Four of the world’s leading halfbacks will go head-to-head in the semi-finals of the Straight 8 Fan Vote to decide the best scrumhalf 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.
Just two of the campaign remain, with last year’s World Cup finalists South Africa and England dominating proceedings with a total of nine players from the two countries filling 13 spots in the RugbyPass Straight 8 Fan Vote World XV.
The 14th and penultimate place in the squad is set to be determined in little more than 24 hours, as four of the best No. 9s on the planet battle it out to book their ticket in the final round of the knockout bracket.
Headlining the quarter is World Cup-winning Springboks and Sale Sharks star Faf de Klerk, who progressed to the semi-finals of the vote by annihilating England and Leicester Tigers veteran Ben Youngs after attaining more than 86 percent of the vote.
That victory has pitted him against Ireland and Munster halfback Conor Murray, who advanced into the final four after dispatching Wales and Scarlets scrumhalf Gareth Davies with over 64 percent of the pubic’s backing.
On the other side of the draw, All Blacks and Highlanders star Aaron Smith made light work of Japan and Suntory Sungoliath ace Yutaka Nagare with a whopping 89 percent of the fans’ approval.
The 31-year-old is currently clashing against promising France and Toulouse youngster Antoine Dupont, who did enough to progress past All Blacks and Hurricanes try-scoring machine TJ Perenara with 60 percent of the vote.
The second round of voting is edging to a close, with Dupont holding a slender lead over Smith, while De Klerk is dominating Murray 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)
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)
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