List of players who have converted from one football code to another

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There are many players who have converted from one football code to another or even changed from other sports at a professional or representational level. In some cases, the player may also return to the original code, so the traffic is not merely one way.

In some countries, such as the United Kingdom or Australia where multiple codes are popular and the practice of switching codes is relatively common they are known simply as a code convert.[1] In Australia star code converts can have a substantial impact on the football codes. For instance, Dally Messenger's defection from rugby union to rugby league was considered a pivotal moment in the establishment of the latter code over other codes in Australia.[2][3]

Globalisation is increasing the opportunities for players to transfer to different countries and to different professional sports, including the codes of football.

From American football[edit]

American football to Canadian football[edit]

Because American and Canadian football are both gridiron codes, they are very similar, and most players can easily change back and forth between the two codes without much difficulty. Below is only a partial list of players who have made the transition from the NFL to the CFL.

Name Country Top American football level Top Canadian football level American Football debut Canadian football debut
Robert Edwards USA NFL CFL 1998 2005
Mervyn Fernandez USA NFL CFL 1987 1994
Doug Flutie USA NFL CFL
Mark Gastineau USA NFL CFL
Shaun King USA NFL CFL
Lawrence Phillips USA NFL CFL
Casey Printers USA NFL CFL
Andre Rison USA NFL CFL
Ricky Williams USA NFL CFL
Cleo Lemon USA NFL CFL
Chad Johnson USA NFL CFL 2001 2014

Troy Smith

American football to rugby league[edit]

Name Country Top American Football Level Top Rugby League Level Top representation level
Manfred Moore USA NFL New South Wales Rugby Football League -
Philippe Gardent France NFL Europe National League One -

American football to rugby union[edit]

Name Country Top American football level Top rugby union level Top representation level
Bennie Brazell USA NFL (injured reserve) USA sevens
Dave Hodges USA NCAA Division III Celtic League USA (15s)
Carlin Isles USA NFL (practice squad) Pro12 USA sevens
Dan Lyle USA NCAA Division I FCS English Premiership USA (15s)
Leonard Peters USA NFL (practice squad) USA Rugby Men's Club Division I USA (7s and 15s)
Richard Tardits France, later USA NFL Top 14 USA (15s)

NB:

  • Isles made the Detroit Lions practice squad late in the 2013 season, after having become a sevens international. However, he never appeared in an NFL game, and has since signed a professional contract in 15s.
  • Tardits switched codes twice: to American football as a young adult, and back to rugby union after a brief NFL career. He played for Biarritz Olympique and the France under-21 national team before switching to American football, and played for the USA national team after returning to his original code.

American football to Australian rules football[edit]

Name Country Top American Football Level Top Australian rules football Level Top representation level
Dwayne Armstrong USA NCAA Division I FBS Australian Football League (reserves) -

From Association football[edit]

Association football to American football[edit]

Numerous American football placekickers grew up playing football (soccer); however, very few have competed at a very high level in their original code. A large number of the first "soccer-style" placekickers of the 1960s and early 1970s were Europeans and Latin Americans who changed codes in adulthood. Eventually, kickers who changed codes in adulthood were largely, though not completely, displaced by players who were either born and raised in the U.S. or immigrated to the U.S. at a relatively early age, thus receiving more exposure to American football than most of the first soccer-style placekickers.

Most of the women to have played men's American football have crossed over from soccer.

