The Number Of ‘Foreign Imports’ At The 2015 World Cup Is Frankly Ridiculous

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The issue has been raised before, but the number of players turning out for nations they weren’t born in at this World Cup is ridiculous.

There are obviously some exceptions to this with players opting to play for sides based on their parents birthplace, but for many, they are simply exploiting loop holes and loose residency laws in order to play international rugby.

In total there will be 125 players turning out for nations they weren’t born in, that’s an average of 6.25 players per team at the World Cup. Chief culprits in all of this are Samoa with 13 players born abroad in their squad, closely followed by Tonga with 12.

At the other end of the scale both Argentina and Georgia have zero foreign imports, whilst South Africa and Uruguay have only one each.

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Scotland who have 11 imported players are one of the key protagonists after selecting Josh Strauss who will only qualify on residency grounds five days before his sides first World Cup game, whilst John Hardie exploited the grandparent rule to make the final 31-man squad despite only moving to Scotland over Christmas.

Despite their huge rugby playing population France are guilty of having 10 imported players including the likes of South Africans Scott Spedding and Rory Kockott whilst you may be surprised to see Wales have 11 important players, although most of these are from across the border in England.

In a bid to improve their international prospects Japan also have 11 imported players including seven New Zealanders, two Tongans in addition to a South African and Australian. In sharp contrast to their Pacific Island cousins, however Fiji only have three imported players in their World Cup squad.

Despite many of the claims thrown around both England and New Zealand only have three and five imported players respectively, with only three of the All Blacks squad having been born in the Pacific Islands (one each from Tonga, Samoa and Fiji).

Flipping the tables around, there are 39 New Zealanders turning out for countries other than the All Blacks, followed by England, South Africa and Australia with 15 each. There is also one player from each of Algeria, Zaire, Burkina Faso, Israel, Papua New Guinea, Belgium, Netherlands, Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Saudi Arabia.

View the full breakdowns on Expat Dad.

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  1. Zaire is now called the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or alternately Congo-Kinshasa.

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