While they missed out on making the All Blacks Rugby World Cup squad, Owen Franks and Ngani Laumape have been 'selected' for another world-class team.
Labelled desperately unlucky to miss the World Cup in Japan, 108-test veteran Franks and Laumape were named in Fox Sports Lab's 'Snub XV' – a 23-man strong fictional team deemed "good enough to beat most sides in the world".
Franks came in at number three on Fox Sports Lab's countdown with Laumape at 12 with Liam Squire also named in the squad - although it was noted he had initially made himself unavailable.
Nathan Harris, Vaea Fifita and Karl Tu'inukuafe were named in the reserves of the Snub VX line up.
World rugby reacted with disbelief at the shock at the omission of Franks from the 31-man side while Laumape's exclusion caused arguably the biggest stir online.
But speaking to media after Steve Hansen named his World Cup side, Franks expressed no bitterness.
"I'm disappointed," Franks told MediaWorks last month. "But I'm well aware as a professional athlete, and especially an All Black, that your time in the jersey isn't owed.
"I really can't sit here and complain. I've been to two World Cups and been lucky enough to win two medals."
In contrast, Laumape has remained fairly tight-lipped on his exclusion, opening up briefly for the first time on Instagram last week.
Posting a photo following his Mitre 10 Cup match, Laumape wrote: "While they sit around and criticise I'm gna [sic] let my actions speak for me. Have blessed Friday".
Meanwhile, the All Blacks have endured their first training session following an extraordinary welcome by fans in Japan.
They play their first pool match against South Africa next Saturday.
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