden exploits with Saracens, England and the Lions have pitted him in a semi-final match-up with Irish powerhouse James Ryan, who dispatched New Zealand’s Scott Barrett.
The new Crusaders captain looks set to play a key role for the All Blacks once the rugby world is back up and running, but he was ousted by the 23-year-old Leinster man as he was pipped to the post with a vote tally of 44 percent.
On the other side of the draw, Kiwi star Brodie Retallick romped to a first-up win over South African counterpart Lood de Jager.
Retallick, who is on a two-year sabbatical from All Blacks and Super Rugby duties as he plies his trade for the Kobelco Steelers in Japan, accumulated a whopping 74 percent of the vote to wipe aside one of the Sale Sharks’ newest additions.
The Toulon star, who was part of the Springboks’ successful World Cup campaign, managed to claim 58 percent of the fan vote, leaving the 147-test Jones to succumb to a first round defeat.
As it stands at the time of writing, Retallick holds a slender lead over Etzebeth by just two percent in the live voting with 16 hours remaining, while Itoje holds a much more comfortable advantage over Ryan.
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