Check out the list of South African-born players who have switched allegiances and are now on duty for their adopted countries in the 2022 Six Nations championship.
Following the furore from the home nations about the Springboks potentially joining the competition in 2025, here are 10 players born in South Africa who are already competing for the European title.
Bernard le Roux (France)
Born in Moorreesburg in the Western Cape, Le Roux played for the Boland Cavaliers and Border Bulldogs before moving to Racing in 2009. He qualified for France through World Rugby’s three-year residency law and made his Test debut against the All Blacks in 2013.
Paul Willemse (France)
Born in Pretoria and raised in Namibia, Willemse played for the Namibian U18 side at Craven Week before being offered a junior contract by the Lions, with him moving back to South Africa where he completed his schooling at Monument High School in Krugersdorp.
He spent a season in the Lions’ senior squad before joining the Bulls in 2013. A year later, Willemse signed for Grenoble and later Montpellier. He became eligible for French selection in 2018 based on his three-year residence in the country and would go on to make his Test debut against Wales in the 2019 Six Nations.
Rob Herring (Ireland)
Though born and raised in Cape Town, Herring’s professional career started out at London Irish in 2009, followed by loan spells at Nuneaton and London Welsh. He returned to the Cape after signing with Western Province in 2021, but played only two games before joining Irish club Ulster.
Two years after moving to the country, Herring qualified for Irish selection through one of his grandparents. He made his international debut against Argentina in 2014.
Bradley Roberts (Wales)
Roberts is from Durban and attended Michaelhouse. After school, he moved to Wales to pursue a professional rugby career in 2015. After a few years in amateur leagues, he started playing for Ulster in 2020. He made his international debut for Wales during the 2021 end-of-year Tests, having qualified through his paternal grandmother who was from Llandysul.
Braam Steyn (Italy)
A product of the renowned Paul Roos Gimnasium, Steyn is originally from Cradock in the Eastern Cape. He played two games for the Sharks before moving to Italy. He previously turned out for Mogliano, Calvisano and Zebre. Steyn currently plays for Benetton.
He also qualified for Italy through the residency law and earned his first Test cap in 2016.
Allen Dell (Scotland)
Dell was born in Humansdorp and attended Queen’s College. He earned 11 Currie Cup caps for the Sharks before joining Edinburgh in 2014. Two years later, he was called up to the Scotland Test squad, having qualified for selection via a grandparent.
These days, Dell plies his trade for English club London Irish, but he is still a member of the Scotland Test squad.
Pierre Schoeman (Scotland)
The 27-year-old Schoeman is from Nelspruit, but was schooled at Affies in Pretoria. He worked his way through the Bulls’ junior system before joining the senior squad in 2014. In 2018, he signed for Edinburgh, where he is still playing and last year he became eligible for selection through the residency rule. Schoeman made his Test debut against Tonga in 2021.
Willem Nel (Scotland)
The 35-year-old Nel hails from Loeriesfontein and attended Drostdy. The tighthead prop spent a season each at Western Province and Boland, before joining the Cheetahs for four seasons (2009-12).
He signed for Edinburgh in 2012 and has since amassed well over 150 caps for the Scottish club. Qualifying via residency, Nel made his Test debut for Scotland in 2015 and is still an integral part of their squad.
Kyle Steyn (Scotland)
Steyn is from Johannesburg, where he attended Trinity House. He played for Griquas and was their captain when he was invited to the Scotland sevens team. After shining in the abbreviated format, the Glasgow Warriors offered Steyn a contract and, just as with the national sevens team, he was immediately available for selection through his mother, who is from Glasgow.
Having made his Test debut in 2020, Steyn has since earned three international caps.
Duhan van der Merwe (Scotland)
Van der Merwe, younger brother of Springbok Akker van der Merwe, is from George in the Western Cape. He played for Tuks and the Bulls after school, before signing for French Top 14 side Montpellier. Limited game time, coupled with a spate of injuries, resulted in him moving to Edinburgh in 2017.
He qualified to play for Scotland in 2020 via the residency rule and made his Test debut against Georgia that year. In 2021, he was called up to the British & Irish Lions squad and featured in all three Tests against the Springboks.