With the climax of the domestic season fast approaching, attention is now starting to turn to the forthcoming international programme this Autumn.
With so much international Rugby League on the horizon at the World Cup, we’ve taken a trip down that road for this week’s Six of the Best. And as the theme for this week’s SOTB, we’ve been asking on social media for the players who’ve a track record of switching nations – here’s who you came up with!
Is there a more high-profile ‘nation swapper’ than former Brisbane and Leeds player Tonie Carroll? Born in New Zealand, Carroll created headlines when he played State of Origin for Queensland back in 1997. He would then represent the country of his birth, playing for the Kiwis at the 2000 World Cup, before switching to Australia in 2004. He became the first person in 90 years to play for both countries, creating a lot of drama and headlines along the way!
The former Parramatta Eels man – who is looking for a new club after nearly ten years at the Eels – is another man who has switched between nations, going from Tonga to New Zealand, and then back to Tonga! He started playing with his native Tonga in 2006, before being included in the Kiwis’ train-on squad for the international programme in 2007. Amazingly, he was selected for both sides in their initial squads for the 2008 World Cup! He would make his return to Tonga in 2013, playing in all three of their games during that year’s World Cup.
Like Fuifui Moimoi, Luke Ricketson played for more international sides during his illustrious career than club sides! His entire playing career at club level was with Sydney Roosters, having played for the club between 1991 and 2005. His international career kicked off in 2000 though, when he played for Ireland at the 2000 World Cup. Three years later, he was playing a key role for Australia in The Ashes, playing in all three of their games against Great Britain.
The great full-back is another player who’s had more international sides than club teams. Like Ricketson, his entire playing career has been spent at the Sydney Roosters, with plenty of nation swapping going on in between that. He first played for Italy in 1999, appearing in the inaugural Mediterranean Cup. However, once he became established as one of the best full-backs in the world, Australia came calling. He played for the Kangaroos 18 times between 2003 and 2005, before returning to captain Italy to World Cup qualification in 2011. He played in the 2013 World Cup for the Azzuri, too.
It isn’t just Australian players who have a history of swapping countries; a few British-based players have, too. Salford’s Rangi Chase is one of those; having initially played for New Zealand’s Maori side back in 2008, his move to England led to an eventual switch to Steve McNamara’s side for the 2013 World Cup. Amazingly, just months before making his England debut, he was playing for the Exiles side AGAINST England!
Has there been a Super League player who has created more drama about his international side of choice than Huddersfield’s Danny Brough? Whether it is England or Scotland, Brough’s eligibility for both countries has long been a regular talking point, after first making his international debut for the Scots back in 2004. He went on to captain the Scots in the 2008 World Cup, before turning out for England in 2012 on a solitary occasion. He quickly went back to play for Scotland, captaining them again in the World Cup in 2013.