Name Country Top Football (Soccer) Level Top American football Level Top representation level
Phil Alexander England Norwich City F.C. London Monarchs N/A
Clive Allen England Tottenham Hotspur F.C. London Monarchs England national football team
Jesús Angoy Spain FC Barcelona Barcelona Dragons N/A
Chris Bahr USA Philadelphia Atoms Oakland/LA Raiders, 2 others N/A
Matt Bahr USA Colorado Caribous, Tulsa Roughnecks Cleveland Browns, New York Giants, 4 others N/A
Manfred Burgsmüller Germany Werder Bremen Rhein Fire Germany national football team
Toni Fritsch Austria Rapid Vienna Dallas Cowboys, San Diego Chargers,
Houston Oilers, New Orleans Saints
Austria national football team (soccer)
Pro Bowl (American football)
Axel Kruse GDR,
Germany
Hansa Rostock, Hertha BSC,
Eintracht Frankfurt, VfB Stuttgart
Berlin Thunder East Germany national under-21 football team
(soccer)
Tony Meola USA MetroStars, Kansas City Wizards New York Jets (didn't pass tryouts) US National Team (soccer)
Neil O'Donoghue Ireland Shamrock Rovers Buffalo Bills N/A
Derek Smethurst South Africa Chelsea, Millwall, Tampa Bay Rowdies Tampa Bay Buccaneers (cut due to injury) N/A (due to apartheid, RSA banned from FIFA, 1964–91)
Liz Heaston USA Willamette Bearcats Willamette Bearcats First female to play college football
Ashley Martin USA Jacksonville State Gamecocks Jacksonville State Gamecocks First female to play NCAA football
Julie Harshbarger USA Rockford College, Benedictine University Chicago Pythons First female to score a field goal in professional football

Association football to Gaelic football[edit]

Name Country Top soccer Level Top Gaelic football Level Top representation level Playing Era
Ciarán Lyng Ireland Preston North End F.C., Shrewsbury Town F.C., Ireland underage teams Wexford senior football team 2000s
Shane Supple Ireland Ipswich Town F.C., Falkirk F.C. Dublin senior football team 2000s
Anthony Tohill Ireland Derry City F.C., Manchester United F.C. Reserves Derry senior football team 1990s, 2000s

Association football to rugby union[edit]

Association football to rugby league[edit]

Name Country Top soccer Level Top rugby league Level Top representation level Playing Era
Ted Bateson England Blackburn Rovers Wakefield Trinity none 1920s

From Australian rules football[edit]

Australian rules football to American football[edit]

Notably, the specialist American football punting role requires similar skills to those found in Australian football players.

Former Australian rules footballer Pat O'Dea was regarded as one of American Football's finest punters
Name Country Top Aussie rules level Top American football level Top representation level Aussie Rules Debut American Football Debut
Pat O'Dea Australia VFA College football N/A 1890s 1896
Colin Ridgeway Australia VFL (reserves) NFL N/A 1960s 1965
Darren Bennett Australia AFL NFL N/A 1987 1995
Ben Graham Australia AFL NFL Australia (Inter-rules) 1992 2005
Nathan Chapman Australia AFL NFL (rookie) N/A 1992 2004
Saverio Rocca Australia AFL NFL N/A 1992 2007
Chris Bryan Australia AFL NFL N/A 2005 2010
Scott Harding Australia AFL Division I (NCAA) N/A 2006 2011

Australian rules football to Canadian football[edit]

Name Country Top Aussie rules level Top American football level Top representation level Aussie Rules Debut American Football Debut
Josh Bartel[6] Australia Ovens & Murray Football League Canadian Football League N/A 2012

Australian rules football to Association football[edit]

The technique of kicking grubber goals and scissor kicking in Aussie Rules is similar to goal striking in soccer, and International Rules participation provides experience with the round ball and even goal keeping.

As well as the players below, some player have been known to have played amateur level soccer after retiring from the AFL include Gary Ablett, James Hird, Gavin Wanganeen,[7] Glenn Manton and Ang Christou.

Name Country Top Aussie rules level Top Soccer level Top representation level Aussie Rules Debut Soccer Debut
Peter Bevilaqua Australia VFL Victorian Premier League N/A 1953 1954
Angelo Lekkas Australia AFL with Hawthorn Victorian Premier League with South Melbourne Australia (Inter-rules) 1993 2005
Fred Agius Australia SANFL with Central Districts A-League with North Queensland Fury Olyroos 2003 2003

Australian rules football to Gaelic football[edit]

Some players involved in the Irish Experiment to play professional Australian rules football returned to Ireland and went on to be notable in senior football. Such players have included:

