NZ the Rugby World Cup breeding ground

The All Blacks may be favoured to retain the Rugby World Cup but New Zealand’s influence on the global showpiece will extend far beyond its national team.

While the All Blacks’ squad of 31 features five players born overseas, nine other teams at the tournament will contain at least one born in New Zealand.

Pacific neighbours Samoa and Tonga share 17, while Japan boast six and Australia has four – Quade Cooper, Dean Mumm, Will Skelton and Jowe Tomane. Even Romania have one.

There’s enough to form another whole squad, plus a couple of spares, made up from NZ-born players to contest the Webb Ellis Cup.

But just who would be coach is anyone’s guess. There are, after all, six Kiwi coaches other than All Blacks mentor Steve Hansen at the helm of sides contesting the eighth edition of the event.

NZ-BORN PLAYERS PLAYING FOR OTHER RWC SIDES (34):

Samoa: Ole Avei, Manu Leiataua, Motu Matu’u, Anthony Perenise, Filo Paulo, Kane Thompson, Kahn Fotuali’i, Jack Lam, Michael Stanley, Johnny Leota, Ken Pisi, Tim Nanai-Williams

Japan: Michael Leitch (capt), Karne Hesketh, Luke Thompson, Michael Broadhurst, Hendrik Tui, Male Sa’u

Tonga: Paul Ngauamo, Tukulua Lokotui, Kurt Morath, Siale Piutau, Telusa Veainu

Australia: Quade Cooper, Dean Mumm, Will Skelton, Joe Tomane

Ireland: Nathan White, Jared Payne

Scotland: John Hardie, Sean Maitland

England: Mako Vunipola

France: Uini Atonio

Romania: Mike Wiringi

NZ-BORN COACHES (6):

Warren Gatland (Wales), Vern Cotter (Scotland), Joe Schmidt (Ireland), Kieran Crowley (Canada), John McKee (Fiji), Milton Haig (Georgia).

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