Foreign Players in 6 Nations 2021
Updated 07/21/21 to include Japan.
This player information first appeared on Ruck.co.uk, “50 players will swap countries for the 2021 Six Nations“, but is hard to read, it’s on 6 separate pages, and has no detail. So here it is all as one page.
The gray text boxes below and the player names are from the Ruck.co.uk site. The rest, I pulled from various sources, mostly wikipedia.com.
The soaring number of foreign-born players in the 2021 Six Nations is a ‘joke’, ‘dangerous’ and making the competition a ‘second tier’ of international competition, according to greats of the game.
Extensive analysis by RUCK shows almost 25 per cent of the players picked this year were born outside the country they will represent in the Championship.
This includes 11 South Africans and seven New Zealanders.
Although England have massively reduced there(sic) numbers from eight players to two, other nations have seen their number continue to climb.
Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales all see their numbers to grow in comparison to 2020 with France’s number staying the same.
According to The International Rugby Board, a foreign born player may play for a country where;
(a) he was born; or
(b) one parent or grandparent was born; or
(c) he has completed thirty six consecutive months of Residence immediately preceding the time of playing.
The most contentions of these rules is the Residency rule (c), and this can be applied in 2 ways;
- A player that has started his rugby career in country A, has then moved to country B and is allowed to play for the senior international team at country B after 3 years (as long as he meets the other criteria).
- A player that is born in country A and then moves at a young age to country B. This player is raised, educated and begins his rugby career in country B. Many players that qualify under residency rules fall under this category. Some of these players will also qualify under the grandparent/parent rule.
There are lots of other requirements, Here.
World Rugby is currently transitioning from a three year to a five-year residency rule.
The original cut off of the three year residency period was May 2017, meaning players would be capped by May 2020
However, because of the coronavirus pandemic, World Rugby have decided to delay the cut off until the end of 2021, which means players who signed in 2018 can now qualify in 2021 rather than two years later 2023.
England – 1 player (3 Year Residency = 0)
Billy Vunipola (Sydney, Australia) Vunipola was born in Sydney, Australia to Tongan parents. He moved with his family as a young child, first to Wales and then to England.
France – 3 players (3 Year Residency = 3)
Uini Atonio (Timaru, New Zealand) New Zealand-born of Samoan heritage. Moved to France in 2011. In 2014, he completed the required three years of residency to qualify for France internationally
Bernard Le Roux (Western Cape, South Africa) Moved to France in 2010 and became eligible in 2013 through residency laws.
Paul Willemse (Pretoria, South Africa) Joined French Top 14 side Grenoblen June 2014. Qualified to play for France on residency grounds in February 2019.
Ireland – 8 players (3 Year Residency = 6)
Rob Herring (Cape Town, South Africa) Moved to Ireland in 2012 to play for Ulster. Became eligible through residency laws in 2014.
Ultan Dillane (Paris, France) Born in Paris, France to an Irish mother. His father is from the Ivory Coast. At the age of seven, Dillane moved to Ireland.
Quinn Roux (Pretoria, South Africa) Moved to Ireland in 2014 to play for Connacht. Qualified for Ireland through residency, made his international debut in 2016. In 2018 he became an Irish citizen.
CJ Stander (George, South Africa) Signed with Munster in 2012. Qualified for Ireland through residency in 2015.
Jamison Gibson-Park (Great Barrier Island, New Zealand) Moved to Leinster in 2016. Jamison has played for the Māori All Blacks. He qualified for Ireland through residency in July 2020.
Billy Burns (Bath, England) Represented England for youth rugby union teams, before choosing to represent Ireland at the 2020 Six Nations Championship. Irish-qualified by virtue of his paternal grandfather.
Bundee Aki (Auckland, New Zealand) Born in New Zealand, of Samoan descent. Moved to Connacht in 2014 and qualified for Ireland in 2017 through residency .
James Lowe (Nelson, New Zealand) Moved to Leinster in 2017 and qualified for Ireland in 2020 through residency .Lowe is of Māori descent. He played for the Māori All Blacks in 2014 and 2016.
Connacht’s Jarrad Butler and Munster’s Chris Cloete, Roman Salanoa and Keynan Knox will soon be selectable
Italy – 10 players (3 Year Residency = 4)
Marco Manfredi (Freiburg, Germany) In 2017 Manfreidi was named as “Permit Player” for Zebre in Pro 14. I could not fine what constitutes a Permit Player but it appears that Manfredi became eligible under Residency rules.
Johan Meyer (Port Elizabeth, South Africa) Started with Zebre in 2015 and has represented Italy since 2018 on residency grounds.
Sebastien Negri (Marondera, Zimbabwe) He’s Italian, born in Zinbabwe to an Italian father.
David Sisi (Rinteln, Germany) Sisi is of Italian descent, and qualifies to play for Italy through his paternal grandparents. His mother is English so he was also England qualified but opted for Italy.
Cristian Stoian (Chisinau, Moldova) Born in Moldavia, Sroian moved to Italy at a young age. Eligible through residency rules.
Cherif Traorè (Kindia, Guinea) Traorè moved to Italy with his family at the age of 7. Eligible through residency rules.
Callum Braley (Bristol, England) Qualifies for Italy team through his Italian grandfather.
