All-Star XV Who Could Be Playing for Nation of Their Birth at World Cup

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All-Star XV Who Could Be Playing for Nation of Their Birth at World Cup
Rob Jefferies/Getty Images

Since the dawn of professionalism, rugby players have become globetrotting guns for hire, upping sticks to take up contracts in far-flung places.

And with the advent of the new-age traveling player came a fluidity of nationality that meant Pacific Islanders could end up wearing the Red Rose and hulking great South Africans could be seen belting out Il Canto degli Italiani during the Six Nations, as long as they'd lived in their adopted homes long enough.

Love or hate it, there is now barely a country who will bring a squad to next year’s World Cup without a "naturalised" player or two in their ranks.

Indeed, a recent change in IRB regulations has made it possible for players to switch countries having previously represented one, as long as they hold a passport, as ESPNScrum outlined:

With the inclusion of Sevens at the 2016 Olympics, rules state that a player can represent a nation as long as they hold that nation's passport. According to the IRB Handbook, Regulation 8, any player who has represented a national team but has a passport for a second nation, can switch teams during the 2014-2015 IRB Sevens World Series if there has been an 18-month period since their last national appearance.

A player must apply first to switch allegiances and must be approved before and then take the field for their new nation in next season's World Series, which doubles as Olympic qualification. Once a player has made his debut for a new team in an Olympic event they become eligible for selection for any form of the game in his new country.

So what would an all-star side of players who could play for their birth country look like? Let’s have a stab.

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