LONDON. — World Rugby vice-chairperson Agustin Pichot has sparked outrage among the home nations by sharing a list of the top international teams and adding what percentage of their squads include players “not born in their countries”.
According to the Stuff.co.nz website, Pichot’s tweet, posted on Wednesday and featuring statistics for the top 11 rugby-playing nations, has led to calls for the former Argentina halfback to resign for “fanning the flames of xenophobia”.
The 44-year-old’s post lists Scotland (46.3 percent) on top for having the most “foreign-born players” in their squad for the November Tests, while South Africa and Argentina are bottom (both with 0 percent). New Zealand is listed second from bottom with 12.5 percent, while Japan (37.1), Italy (29.7), Australia (29.4), England (27.7), Ireland (26.1), Wales (24.3), France (12.9) are ranked from second to eighth. According to Pichot’s list, England, Ireland and Wales all have approximately double the number of New Zealand’s players born overseas in their respective squads. Northern rugby scribes have traditionally criticised the All Blacks for pinching talent from the Pacific Islands, but last year it was shown that England had actually been the home of poaching in rugby since 2005.