Name Country Top Australian Rules Level Top Gaelic football Level Top representation level Aussie Rules Debut Gaelic football Debut
Paul Earley Ireland AFL All-Ireland Senior Football Championship NA 1984 1985
Dermot McNicholl Ireland AFL Derry All-Ireland winner 1993 NA 1989 1991
Anthony Tohill Ireland Melbourne Demons reserves Derry senior football team Ireland (Inter-rules) 1990 1991
Brian Stynes Ireland AFL Dublin All-Ireland winner 1995 Ireland (Inter-rules), Ireland (AR) 1992 1995
Tadhg Kennelly Ireland AFL premiership 2005 Kerry All-Ireland winner 2009 Ireland (Inter-rules) 2001 2009

Australian rules football to rugby union[edit]

As in rugby league and Australian rules, early in the history of the two codes in Australia the two codes were interchangeable[citation needed]. There is a much greater divide today. Jason Akermanis was the first professional Australian football player to suggest a switch to rugby union.[8] Nevertheless, there are still some positions and roles that have commonalities.[9] Also at amateur level, conversion is quite common, as in the case of many start-up Australian Rules clubs in countries such as France[10] and developing Aussie Rules countries such as New Zealand and Samoa where there are dual-internationals at junior level.

Name Country Top Aussie rules Level Top rugby union Level Top representation level Aussie Rules Debut Rugby Union Debut
Nick Evans New Zealand Falcons Under 21 All Blacks New Zealand U21 (AR), New Zealand (RU)
Rambo Tavana Samoa Samoa Manu Samoa Samoa (AR), Samoa (RU)
Mikaele Pesamino Samoa Samoa Manu Samoa and Manu Sevens Samoa (AR), Samoa (RU) 2002 2007
Alec Boswell Timms[11][12] Australia/Scotland Victorian Football Association Scotland/British Isles Scotland/British Isles (RU)
Reg Morrison[citation needed] Australia/Scotland Geelong Scotland/British Isles Scotland/British Isles (RU)
Israel Folau Australia Greater Western Sydney New South Wales Australia (RU) 2011 2013

Australian rules football to rugby league[edit]

Early in the history of the two codes in Australia, players would interchange the codes and even had discussions of merging them into a single game.[13] Rugby league has since evolved to specialise in physicality and body type making it more difficult for successful conversion between the two, although it does sometimes happen at junior level and in areas where both codes are played. League great Darren Lockyer played Aussie Rules at a junior level in Queensland,[14] as did Marcus Bai in Papua New Guinea. Players of both codes at Junior levels have included Peter Sterling[citation needed] (League) and Paul Kelly (AFL). Greg Brentnall played Australian Football in Riverina in the 1960s before turning down an offer to play in the VFL/AFL and switching to rugby league taking up a contract with the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in 1972.

Name Country Top Aussie rules Level Top rugby league Level Top representation level Aussie Rules Debut Rugby League Debut
Barry Spring Australia QAFL (Mayne) QRL (Norths) QRL First Grade premiership
Adrian Barich Australia AFL ARL reserve grade NSW, WA (AR)

From Canadian football[edit]

Canadian football to American football[edit]

Because American and Canadian football are both gridiron codes, they are very similar, and most players can easily change back and forth between the two codes without much difficulty. Below is only a partial list of players who have made the transition from the CFL to the NFL.

Name Country Top Canadian football level Top American football level
Brandon Browner USA CFL NFL
Mervyn Fernandez USA CFL NFL
Doug Flutie USA CFL NFL
Jerrell Freeman USA CFL NFL
Jeff Garcia USA CFL NFL
Joe Kapp USA CFL NFL
Harald Hasselbach Netherlands CFL NFL
Raghib Ismail USA CFL NFL
Warren Moon USA CFL NFL
Casey Printers USA CFL NFL
Mike Sellers USA CFL NFL
Joe Theismann USA CFL NFL
Mike Vanderjagt Canada CFL NFL
Cameron Wake USA CFL NFL
Graham Harrell USA CFL NFL

From Gaelic football[edit]

Gaelic football is especially vulnerable to code-switching, for reasons outlined by rugby union journalist Hugh Farrelly in 2009:

Gaelic football to Association football[edit]

