Despite the increasingly global nature of rugby, and the knock on impact this has had on the movement of players, some national unions opt not to select certain players because of where they choose to play their rugby.
England, Australia and New Zealand all still maintain a policy of only selecting players based domestically despite having world class talent scattered across the globe. Where as teams such as Wales and South Africa have embraced the new international landscape, these unions continue to hold firm in their selection policies.
This has resulted in some of the best players in the world having not appeared on the international stage for several years. Whilst these players are often drafted in Barbarian and World XV sides, it is not quite the same as representing their country in an international test, therefore here is our International Exiles XV;
15. Drew Mitchell (Australia)
Mitchell opted to end his international career for the time being when he agreed a move to Toulon at the end of the 2013 Super Rugby season. The former Wallaby has settled in well in the Top 14 and would likely have been a shoe in for the Aussie squad ahead of the World Cup.
14. Sitiveni Sivivatu (New Zealand)
Has Sivivatu decided to represent his home nation of Fiji there is no doubt he would have still been playing international rugby. Instead he chose New Zealand meaning his move to the Top 14 excluded him for international selection despite tearing it up in France in recent seasons.
13. Rene Ranger (New Zealand)
Despite Steve Hansens protestations Ranger decided his future lay on the French south coast rather that in New Zealand meaning he joins our international exiles. A genuine world class talent, there’s no doubting Ranger would have had many more All Blacks caps by now had he stayed at the Blues.
12. Matt Giteua (Australia)
Giteau is currently in the form of his career having helped guide Toulon to both the Top 14 and Heineken Cup titles this season. His recent form has sparked uproar amongst fans at the Wallabies selection policy as there’s no doubt he would be a huge asset at the World Cup.
11. Digby Ioane (Australia)
There’s no doubting that the Ioane’s move to France has been a huge blow to both the Reds and the Wallabies. Whilst Australia do seem to be on an upward trajectory there’s no doubting that a finished of Ioane’s ability would be a huge asset to them on the international stage.
10. Brock James (Australia)
The first player in this team who hasn’t represented his country at full international level. Despite this James has been instrumental in ensuring Clermont have been one of the powerhouses of both French and European rugby over the last few seasons.
9. Jimmy Cowan (New Zealand)
Cowan is currently without a club having left Gloucester on good terms at the end of this season. It does appear he will be returning to New Zealand ahead of the ITM Cup although is still yet to secure a club meaning he remains in international exile for the time being at least.
1. Andrew Sheridan (England)
Sheridan has been plagued by injuries in recent years, despite this when fit he remains one of the most powerful scrummagers in world rugby. Any side would be keen to include a fully fit Sheridan in their team, especially given his dominant performances over the likes of Australia during his international career.
2. Aled de Malmanche (New Zealand)
Possibly one of the lesser known players in this side, despite this de Malmanche still managed to claim five caps for the All Blacks before his mover to France in 2011. de Malmanche was always going to struggle to overtake the incumbent New Zealand hookers but would have been a handy back up for Steve Hansen’s side.
3. Carl Hayman (New Zealand)
Hayman left New Zealand in 2007 having already amassed 45 caps for the All Blacks. He has since gone on to establish himself as a key member of Toulon’s double Heineken Cup winning side and is still going strong at the age of 34.
4. Ali Williams (New Zealand)
It’s hard to top 77 caps for the All Blacks which included a World Cup, however he’s making a good go of it in Toulon. His partnership with Bakkies Botha is amongst one of the most effective in Europe and has been instrumental in the sides recent success.
5. Dean Mumm (Australia)
The signing of Dean Mumm was a huge coup for Exeter Chiefs coach Rob Baxter and appears to have been a very astute signing. The Wallaby lock has become the captain of the Chiefs in the last 12 months and been a key member of a side who are consistently challenging for a place in the Heineken Cup.
6. George Smith (Australia)
Smith has quite simply been one of the best openside flankers in world rugby since the turn of the century resulting in 111 caps despite stints in Japan and France. Smith’s return to Australia last year saw him once again wearing the Green and Gold and his move to France will be seen as a big loss despite being nearly 34.
7. Steffon Armitage (England)
Armitage has emerged as one of the top back rowers in the world over the past 12 months resulting in many people calling for his re-inclusion in the England squad. Capable of playing at 7 or 8 with great effect, Armitage has been integral to Toulon’s double this season.
8. Chris Masoe (New Zealand)
Masoe was a 20 times capped All Black before deciding to move to France in 2012. He has since gone on to become a regular in a Toulon side packed full of star talent.
It really is such a shame to see so many quality players not turning out on the international stage, do you think it’s time for home nations to start relaxing the rules on international selection?
Who would you put in this team?