Jean Kleyn from Ireland to Springboks Photo Extra.ie website RWC

Jean Kleyn first played Test rugby for Ireland, but is now a Springbok. Photo: Extra.ie website.

SWITCHED UP: The 14 players who’ll play for new nation at RWC

IT’S OFFICIAL: These players will represent a second Test nation at the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France. Find out who they are and where they’re switching allegiance to and from.

Jean Kleyn from Ireland to Springboks Photo Extra.ie website RWC

Jean Kleyn first played Test rugby for Ireland, but is now a Springbok. Photo: Extra.ie website.

A Springbok is one of a host of stars who will be representing a second Test nation at the 2023 RWC starting in France next weekend.

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Prior to all the official squad announcement, as many as 20 players were in line to play for a different Test country at this year’s World Cup than the ones they won their first cap for at international level. 

But now that all 20 squads have been confirmed, only 14 made the cut and Springbok Jean Kleyn is one of them.

At the other end of the spectrum, the biggest personality who qualified to make an allegiance switch but ultimately failed in his bid to win a place in his second nation’s squad is controversial former Wallaby Israel Folau.

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LIST OF PLAYERS WHO’LL REPRESENT A NEW NATION AT RWC

POOL A

PlayerNew nationFormer nation
Richard HardwickNamibiaAustralia

POOL B

PlayerNew nationFormer nation
Jean KleynSouth AfricaIreland
Jack DempseySouth AfricaAustralia
Adam ColemanTongaAustralia
MalakaiTongaNew Zealand
Charles Piutua TongaNew Zealand
George MoalaTongaNew Zealand

POOL C

PlayerNew nationFormer nation
Henry ThomasWalesEngland
Nick Tompkins WalesEngland U20
Johnny WilliamsWalesEngland U20

POOL D

PlayerNew nationFormer nation
Christian Leali’ifanoSamoaAustralia
Charlie FaumuinaSamoaNew Zealand
Lima SopoagaSamoaNew Zealand
Steven LuatuaSamoaNew Zealand

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WHY CAPPED PLAYERS CAN PLAY FOR DIFFERENT NATION AT WORLD CUP

In 2021, the World Rugby Council approved dramatic eligibility changes to international rugby that allows players to represent a second nation after a three-year stand-down period from their last ‘binding’ representative appearance for their first nation.

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In essence, players can change allegiances if they were born in the country they want to represent or have a parent or grandparent born there and this kind of allegiance switch can only been done once in a player’s career and cannot be reversed.

Jean Kleyn trades Ireland for Springboks photo Ball Carrier Twitter. Rugby World Cup. RWC
Jean Kleyn has made the official allegiance switch from Ireland to the Springboks. Photo: Ball Carrier/Twitter.