Name Country Top Gaelic football Level Top soccer level Top representation level
Kevin Moran Ireland All-Ireland Football Championship winner with Dublin GAA Football League First Division with Manchester United F.C. Republic of Ireland national football team
Niall Quinn Ireland Dublin County Minor Team (both Gaelic Football & Hurling) Premiership With Arsenal F.C., Manchester City F.C. & Sunderland A.F.C Republic of Ireland national football team
Kevin Doyle Ireland Wexford County Minor Team Premiership with Reading F.C. and Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. Republic of Ireland national football team
Shane Long Ireland Tipperary County Minor Team Premiership With Reading F.C. and West Bromwich Albion F.C Republic of Ireland national football team
Martin O'Neill Ireland Derry County Minor Team Football League First Division and European Cup winner With Nottingham Forest Northern Ireland national football team
Neil Lennon Ireland Armagh County Minor Team Scottish Premier League With Celtic F.C. Northern Ireland national football team
Cillian Sheridan Ireland Cavan County Minor Team Scottish Premier League With Celtic F.C. and Motherwell F.C.; Football League Championship with Plymouth Argyle F.C.; Bulgarian premier league with CSKA Sofia. Republic of Ireland national football team
  • Jack Kirwan (Dublin GAA) / St James Gate, Tottenham Hotspur & Everton F.C.
  • Val Harris (Dublin GAA) / Shelbourne & Everton FC
  • Con Martin (Dublin GAA) / Leeds United, Aston Villa

Gaelic football to Australian rules football[edit]

Like rugby union and league, the two codes share similarities, making switching between them a possibility. International rules representation for players of both codes is common. The Gaelic Athletic Association prohibits professionalism, meaning that there is a financial lure for players to compete in the professional elite Aussie Rules competitions in Australia.[16]

Name Country Top Gaelic level Top Aussie rules level Top representation level Gaelic football Debut Aussie Rules Debut
Sean Wight Scotland Kerry minor (Under-18) AFL NA 1982 1985
Paul Earley Ireland Gaelic Athletic Association VFL NA 1982 1984
Dermot McNicholl Ireland Derry All-Ireland winner 1993 AFL NA 1980 1990
Brian Stynes Ireland Dublin All-Ireland winner 1995 AFL Ireland (Inter-rules), Ireland (AR) 198? 1992
Jim Stynes Ireland Dublin All-Ireland (Minor) winner 1994 AFL (Brownlow Medallist) Ireland (Inter-rules) 1984 1987
Tadhg Kennelly Ireland Kerry All-Ireland winner 2009 AFL premiership 2005 Ireland (Inter-rules) 2001-
Colm Begley Ireland Gaelic Athletic Association AFL Ireland (Inter-rules) 2006-
Martin Clarke Ireland Down All-Ireland (Minor) winner 2005 AFL Ireland (Inter-rules) 2005-
Pearce Hanley Ireland Mayo GAA AFL Ireland (Inter-rules) 2008-
Michael Quinn Ireland Gaelic Athletic Association AFL N/A 2009-
Kevin Dyas Ireland Gaelic Athletic Association AFL N/A 2009-
Jamie O'Reilly Ireland Gaelic Athletic Association AFL N/A 2010-
Zach Tuohy Ireland Gaelic Athletic Association AFL Ireland (Inter-rules) 2011-
Caolan Mooney Ireland Down GAA AFL N/A 2012-

Gaelic football to Rugby Union[edit]

Up until the mid-1990s, both codes were officially amateur. However the professionalisation of rugby union has provided a financial lure.

Name Country Top Gaelic football level Top rugby union Level Top representation level
David Beggy Ireland Meath senior football team Leinster Rugby
Tommy Bowe Ireland Monaghan Minor (u-18) football team Ulster Rugby, Ospreys Ireland national rugby union team, British and Irish Lions
Shane Byrne Ireland Local minor (under-18) team Leinster Rugby, Saracens Ireland national rugby union team, British and Irish Lions
Mick Galwey Ireland Kerry County Team Munster Rugby Ireland national rugby union team
Brian Rigney Ireland Local Team, Laois Leinster Rugby Ireland national rugby union team
Brian Carney Ireland Local team Munster Rugby Ireland national rugby union team
Tomás O'Leary Ireland Cork Minors (captain) Munster Rugby Ireland national rugby union team
Moss Keane Ireland UCC GAA, Kerry under-21 Munster Rugby Ireland national rugby union team, British and Irish Lions
Gavin Duffy Ireland Mayo GAA minor (under-18) football team Connacht Rugby, NEC Harlequins Ireland national rugby union team
Shane Horgan Ireland Meath GAA minor (under-18) football team Leinster Rugby Ireland national rugby union team, British and Irish Lions
Geordan Murphy Ireland Kildare GAA minor (under-18) football team Leicester Tigers Ireland national rugby union team, British and Irish Lions
Rob Kearney Ireland Louth GAA minor (under-18) football team Leinster Rugby Ireland national rugby union team, British and Irish Lions
Dick Spring Ireland Kerry GAA Munster Rugby, London Irish Ireland national rugby union team

