Playing abroad — the top 8 rugby and football players from New Zealand
It’s become commonplace for athletes to move around the world in a bid for a bigger and better career, and international spotlight. But when it comes to rugby and football, New Zealand have been proud to keep many of their players in the country and on New Zealand clubs. The All Blacks, for example, are well known for only allowing those who play in New Zealand to be eligible for the club. When players have returned from abroad, they need to come back and play for New Zealand first. But who are these athletes from New Zealand that are leaving for international clubs?
Although we can’t all be as great at sports as these stars, we can at least enjoy other sport activities in our free time, for example on the NZ top online casinos. These days, most sites offer some sports slot machines, a lot of which you can find researched at this page. It might not be the same as playing a sport, but will give a similar thrill!
Now, here are the top eight New Zealand rugby and football players with careers overseas:
Midfield back Ryan Crotty made the move to international in 2019. The New Zealand-born rugby union player has played 48 tests for the All Blacks, and scored 12 tries for New Zealand in his international career. He announced that he would leave New Zealand to join Japanese club Kubota Spears in April of that year. “I’m a proud Cantabrian and Christchurch will always be home, but I’m really looking forward to taking on a new challenge in the Top League as part of the Kubota Spears club,” he said.
Born in Auckland, Sam Lousi began his career playing for the New Zealand Warriors Toyota Cup squad, later playing for the Auckland Vulcans in the NSW Cup. In 2015, he signed with the NSW Waratahs and later, the New South Wales Country Eagles in the National Rugby Championship. Like Crotty, it was in 2019 that he made the decision to go further abroad to Wales, where he now plays rugby union for the Scarlets.
Forward Chris Wood began his senior career playing in New Zealand football clubs including Cambridge FC, Waikato FC and the Hamilton Wanderers. Born in Auckland in 1991, he made his move to England to play for West Bromwich Albion, making him the fifth New Zealander to play in the Premier League. He’s made moves from there on loan to six clubs, joined Leicester City, following which he was signed for Leeds United. It was in 2017 that Wood signed a four-year contract with Burnley for a club-record fee. He expressed his excitement at returning to the Premier League, saying: “I’ve had tastes of being in there but I’ve never had the chance to give it a proper bash. Coming here I feel I’ve got a proper opportunity to do that. I’ve never started a Premier League game and this is what I want to do.”
His debut was shortly after the 27 of August against Tottenham Hotspur in the premier league, scoring an equaliser in the second minute of stoppage time.
Born in Wellington, New Zealand, Liam Sopoaga is a rugby union player with a family from Samoa. He began his career playing for Wellington at the age of 19, with a debut against Manawatu. He joined the Southland Stags in 2014, and in January 2018 announced he’d be leaving New Zealand to join English side Wasps. His first appearance on the field was as a substitute in the second half of a game in 2018 against the Exeter Chiefs. His full starting debut was made a week later where he scored 18 points that went towards a win against the Leicester Tigers.
Lock and loose forward Steve Luatua joined English Premiership side Bristol in 2017 for their 2017-18 season. This followed seven years of playing for New Zealand sides. He began his career as a member of the New Zealand under 20 team, and made his All Blacks debut in June 2013 in a game versus France in New Zealand. He’s scored 35 points for Bristol as a blindside flanker and lock.
Max Crocombe was born in Auckland, but moved to England before his goalkeeping career began. At the age of 16 he signed for Buckingham town, before joining Oxford United. After several loans he left Oxford to join Salford city in 2017. In 2019 he joined Australian A-League side Brisbane Roar. He’s played for New Zealand as part of the Under-20s, Under-23s and Senior team in his international career.
A New Zealand Rugby Union player form Tokomaru, Liam Squire is best known for his three-year career as an All Black player and currently plays in the blindside flanker and number 8 position for Tasman. He has previously played for the Highlanders and Chiefs in Super rugby as well as New Zealand’s Maori international side. Making a move abroad, Squire will join the NTT DoCoMo Red Hurricanes in Japan following the 2019 season. In a statement to the press about the move he said: “It seems like the right time to go. I have really loved my time in New Zealand with the Tasman Mako and in particular down here with the Highlanders, it’s a club that gave me a chance and I appreciate the support I have had in the south.”