Qualifying Times

For some time there has been controversy about how players born in one country can turn out in the colours of another.

The qualifying rules allow you to go on a very long holiday, check whether the mum of your great great great grandparents got up the duff somewhere foreign or being able to get reasonably close to finding an ethnic restaurant on a map whilst blindfolded. Obviously I made the last one up, but you can see just how easy it is to put yourself up for adoption.


World Rugby (née IRB) are supposedly looking at extending the residency beyond taking a 3 week all- inclusive vacation but don’t hold your breath (unless that is, they add that to the ways you can switch allegiance, of course).

A lot of people have often attacked the All Blacks for grabbing players from the Pacific islands to bolster their playing strength. However, it is worth taking a look at the actual facts –



The truth is that of the 1,133 men to have worn the black jersey – just 32 were born in the Pacific Islands – I’m betting that not many would have been even close to getting that figure right.


Obviously many All Blacks have Island heritage but were actually born in New Zealand. They have more right to an international jersey than blokes who move abroad for a bit.

The All Blacks have capped only a further 42 players born elsewhere, including John Gallagher – who was born in London and played for Askeans before heading to the Southern Hemisphere.


John is fourth from the left – the other Askeans are Jibbsy, Ivan and Steve

The  article in the link from the NZ Herald also lists all the All Blacks and where they were born.

I didn’t set out to defend the All Blacks but was interested when I saw just how the myth of them nicking players was complete rubbish.

I also found this very interesting recent blog post –


It was put together by an ex pat living in Auckland and has some good stuff posted (http://expatdadsg.com/about/)


He has put together a chart showing all the World Cup squads for 2015 who include players born somewhere else –


 Born: Home Abroad
Argentina 31 0
Georgia 31 0
Uruguay 30 1
South Africa 30 1
Namibia 29 2
England 28 3
Fiji 28 3
Romania 27 4
New Zealand 26 5
Ireland 26 5
Canada 26 5
Australia 22 9
Italy 22 9
USA 21 10
France 21 10
Wales 20 11
Japan 20 11
Scotland 20 11
Tonga 19 12
Samoa 18 13
Total 495 125
Average 24.75 6.25

It must have taken some time to put this together and it makes interesting and somewhat surprising reading.

He has analysed the data too and it is worth taking a look. I won’t plagiarise his findings – he deserves the traffic to his site – you won’t be disappointed. He also takes time to explain anomalies like the figures for Samoa and Tonga.

There is even a chart showing which countries have supplied the most players for others – topped by New Zealand with almost 40% of the total.

His work might be helpful for World Rugby when they eventually get round to looking at the rules again – and just how many at this year’s World Cup weren’t born in the countries they represent

rugby world cup group stages image


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