Rugby World Cup 2019: Mapping England’s finalists

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England have seen off all-comers so far and have been training hard for the final against South Africa

The hopes of a nation will be decided on Saturday as England take on South Africa in the Rugby World Cup final.

But what is the background of the players in the so-far successful squad?

Facing the Springboks in Yokohama is a squad mostly born in the south but which includes players from five other nations.

England’s number eight, Billy Vunipola, and his brother, Mako, were born in New Zealand and Australia respectively. They first moved to the UK in 1998 when their father, Fe’ao, played for Pontypool in Wales. They later moved to England.

Joe Cokanasiga was born in Fiji and moved to England when he was three, while his father served in the British Army.

Other players with overseas birthplaces include Sam Underhill, who was born in Ohio in the USA, Willi Heinz, who is from New Zealand, and Manu Tuilagi, who was born in Samoa and came to England as a child to be with his older brothers who were Samoa internationals playing for club sides in the UK.

To qualify to play in the England squad, team members must have been born in or have a parent or grandparent who was born in the country. They would also qualify if they have lived in England for at least three consecutive years.

Overall, 16 of the English-born team members were from either the South East, South West or London, with the remaining nine from the Midlands, North West or east of England.

Yorkshire and the Humber, the West Midlands and the North East were the only unrepresented regions.

John Williams, Associate

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