Four of rugby’s biggest names have failed to make it to the final round of a global fan-voted campaign to determine the best flanker on the planet.
Punters worldwide have hit the polls on RugbyPass’ Facebook and Instagram accounts as part of the Straight 8 Fan Vote campaign to decide the planet’s best players in each position, as voted by the fans.
In the first instalment of the series, England’s Maro Itoje was crowned the best lock in the world by fans across the globe, leaving the likes of Eben Etzebeth, Brodie Retallick and Alun Wyn Jones in his wake en route to the title.
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There have been plenty more heavy casualties in the flanker vote over the past 48 hours as tireless All Blacks star Ardie Savea and reigning World Rugby player of the year Pieter-Steph du Toit duke it out in the final round of voting.
In order to make the final, both Savea and du Toit had to fight off the challenges of a raft of world-class flankers who many will feel have been hard done to have not made the last round.
In the first round of the knockout bracket, du Toit was paired up with towering France loose forward Charles Ollivon, who proved to be no match for the bruising Springboks blindside after picking up just under 18 percent of the vote.
Savea, meanwhile, was matched with Wales veteran Justin Tipuric, but the British and Irish Lions representative suffered the same fate as Ollivon, as he attained only 23.5 percent of the fans’ approval.
That allowed Savea to progress to the semi-final stage of the vote, where he was pitted against inspirational World Cup-winning Springboks captain Siya Kolisi, who had previously defeated exciting English prospect Sam Underhill with just 0.1 percent to spare.
The monumental semi-final clash fell in the favour of the 44-test All Black, whose explosive ball-running ability and athleticism earned him 61 percent of the overall votes.
On the other side of the draw, du Toit was met with Underhill’s partner in crime, Tom Curry.
The other half of the ‘Kamikaze Kids’ is a highly-rated talent around the world, but the 21-year-old couldn’t overcome the threat posed by the 55-cap Springbok, who ended up almost 57 percent of the votes.
It leaves Savea and du Toit in what is already a tightly-contested match-up in the final round, with the former leading the voting by just one percent on the Instagram polls at the time of writing.
However, with about 16 hours left on the live voting, there remains plenty of time for the fans to determine who will be crowned the world’s best flanker.
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