A player from each of the 51 rugby league playing nations

International rugby legue players Credit: Alamy
International rugby legue players Credit: Alamy

There are 51 teams in the men’s international rugby league world rankings, and we’ve picked out a player who is eligible to play for each one.

This includes players born in that country, with heritage to the nation or even residency…

1. Australia – Latrell Mitchell

Mitchell is a genuine superstar of the game. The South Sydney Rabbitohs full-back or centre is a proud Indigenous Australian man and has won nine caps for the Kangaroos.

2. New Zealand – Joseph Manu

The Sydney Roosters star was born in New Zealand and is of Maori and Cook Islander heritage. He has represented the Kiwis 13 times and has also played for the Maori All Stars.

3. Samoa – Stephen Crichton

Stephen Crichton Samoa England PA Credit: Alamy
Photo: PA

The NRL Grand Final winner was born in Apia, the capital of Samoa. He moved to New Zealand at the age of two, before his family settled in Australia. He helped his beloved Samoa reach the 2021 World Cup final.

4. England – Sam Tomkins

Tomkins was born in Milton Keynes and made in Wigan. The 33-year-old is one of the best players England have ever produced.

5. Tonga – Konrad Hurrell

Hurrell was born and raised in Tonga, moving to New Zealand when he was 18 on a rugby union scholarship. The powerhouse centre has won 12 caps for the Pacific Island.

6. Papua New Guinea – Edwin Ipape

Edwin Ipape Papua New Guinea PA Credit: Alamy
Photo: PA

Ipape proved to be one of the signings of the season last year as he helped Leigh clinch promotion to Super League. The Mount Hagen-born hooker represented the Kumuls at the 2021 World Cup.

7. Fiji – Maika Sivo

The Parramatta flier is regarded as one of the best wingers in the NRL. Sivo was born and raised in Nadi and has represented his beloved Fiji seven times.

8. Lebanon – Mitchell Moses

Moses was born and raised in Australia but is of Lebanese heritage through his mother. He is the nephew of Benny Elias, the Tripoli-born Balmain legend. Moses has represented Lebanon at the last two World Cups, captaining the Cedars in the latest one.

9. France – Theo Fages

Theo Fages PA Credit: Alamy
Photo: PA

The 28-year-old has been one of the best half-backs in Super League for several years now. He is the son of former France international Pascal Fages, who played for France in the 1995 World Cup. Theo, meanwhile, has played in two World Cups.

10. Wales – Rhys Williams

The Flintshire-born winger is the all-time appearance holder for Wales, having won 33 caps for his country. Williams has played in the last three World Cup tournaments.

11. Ireland – Ronan Michael

The Balbriggan-born prop made his Super League debut for Huddersfield in 2020, becoming the first Irish-born player to feature in the competition since Brian Carney in 2009. Michael has won six caps for Ireland, playing in the 2021 World Cup.

12. Cook Islands – Kayal Iro

Kayal Iro Cook Islands PA Credit: Alamy
Photo: Will Matthews/PA Wire/PA Images

The 22-year-old was born and raised in the Cook Islands, growing up in Rarotonga. Kayal is the son of former player Kevin Iro and nephew of Kukis coach Tony. The Cook Islands are one of only two countries in the world where rugby league is the national sport – the other being Papua New Guinea.

13. Jamaica – Chevaughn Bailey

Bailey has won six caps for his native Jamaica, playing all three of their games at their first-ever Rugby League World Cup. He was one of six players in the World Cup squad to come from Duhaney Park Red Sharks in their domestic competition.

REGGAE WARRIORS: Kids now getting scholarships: Jamaica to bear fruit from debut World Cup

14. Italy – Gioele Celerino

Celerino became the first born and bred Italian to feature in a Rugby League World Cup game last autumn. The Asti-born forward has been part of Italy’s squad for the last three World Cups and has won 20 caps for the Azzurri.

AZZURRI: Italy want more players to follow in footsteps of Gioele Celerino

15. Serbia – Tom Trbojevic

Tom Trbojevic Australia PA Credit: Alamy
Photo: PA

The Manly superstar was born in Australia and qualifies to play for Serbia through the heritage rule alongside his brothers Jake and Ben. Tom has already represented Australia on the international stage. Could we see him represent his Serbian roots one day?

16. Greece – Lachlan Ilias

The South Sydney Rabbitohs half-back made his international debut for Greece in 2022, playing in all three of their group games at the World Cup. The Sydney-born playmaker qualifies to play for Greece through his grandparents.