Ignacio Brex (Buenos Aires, Argentina) Started with Italian side Viadana in 2015 and moved to Benetton in 2017. Eligible through residency laws.
Monty Ioane (Melbourne, Australia) Joined Benetton in 2017. Eligible through residency laws.
Stephen Varney (Wales) Qualifies for Italy through his Italian mother,
Wales – 12 players (3 Year Residency = 0)
WillGriff John (Plymouth, England) Raised/grew up in Wales.
Tomas Francis, (York, England) Qualifies for Wales through his grandmother.
Will Rowlands (London, England) Eligible to play for Wales because of his Welsh-born father.
Jake Ball (Ascot, England) Eligible to play for Wales because of his Welsh-born father.
Dan Lydiate (Salford, England) Has an Welsh Mother and raised in Wales from aged 4. Eligible through residency rules.
Josh Macleod (Montecarlo, Monaco) Has lived and was educated in Wales. Has a Scottish father and English father. More here. Eligible through residency rules.
Taulupe Faletau (Tofoa, Tonga) Has lived in Wales from a young age. Eligible through residency rules.
Nick Tompkins (Sidcup, England) Qualifies for Wales through his Welsh grandmother.
Jonathan Davies (Solihull, England) Born to Welsh parents in England, Davies moved to Wales at a young age with his family.
Johnny Williams (Western-Super-Mare, England) Eligible to play for Wales because of his Welsh-born father.
Hallam Amos (Stockport, England) Has lived in Wales from a young age. Eligible through residency rules.
George North (Kings Lynn, England) His father is English and his mother is from Wales. The family moved to Wales when he was aged two.
Scotland – 15 players (3 Year Residency = 6/7)
Despite having one less foreign-born player than 2020 (16), Gregor Townsend’s roster still contains more than any other competitor in the Six Nations. Of note is that that over half of the Foreign-Born players qualify via a Grandparent. This qualification path may not survive should World Rugby adopt additional tightening of eligibility laws.
Ewan Ashman (Toronto, Canada) Eligible to play for Scotland because of his Scottish-born father.
Simon Berghan (Christchurch, New Zealand) Eligible to play for Scotland because of his Scottish-born grandfather.
Allan Dell (Humansdorp, South Africa) Eligible to play for Scotland because of his Scottish-born grandmother.
Oli Kebble (Durban, South Africa) Joined Glasgow Warriors in 2017. Eligible through residency rules.
WP Nel (Loeriesfontein, South Africa) Joined Edinburgh Rugby in 2012 and became eligible to represent Scotland in June 2015. He claimed he would decline an invitation to represent his native Springboks in order to do so.
Blade Thomson (Auckland, New Zealand) Eligible to play for Scotland because of his Scottish-born paternal grandfather.
Hamish Watson (Manchester, England) Joined Edinburgh Rugby in 2011 and first represented Scotland in 2015 through residency rules.
Ali Price (Norfolk, England) Eligible to play for Scotland through his Scottish mother.
Jaco van der Walt (Randfontein, South Africa) Has played for Edinburgh Rugby since 2017 qualifies through the three year residency rule.
Chris Harris (Carlisle, England) Plays for Gloucester Rugby and is Scottish qualified through his Edinburgh born grandmother.
James Lang (Ashford, England) I could not find his eligibility )-:
Cameron Redpath (Narbonne, France) Eligible to play for Scotland because of his Scottish-born father, an ex Scotland international himself. In 2018 Redpath was selected to play for England but was unable to play because of injury
Sean Maitland (Tokoroa, New Zealand) Qualifies for Scotland by his Scottish grandparents who emigrated to New Zealand in the 1960s.
Byron McGuigan (Walvis Bay, Namibia) Eligible through residency rules. Played for Glasgow Warriors from 2012 – 2014. First played for Scotland in 2017
Duhan van der Merwe (George, South Africa) Joined Edinburgh Rugby in 2017. Eligible through residency rules.
Japan – Current squad has 17 foreign-born players. At least 2 of these are Japanese citizens.
According to Foxsports Austrailia in 2019, “Japan are the worst offender, with 15 players in their 31-man squad having qualified on the basis of three-year residency, and 16 having been born overseas.”
Koo Ji-won (South Korean born)
Craig Millar (New Zealand born)
Uwe Helu (Tongan born) Became a Japanese citizen in 2016
James Moore (Australian born)
Wimpie van der Walt (South African born)
Jack Cornelsen (Australian born)
Ben Gunter (Born in Thailand, grew up in Australia)
Lappies Labuschagné (South African born)
Michael Leitch (New Zealand born to New Zealand father and Fijian mother) Moved to Japan at aged 15. Japanese national since 2013.
Amanaki Mafi (Tongan born)
Shane Gates (South Africa born)
Timothy Lafaele (Samoan born)
Siosaia Fifita (Tongan born)
Lomano Lemeki (New Zealand born) Japanese citizen since 2014.
Semisi Masirewa (Fijian born)
Semisi Masirewa (South Africa born) Has a Japanese mother and a Zimbabwean father. He acquired Japanese nationality when h moved to Japan with his family at the age of 5.
Gerhard van den Heever (South Africa born)
Please let me know if you see any errors or omissions. firstname.lastname@example.org