NB: Byrne changed codes twice. He first switched to rugby union as a teenager, then returned to Gaelic football after a long professional rugby career. This entry discusses his Gaelic football career before his first code switch.

Gaelic football to Rugby league[edit]

Name Country Top Gaelic football level Top rugby league Level Top representation level
Brian Carney Ireland Local football team Super League / NRL Great Britain (RL)

see also Category:Gaelic football players who switched code

From rugby union[edit]

Rugby union to Association football[edit]

Name Country Top rugby union Level Top association football Level Top representation level Playing Era
J.W. Sutcliffe England Bradford F.C./Heckmondwike Bolton Wanderers/Manchester United England (both) 1880s/1910s
Adam Holloway England Henley Hawks/
Crusaders
Strathcona Terriers FC England/New Zealand/Canada 2000s
Tony Ward Ireland Munster/Ireland/British and Irish Lions Shamrock Rovers/Limerick United British and Irish Lions 1970s and 1980s
Tommy Moroney Ireland Munster West Ham United Republic of Ireland 1940s
Aaron Ramsey Wales Caerphilly RFC (youth team) Cardiff City/Arsenal Wales 2000s
Henry Renny-Tailyour Scotland Scotland Royal Engineers A.F.C. Scotland 1870s, 1880s
Martín Terán Argentina Tucumán Rugby Club, Nacional de Clubes Atlético Tucumán Argentina 1996-1997
Ted Bateson England Yorkshire, Skipton RFC Blackburn Rovers Yorkshire (RU) 1920s

Rugby union to Gaelic football[edit]

Name Country Top rugby union Level Top Gaelic football Level Top representation level Playing Era
Shane Byrne Ireland Leinster Rugby, Ireland, British and Irish Lions Aughrim GAA 1990s, 2000s
Eric Miller Ireland Old Wesley, Leicester Tigers, Leinster, the Barbarians, Ireland, British and Irish Lions Dublin senior football team Dublin senior football team 1990s, 2000s

Rugby league / rugby union[edit]

Two of the closest codes, they share some similar skills. Until 1995 union was "officially amateur" and union players were offered money to switch codes. That trend has since reversed. Conversion from one code to the other is more difficult for forwards rather than backs where the similarities are most adjacent. It is worth noting that several players, including Iestyn Harris and Mat Rogers, have converted between the two codes on more than one occasion.

Rugby union to rugby league[edit]

