The Non-English England XV

Manu Tuilagi

With debate raging on over residency rules in rugby I thought it would be interesting to take a look at England so have picked a non-English born XV.

15. Delon Armitage, Trinidad & Tobago

Despite looking unlikely to play for England as he continues to remain in France, the Trinidadian still has an outside shot.

14. Marland Yarde, St Lucia

Yarde was born in Castries, St Lucia but moved to England when he was nine and now looks set to star at the World Cup.


13. Manu Tuilagi, Samoa

Despite being born in Samoa but moved to England at a young age where he was always viewed as a future star for the Red Rose.

12. Brad Barritt, South Africa

Barritt grew up in South Africa and started his rugby career over there but was eligible for England thanks to Rhodesian parents.

11. Charlie Sharples, Hong Kong

One of the least controversial members of this XV, Sharples was born in Hong Kong which is still a British dependant territory.

10. Nick Evans, New Zealand

The most fanciful player on this list, there are however rumours that Evans could be hoping to turn out for England thanks to the sevens loophole.

9. Lee Dickson, Germany

Dickson is English in everything but birth location having been born in Germany due to his father being stationed there with the army.


1. Alex Corbisiero, USA

Corbisiero is of Italian-American descent but moved to England when he was just four meaning his rugby education occurred in the English system.

2. Dylan Hartley, New Zealand

Hartley was born in New Zealand but moved to England when he was 16 and qualifies for England thanks to an English-born mother.

3. Matt Stevens, South Africa

Stevens is South African born and came up through their age-grade system before moving to England for university and qualifying on residency grounds.

4. Michael Paterson, New Zealand

Paterson came up through the New Zealand system before moving to Wales were he nearly qualified for residency before moving to England and qualifying through his grandfather.

5. Mouritz Botha, South Africa

The giant South African lock moved to England in a bid to find a professional contract and qualified for the national team on residency rules.


6. Billy Vunipola, Australia

The younger Vunipola was born in Brisbane to  Fe’ao Vunipola a former captain of Tonga but moved to England as a child.

7. Steffon Armitage, Trinidad & Tobago

Although Armitage now looks more likely to play for France the Trinidadian born back rower is still available for England selection.

8. Thomas Waldrom, New Zealand

Waldrom grew up in New Zealand where he played provincial rugby and moved to England in 2010 where he qualified for the national team thanks to his English grandmother.

Do you think it’s right a national side can pick so many foreign born players?




  1. The players who moved here as children or were born to English nationals stationed outside the country at their time of birth (Charteris falls into the same category for Wales) aren’t a problem. It is the adult players who move from one country to another that are (and the unions that encourage them). Also, if coaches were included, Mike Catt was always dubious as an Englishman (but his playing skills were never in doubt). Plus a certain C. Woodward trialed for Welsh schoolboys, before moving back to England at 16. Overall, it is the developing nations that suffer most, the IRB should tighten up on the abuse of the national system.

  2. This is possibly the worst article I’ve read on this site. In my opinion, if you have English parents or you grew up in England, then you should be eligible to qualify.

    15. Grew up in both England and France, chose to play for England – Also unlikely to play any more games for England
    14. Grew up in England
    13. Grew up in England
    12. Some people do have a problem with, fair enough. (1)
    11. Just no. He’s English, being born in another country is irrelevant.
    10. The worst one of the list. He’s not going to play for England. Even if he wanted to (which I doubt), he wouldn’t make it past the other contenders.
    9. Again, he’s English.

    1. Grew up in England
    2. Slightly dodgy, but mother was born in England and he sort of grew up here.
    3. Another some people have a problem with. (2)
    4. Unlikely to play a full cap, but dodgy. (3)
    5. Not English. (4)
    6. Grew up in England
    7. See 15, although will play more games if he moves back to England.
    8. Dodgy. (5)

    So basically you created an article out of 5 players, and then shoved a load of other guys in (still amazed by Nick Evans in this) – it’s terrible journalism because you’re just desperately trying to be controversial.

    Everyone understands your (unoriginal) point, but the laws as they are have been chosen to be as fair as possible. Yes, there should be laws to prevent players from countries that don’t have amazing teams from switching nationality just to play a better quality of rugby, for example Tim Visser, as it prevents improvement in their own country, but all these players listed are either coming from South Africa or New Zealand, and I think they’ll manage without them.

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