GREECE LIGHTNING: Meet the Rabbitohs duo hoping to shock the world

17. Scotland – Matty Russell

The Warrington winger was born in the Scottish town of Irvine, North Ayrshire. He has played in the last three World Cups for the Bravehearts and has won 13 caps.

18. Netherlands – Joran Schoenmaker

In 2023, Shoenmaker will become only the second Dutch-born player to feature in the RFL professional ranks, following in the footsteps of ex-St Helens, Salford, Wigan and Leigh forward Tim Jonkers, after signing professional terms with League 1 club North Wales Crusaders. Schoenmaker was also nominated for the Golden Boot award in 2022.

19. Malta – Jarrod Sammut

Sammut was born in Australia is of Maltese heritage through his grandparents. He is also a proud Indigenous Australian man. Sammut has represented Malta 17 times throughout his career and has even played for them in rugby union.

20. Turkey – Yusuf Aydin

The 22-year-old came through the academy at hometown club Wakefield and has moved to Hull KR for 2023. He is of Turkish heritage through his father and made his international debut for Turkey in 2019.

21. Germany – Josh Drinkwater

Josh Drinkwater Catalans Dragons SWpix Credit: Alamy
Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix

Speaking exclusively to Love Rugby League, Drinkwater said he would love to represent his German heritage alongside his brother Scott as they seek a spot at the 2025 World Cup in France. The brothers qualify for Germany though their grandfather.

BROTHERLY LOVE: Drinkwater brothers hoping to take Germany to 2025 World Cup

22. Brazil – Ramon Silva

The Wigan prop was born in Sao Paulo before moving over to the UK with his parents when he was three. He has yet to play a first team game for the Warriors or Brazil.

23. Chile – Daniel Vasquez

The former Cronulla Sharks forward represented Chile in the South American Rugby League Championship last year. He made his NRL debut for the Sharks in 2020 and his international debut for Chile in 2022.

24. Nigeria – Sadiq Adebiyi

Sadiq Adebiyi PA Credit: Alamy
Photo: MI News/NurPhoto/PA Images

The Keighley forward was born in Lagos before moving to England at a young age. Adebiyi came through the ranks at London Broncos before moving up North with Wakefield. He was won two international caps for Nigeria.

25. South Africa – Ben Condon

The Manly forward was born and raised in Australia and is of South African heritage. Condon, who has made 12 NRL appearances for the Cowboys, has yet to make an international appearance.

26. Ghana – Gideon Boafo

Boafo hails from Croydon in South London and is of Ghanian descent. The 22-year-old has scored 37 tries in 39 Championship appearances for London Broncos and Newcastle Thunder.

27. Czech Republic – Ben Lavendar

Lavendar was born and raised in Australia but is eligible to play for the Czech Republic through family heritage. He currently plays for the Illawarra Steelers Under-19s.

28. Ukraine – Nathan Cleary

Nathan Cleary New South Wales PA rugby league Credit: Alamy
Photo: PA

This might be the most surprising name in the list. The Penrith superstar and Australia World Cup winner is of Ukrainian heritage through his grandmother, who fled to Australia as a toddler after being born in a concentration camp.

29. Philippines – Judd Greenhalgh

Greenhalgh has spent seven seasons in total with London Skolars and has represented his Filipino heritage on the international stage alongside his twin brother Mike.

30. Poland – Mikolaj Oledzki

The Leeds powerhouse was born in Gdansk before moving to the UK when he was nine. He became the second Polish prop to feature in Super League behind Grzegorz Kacała. Oledzki has represented England in rugby league, playing in his first World Cup last autumn.

POLE POSITION: Grzegorz Kacała: Super League’s first Polish powerhouse

31. Cameroon – Sam Eseh

Sam Eseh SWpix rugby league Credit: Alamy
Photo: John Clifton/SWpix

Eseh has came through the academy at Wakefield and is of Cameroonian heritage. He has impressed on loan in the Championship for Featherstone and Barrow.

32. Kenya – Eddie Rombo

The 55-year-old was born in Nairobi and was one of the few Kenyan rugby league players to turn professional when he moved to Leeds in 1990. Rombo is the current head coach of the Kenyan national rugby league team, who have recently entered a partnership with Leeds.

33. Spain – Mahe Fonua

The self proclaimed King of Sponga! The Castleford powerhouse was born in Australia and is of Spanish and Tongan heritage. Fonua has represented Tonga in two World Cups but could also play for Spain.

