Born in one country, playing for another
We looked – as much as we could – at the countries of birth of the 276 players to determine those playing for countries in which they were not born.
This came about because that old canard was trotted out again – the suggestion that New Zealand ransacked the islands, especially Samoa.
We did a bit of scouting around and found that one All Blacks was born in Samoa but 11 Samoan players were born in New Zealand.
We found that Scotland was the team with most players not born in the country for which they played – a dozen of them. The Pumas are all born in Argentina.
We are well aware that it is not always the whole story. Stephen Moore was born in Saudi Arabia to Irish parents. Sergio Parisse was born in Plata in Argentina because his dad, employed by Alitalia, was based there for a few years. Joey Carbery's mother is Irish and they moved from Auckland to Athy when he was 11.
Of the "foreign" New Zealanders, Nepo Laulala went with his large family to New Zealand when he was 14, and Aisake Naholo and Ofa Tu'ungafasi went to school in New Zealand.
Some indeed migrated young, others as established players looking for a better opportunity to experience international rugby.
New Zealand are the biggest exporters of rugby players in this sample, followed by England and then South Africa and Fiji.
This is all just a matter of some interest, no more.
The 12 Countries in Descending Order of Magnitude
Scotland 12: Tommy Seymour – USA, Ali Price – England, Ryan Wilson – England, Hamish Watson – England, John Barclay – Hong Kong, Ben Toolis – Australia, WP Nel – South Africa, Darryl Marfo – England, Tim Swinson – England, Cornel du Preez – South Africa, Henry Pyrgos – England, Chris Harris – England
Samoa 11: Kieron Fonotia – New Zealand, Tim Nanai Williams – New Zealand, Pele Cowley – New Zealand, Jack Lam – New Zealand, Piula Fa'Asalele – New Zealand, Chris Vui (captain) – New Zealand, Josh Tyrell – New Zealand, Donald Brighouse – New Zealand, Manu Leiataua – New Zealand, Motu Matu'u – New Zealand, Fa'atiga Lemalu – New Zealand
Australia 7: Marika Koroibete – Fiji, Tevita Kuridrani – Fiji, Samu Kerevi – Fiji, Will Genia – Papua New Guinea, Stephen Moore – Saudi Arabia, Karmichael Hunt – New Zealand, Henry Speight – Fiji
Wales 6: Jonathan Davies – England, Taulupe Faletau – Tonga, Aaron Shingler – England Jake Ball – England, Tomas Francis – England, Hallam Amos – England
Italy 6: Jayden Hayward – New Zealand, Sergio Parisse (captain) – Argentina, Abraham Steyn – South Africa, Dean Budd – New Zealand, Dario Chistolini – South Africa, Ian McKinley – Ireland
Ireland 5: Bundee Aki – New Zealand, CJ Stander – South Africa, Rob Herring – South Africa, Kieran Marmion – England, Joey Carbery – New Zealand
England 5: Nathan Hughes – Fiji, Sam Underhill – USA, Dylan Hartley – New Zealand, Mako Vunipola – New Zealand, Semesa Rokoduguni – Fiji
New Zealand 4: Aisake Naholo – Fiji, Vaea Fifita – Tonga, Nepo Laulala – Samoa, Ofa Tu'ungafasi – Tonga
Fiji, 2: Ben Volavola – Australia, Campese Ma'afu – Australia
France 2: Sébastien Vahaamahina – New Caledonia, Daniel Kotze – South Africa
South Africa 1: Tendai Mtawarira – Zimbabwe