Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Heinken Cup Quarter Finalists Squad Composition

The ERC’s Heineken Cup is the true pinnacle of international rugby professionalism we are told constantly. Where our very best players have been lured by (previously) favourable exchange rates and the new experience of ‘real knockout rugby’ ... yes, this was constantly held up before last year as an Achilles Heel-type problem the Southern Hemisphere teams faced.

Not so much lately: the Pound is no longer King, the Euro is basically knackered .. and oh,  look, the Rugby World Cup is safe in New Zealand for FOUR MORE YEARS!

But I digress. I did a graphical representation a while back of where the players in our NZ Super 15 teams came from, and I also wondered how this sort of thing might look when applied to the top teams in England, France, Ireland and Wales. There’s no real surprises that each team takes the bulk of its players from their own domestic pool, but what is interesting is how rainbow-like some teams are (Sarries and Clermont) and how others blend only players from 2, 3 or 4 countries (Munster & Leinster).

Don't know if anyone has any thoughts on whether this means owners have deep pockets or good shopping talents ... its clear the ‘home grown’ players in these squads are also heavily represented in their respective nations’ Test Squads.

So, waddaya reckon? Please note there is some rough accounting and rounding here, and I left poor Gavin Henson in.


Bailey said...

The Irish provinces tend to be dominated by Irish players as all irish players are split between 4 teams domestically. Hence not much room for foreign talent!

Whereas Sarries who have always had an intenrational flavour and French teams have a far more multi-cultural look anyways. The French league contains a lot more eastern Europeans for example, who already live there anyway.

For example Dmitri Yachvilli (who plays for France) is of Georgian heritage.

I've previewed the games too. Looking forward to it!

Anonymous said...

There are definitely players in there who aren't in the HEC squad so it would be interesting to see how this affects the graphs. Is it the overseas or home grown players that drop out

slugso said...

Bailey - yeah, the Irish seem to be more picky definitely, balancing their own domestic needs nicely.

I think Sarries seem the most 'rainbow'. There are a ton of South Africans in England, I might be right in thinking they had quite a favourable residency rule for a while i.e. they were not counted as foreign players? Could be wrong.

Yachvilli is one of those strange cases where his eligibility evolved. Jared Payne will be eligible for Ireland in another two seasons I think.

Cheers for the feedback, off to your post now.

slugso said...


Definitley not 100% the lists - they are as you point out the clubs entire squads (on Wiki) for teh season, so yeah, some players will not feature in HC at all. Plus, as someone on Twitter pointed out, Brad Thorn has just arrived on loan to Leinster and he is not in here.

Do you know if there are ERC rules about the number of foreign players you can use? I know UEFA is gradually tightening up on this.

Was just interested to see whether my view that there was a crazy, huge srpread of ex-pat ex-Test players across the final 8 ... and I don't think that;s an easy generalisation to make. Ireland obviously protect themselves a bit from the foreign hordes, as do Wales in a way by picking players only in Wales.

This might also mean potential Boks have returned home from Europe depending on SARUs current policy. One thing for sure ... there are no All Black current stars here. The money is not good enough to replace the black jersey, and that is a good thing.

Though this year, Japan seems to be luring more players for short stints ... I sense another graphic coming on. Admit I know nothing about Japan.

Anonymous said...

there is alot of them that do drop out but they need more players
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