34. Bulgaria – Ethan Havard

The Wigan prop was born in Sofia to English parents, who met each other in Saudi Arabia. They then lived in Ireland for a little while before relocating back to England before his first birthday. Havard has won international honours with England Knights and is eligible to represent Bulgaria.

WARRIOR: Born in Bulgaria, made in Wigan: The journey of Ethan Havard

35. Norway – Kyle Feldt

Kyle Feldt North Queensland Cowboys PA rugby league Credit: Alamy
Photo: Pat Hoelscher/AAP/PA

Feldt is one of three NRL players who is eligible to play for Norway – the others being Kiwi internationals Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad and Brandon Smith. Feldt is a fan favourite at North Queensland Cowboys.

36. Colombia – Roy Quiroz-Mapusua

Quiroz-Mapusua is currently plying his trade in the Under-21s at NRL side Manly. He has Colombian roots in his family.

37. Hungary – Kurt Falls

The 26-year-old came through the system at Penrith alongside Cleary. Falls is eligible to represent Hungary via family heritage.

38. USA – Tyler Dupree

Tyler Dupree Salford Red Devils News Images rugby league Credit: Alamy
Photo: News Images

The Salford forward has represented England Knights on the international stage, but qualifies to play for the USA through his heritage. His great uncle Billy Joe Dupree is a Superbowl winner with the Dallas Cowboys.

39. Montenegro – Balsa Zarkovic

Zarkovic only started playing rugby league in 2019 but has since gone on to represent Montenegro on the international stage. He plays his club rugby for Red Star Belgrade in Serbia.

40. Bosnia and Herzegovina – Ned Catic

Now here’s a blast from the past. Catic played for Penrith and Sydney Roosters in the NRL before enjoying six seasons in England with Wakefield, Castleford and Barrow. He is of Bosnian heritage.

41. Solomon Islands – Jackson O’Grady

O’Grady is a half-back currently plying his trade for Northern Pride in the Queensland Cup Under-21s. He qualifies to play for the Solomon Islands internationally.

42. Sweden – Brad Singleton

Brad Singleton Wigan Warriors SWpix rugby league Credit: Alamy
Photo: Ed Sykes/SWpix

Yes, you read that right. Singleton is eligible to represent Sweden through his grandfather. The Wigan prop was born in Cumbria, England and represented Ireland at the 2017 World Cup through his mother.

43. Morocco – Fouad Yaha

The Catalans Dragons winger was born and raised in France and is of Moroccan descent. Yaha has played in two World Cups for France and became the first Muslim to appear in a Super League Grand Final in 2021.

44. Canada – Jaeman Salmon

Salmon is another Penrith player in this list! The 23-year-old was born and raised in Australia and is eligible to play for Canada through family heritage.

45. Japan – Gehamat Shibasaki

Gehamat Shibasaki PA rugby league Credit: Alamy
Photo: Darren Pateman/AAP/PA Images

Shibasaki was born in Australia and is of Torres Strait Islander, Japanese and Palau heritage. He currently plays for the North Queensland Cowboys in the NRL.

46. Vanuatu – Zach Santo

Santo currently plays in the French Elite Championship for Limoux. Australia coach Mal Meninga is also of Vanuatuan heritage through his great grandfather.

47. El Salvador – Fernando Calderon

Calderon plays for the San Diego Barracudas in the USARL. He is eligible to play for El Salvador internationally.

48. Belgium – Iliass Laachiri

Laachiri is currently playing for Carpentras in the French Elite 2 Championship. He qualifies to represent Belgium and has even played for Morocco on the international stage!

49. Denmark – Tino Fa’asuamaleaui

This one might surprise people. Fa’asuamaleaui is a World Cup winner with Australia and is eligible to play for Samoa through his father – but he is also of Danish heritage.

50. Latvia – Niall Evalds

Niall Evalds Castleford Tigers SWpix rugby league Credit: Alamy
Photo: John Clifton/SWpix

The Castleford full-back is of Latvian heritage through his grandfather, who moved over to Halifax during the Second World War and settled in Halifax, opening a chippy. He has won one cap for his birth nation England.

51. Argentina – Braydon Jang (Rabbitohs U19s)

Last on the list is Jang, who is currently playing for South Sydney Rabbitohs’ Under-19s. He has Argentinian roots.

Thanks to He Can Play For for their collaboration, you can follow them on Twitter and Instagram.

The article A player from each of the 51 rugby league playing nations appeared first on Loverugbyleague.com.