Rugby World Cup 2023: List of players swapping loyalty for RWC

Posted by World Wide Tickets And Hospitality on June 23rd, 2023

Here is a complete list of the players set to play for a changed Test nation at the France Rugby World Cup than the ones they were first capped for at the international level. With less than three months to go until this year’s world cup, the rival nations are ramping up their arrangements with trainers tasked with making some big choice calls as they trim down their groups.

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Rugby World Cup 2023: List of players swapping loyalty for RWC
Rugby World Cup 2023: List of players swapping loyalty for RWC

Why capped players can play for another country at RWC 2023

In 2021, the world rugby council permitted dramatic eligibility changes to worldwide rugby that allows players to signify a second nation after a three-year stand-down period from their last ‘binding’ representative entrance for their first nation. Players can change loyalties if they were born in the nation they want to signify or have a parent or grandparent born there.

This kind of loyalty switch can only be done once in a player’s profession and cannot be overturned. Several capped New Zealand players and Australian players have opted to switch allegiance to the Pacific Island nations, with Tonga being the major receiver to date. So far, Tonga has been able to select 10-star players, who already have Test experience, in their Rugby World Cup squad.

The South Africa Rugby World Cup side has also made use of the eligibility alteration by bringing ex-Ireland lock Jean Kleyn into their group. Kleyn, who formerly played for the Stormers, is a South African-born player hailing from Somerset West in the Western Cape.

Rugby players set to shift ahead of France Rugby World Cup 2023

Seta Tamanivalu: Seta Tamanivalu, a brilliant centre, previously signified New Zealand but has now switched his allegiance to the Fiji Rugby World Cup team. Known for his powerful runs and solid defence, Tamanivalu brings his assistance and experience to brace Fiji's backline.

Taqele Naiyaravoro: Formerly from Fiji, Taqele Naiyaravoro made his mark as a wing while playing for Australia. However, he later decided to switch his allegiance to his home country before RWC. Naiyaravoro's mixture of speed, size, and suppleness makes him a difficult force on the field.

Charlie Faumuina: Charlie Faumuina, a prop, was born in Samoa but began his international career representing New Zealand. However, he later decided to switch his national allegiance and now proudly represents Samoa Rugby World Cup. Faumuina's strength in the scrum and his ability to contribute in open play make him a valuable asset to Samoa's front row.

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Steven Luatua: Steven Luatua, a versatile player capable of playing as a lock or loose forward, started his international career with New Zealand. However, he made the switch to Samoa, his country of heritage. Luatua's physicality, lineout expertise, and ball-carrying skills add depth and power to Samoa's forward pack at France Rugby World Cup 2023.

Lima Sopoaga: Lima Sopoaga, a skilled flyhalf, began his international career with New Zealand. However, he later opted to switch his allegiance and now represents Samoa. Sopoaga's vision, tactical kicking, and ability to control the game make him a vital asset to Samoa's backline for RWC.

Christian Leali’ifano: Christian Leali’ifano, a versatile player who can play as flyhalf or centre, initially represented Australia. He later decided to switch his national allegiance and now proudly represents Samoa. Leali’ifano's playmaking abilities, accurate kicking, and leadership qualities greatly benefit Samoa's RWC 2023 squad.

Titi Lamositele: Titi Lamositele, a prop, formerly played for the USA national team. However, he made the switch to Samoa, his ancestral home. Lamositele's scrummaging technique and physical presence contribute to Samoa's front-row strength for France Rugby World Cup.

Malakai Fekitoa: Malakai Fekitoa, a powerful centre, was born in Tonga but began his international career representing New Zealand. However, he later chose to switch his allegiance and now proudly represents Tonga. Fekitoa's speed, agility, and strong defensive abilities make him a key asset for Tonga's backline during RWC.

Charles Piutau: Initially from Tonga, Charles Piutau made his mark as a wing and fullback while playing for New Zealand. However, he later decided to switch his national allegiance and now signifies Tonga. Piutau's electrifying speed, exceptional ball handling, and versatility greatly strengthen Tonga's backline at RWC.

Augustine Pulu: Augustine Pulu, a scrumhalf, previously played for New Zealand before switching his allegiance to Tonga. Pulu's quick distribution, sniping runs, and game management skills add depth and experience to Tonga's backline. Rugby fans can book RWC Tickets on our website at exclusively discounted prices.

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George Moala: George Moala, known for his ability to play on the wing or centre, initially represented the New Zealand Rugby World Cup side. However, he later chose to switch his national allegiance and now represents Tonga. Moala's physicality, powerful running, and offloading skills make him a valuable asset for Tonga's backline.

Vaea Fifita: Vaea Fifita, a versatile player capable of playing as a flanker or lock, started his international career with New Zealand. However, he later decided to switch his national allegiance and now represents Tonga RWC 2023. Fifita's athleticism, lineout skills, and powerful ball-carrying greatly benefit Tonga's forward pack.

Pita Ahki: Pita Ahki, a centre who previously played for New Zealand Sevens, switched his allegiance to represent Tonga. Ahki's agility, avoiding ability, and defensive prowess make him a respected asset for Tonga's backline. Tau Koloamatangi, a prop, first played for Hong Kong before switching his allegiance to Tonga. Koloamatangi's strength in the scrum and work rate around the field contribute to Tonga's forward domination.

Israel Folau: Israel Folau, a skilful fullback, represented Australia before deciding to switch his national allegiance and now represents Tonga. Folau's exceptional aerial skills, powerful running, and try-scoring ability knowingly bolster Tonga's backline. Lopeti Timani, a lock, previously played for Australia before switching his allegiance to represent Tonga. Timani's physicality, lineout expertise, and work rate make him a valuable asset for Tonga's forward pack.

Adam Coleman: Adam Coleman, a lock, initially represented Australia but later decided to switch his national allegiance and now proudly represents Tonga. Coleman's corporal presence, lineout skills, and work rate greatly benefit Tonga's forward pack.

Jean Kleyn: Jean Kleyn, a lock who can also play as a flanker, began his international career with South Africa. However, he later decided to switch his national allegiance and now signifies Ireland. Kleyn's physicality, lineout skills, and breakdown work add depth to Ireland's forward choices.

Tawera Kerr-Barlow: Tawera Kerr-Barlow, a scrumhalf, initially signified New Zealand. However, he later made the switch to Australia, his country of heritage. Kerr-Barlow's quick service, sniping runs, and ability to control the game provide the Australia RWC side with a valuable asset at the scrumhalf position.

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Henry Speight: Henry Speight, a wing, was born in Fiji but began his international career representing Australia. He later chose to switch his allegiance and now represents Fiji Rugby World Cup. Speight's speed, finishing ability, and strong defensive skills contribute to Fiji's dynamic backline.

These prominent rugby players who have switched national loyalties bring their skills, experience, and heritage to their respective countries. Their decisions to represent different nations on the global stage reflect the global nature of rugby and the diversity of its players. As these RWC 2023 players continue to make their mark, they not only contribute to the success of their teams but also serve as inspiring examples of the connection of rugby.

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