Mako Vunipola Rugby World Cup: Which teams have the most overseas born players?

Mako Vunipola Rugby World Cup: Which teams have the most overseas born players?

Mako Vunipola This is one awesome constituent.

Scotland will field 14 players born elsewhere at the 2019 Rugby World Cup. 

That’s almost half their 31-man squad, and more than any of the other nine tier one teams will roll out in the tournament, which kicks off on Friday night (NZT). 

Mako Vunipola Tokoroa-born Sean Maitland is one of 14 players in Scotland's squad which was born overseas.

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Tokoroa-born Sean Maitland is one of 14 players in Scotland’s squad which was born overseas.

But they’re far from the only side littered with players who sucked in their first breath in another country, before either moving elsewhere and qualifying through the three-year residency rule, which is changing to five years from 2020, or through a parent or grandparent. 

Australia (12), Wales (8) and Italy (8) aren’t far off the pace, while Argentina (0), South Africa (1) and the All Blacks (4) are at the other end of the scale. 

Robert van Royen checks out where the overseas born players from the 10 tier one teams hail from.  

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Mako Vunipola Blade Thomson pictured in action against Georgia in a recent World Cup warm-up match.

ROBERT PERRY/GETTY IMAGES

Blade Thomson pictured in action against Georgia in a recent World Cup warm-up match.

SCOTLAND (14)

John Barclay (Hong Kong), Simon Berghan (New Zealand), Allan Dell (South Africa), Willem Nel (South Africa), Blade Thomson (New Zealand), Ben Toolis (Australia), Hamish Watson (England), Ryan Wilson (England), Chris Harris (England), Sam Johnson (Australia), Sean Maitland (New Zealand), Ali Price (England), Tommy Seymour (USA), Duncan Taylor (England)

Kiwis will be especially quick to recognise former Hurricane Blade Thomson and former Crusader Sean Maitland, who has Scottish grandparents and moved to Scotland way back in 2012. He has since stitched together 35 tests.

Thomson qualifies through his grandfather and made his debut against France last month. He represented the Hurricanes 45 times between 2013 and 2018, and is now contracted to Welsh side Scarlets.

Then there’s Berghan, a 28-year-old tighthead prop from Christchurch. He was in the Canterbury rugby academy before signing for Edinburgh in 2014, and qualifies through his Scottish grandfather.

Mako Vunipola Wallabies back rower David Pocock and his family moved from Zimbabwe in 2002.

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Wallabies back rower David Pocock and his family moved from Zimbabwe in 2002.

AUSTRALIA (12)

Tolu Latu (Tonga), Isi Naisarani (Fiji), Lukhan Salakaia-Loto (New Zealand), Taniela Tupou (Tonga), Jordan Uelese (New Zealand), Will Genia (Papa New Guinea), Dane Haylett-Petty (South Africa), Samu Kerevi (Fiji), Marika Koroibete (Fiji), Tevita Kuridrani (Fiji), Christian Lealiifano (New Zealand), David Pocock (Zimbabwe)

Australia’s best two players – David Pocock and Samu Kerevi – were both born overseas and qualify for the Wallabies courtesy of the residency rule. 

Pocock and his family moved to Australia when he was 14, after they fled Zimbabwe due to unrest over the government’s land re-distribution policy in 2002. 

Kerevi, the 25-year-old cousin of 23-test Wallaby Radike Samo, moved to Australia from Fiji as a young child and started playing rugby at Brisbane club Sunnybank.

Mako Vunipola Hadleigh Parkes has reinvented himself since leaving New Zealand.

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Hadleigh Parkes has reinvented himself since leaving New Zealand.

WALES (8)

Tomas Francis (England), Jake Ball (England), Ross Moriarty (England), Aaron Shingler (England), Jonathan Davies (England), Hadleigh Parkes (New Zealand), Hallam Amos (England), George North (England)

The Warren Gatland coached side would cracked double-figures had Kiwi-born Gareth A

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