Who is Poaching?
New Zealand is often accused of poaching players from the Pacific Islands to add muscle to their rugby teams. There is, of course, some truth to this rumour, but it is not quite as massive a poaching expedition as some might suggest. New Zealand has long offered a home to migrants from the islands and rugby has, without a doubt, benefited from the influx of those islanders.
However, if we look across the Tasman at Australia, the same accusation of “poaching” could perhaps be aimed at Australia?
Their Wallaby team has a huge contingent of foreign born players.
There were six overseas-born starters in Australia’s most recent Test against Ireland in flanker David Pocock (Zimbabwe), winger Dane Haylett-Petty (South Africa) centre Samu Kerevi and winger Marika Koroibete (both Fiji), hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa and flanker Lukhan Tui (both New Zealand).
Will Genia, who was born in Papua New Guinea, started the first two Tests against Ireland, as did New Zealand-born backrower Caleb Timu, while both Tongan-born front-rowers Tolu Latu and Taniela Tupou came off the bench in all three matches.
Fullback Israel Folau, lock Adam Coleman and prop Sekope Kepu are all of Tongan descent, while prop Scott Sio’s father David played for Samoa.
If one goes with the Aussie’s own classification of an Indigenous player, While Kurtley Beale is the only Indigenous player among the regular Wallaby starters.