Name Country Top rugby union level Top rugby league level Top representation level Playing Era
Frano Botica New Zealand All Blacks NZ Kiwis, NRL New Zealand (RU/RL) Croatia (RU) 1980/90s
Michael Cleary Australia Wallabies NSWRL Australia (RU/RL) 1960s
Ryan Cross Australia Wallabies NRL Australian Schoolboys (RU) 2000s
Arthur Daniels Wales Club (Llanelli) Rugby Football League Championship Wales/Great Britain (RL) 1940s/50s
Jonathan Davies Wales Welsh Premier Division Super League Wales/Great Britain (RL) Wales (RU) 1980s/90s
Marc Ellis New Zealand All Blacks NRL New Zealand (RU/RL) 1990s
Rocky Elsom Australia Wallabies Junior Australia (RU) 2000s
George Fairbairn Scotland SRU national league/Kelso RFC Rugby Football League Championship Great Britain 1970/80s
Russell Fairfax Australia Wallabies NSWRL Australia (RU) 1970s
Ray French England England Rugby Football League Championship Great Britain
John Gallagher New Zealand All Blacks Super League New Zealand (RU) 1980s
Scott Gibbs Wales Welsh Premier Division Super League Wales/Great Britain (RL/RU) 1990s
Scott Gourley Australia Wallabies NSWRL Australia (RU/RL) 1980s
Daryl Halligan New Zealand NPC NZ Kiwis New Zealand (RL) 1990s
Sam Harris Australia Super Rugby NRL Australian Schoolboys (RU) City v. Country (RL) 2000s
Nigel Heslop England International Rugby Football League Championship England 1990s
Craig Innes New Zealand All Blacks NRL New Zealand (RU/RL) 1990s
Ben Kennedy Australia Australian U-21 NRL Australia (RL) 1990s/2000s
Wally Lewis Australia Australian Schoolboys NRL Australia (RL) 1977/1992
Cooper Cronk Australia Australian Schoolboys NRL Australia (RL) 2000s
John Kirwan New Zealand All Blacks NRL New Zealand (RU) 1980/90s
Tony Melrose Australia --- NSWRL Australia (RU) 1980s
Dally Messenger Australia Wallabies NSWRL Australia (RL) 1900s
Garrick Morgan Australia Wallabies NRL Australia (RU) 1990s
Rex Mossop Australia Wallabies NSWRL Australia (RU/RL) 1950s
Noa Nadruku Fiji Fiji international National Rugby League Fiji (RU/RL) 1990s
Michael O'Connor Australia Wallabies NSWRL Australia (RU/RL) 1980/90s
Brett Papworth Australia Wallabies NSWRL Australia (RU) 1980s
Ray Price Australia Wallabies NSWRL Australia (RU/RL) 1980s
Scott Quinnell Wales Wales Super League Wales (RU/RL) 1990s/2000s
Matthew Ridge New Zealand All Blacks NRL New Zealand (RU/RL) 1980s/90s
Kevin Ryan Australia Wallabies NSWRL Australia (RU/RL) 1950s/1960s
Wendell Sailor Australia Wallabies Kangaroos Australia (RU/RL) 1990s/2000s
Brian Smith Australia, Ireland Wallabies, Ireland NSWRL Australia (RU), Ireland (RU) 1980s/1990s
Ricky Stuart Australia Wallabies, Ireland NRL Australia (RU & RL) 1980s/1990s
George Smith New Zealand All Blacks All Golds New Zealand (RU/RL) 1900s
Alan Tait Scotland Scotland /1997 Lions Tour Rugby Football League Championship Great Britain 1980/90s
Brad Thorn New Zealand All Blacks Kangaroos Australia (RL) New Zealand (RU) 1994–present
John Timu New Zealand All Blacks NZ Kiwis New Zealand (RU/RL) 1990s
Va'aiga "Inga" Tuigamala New Zealand All Blacks Super League New Zealand (RU) Western Samoa (RL) 1990s
Lesley Vainikolo Tonga England Super League England (RU) New Zealand (RL) 2000s
Dave Valentine Scotland Scotland Super League Scotland (RU), Great Britain, Empire XIII (RL) 1940s, 1950s
Rob Valentine Scotland Scotland Super League Scotland (RU) Great Britain, Other Nationalities (RL) 1960s, 1970s
Sonny Bill Williams New Zealand All Blacks NZ Kiwis, NRL New Zealand (RL/RU) 2004–present
Roy Muir Kinnear Scotland Scotland, British and Irish Lions Great Britain Scotland, B&I Lions (RU) Great Britain, Other Nationalities (RL) 1920s, 1930s
Gareth Thomas Wales Wales, British and Irish Lions Wales, Super League Wales (RU/RL) 1994–2011

Rugby union to American football[edit]

Rugby union and American football share the same origins, but have evolved into very different games. Both are very physical and require similar body types.

Name Country Top rugby union level Top American football level Top representation level Playing Era
Terry Price Wales British Lions, Wales, Llanelli RFC NFL, Buffalo Bills British Lions (RU), Wales (RU), Great Britain (RL), Wales (RL) 1960s…70s
Colin Scotts Australia Australian schoolboys NFL Australia 1980s
Steve Tasker United States Northwestern University NFL, Buffalo Bills Pro Bowl 1985–1997
Gavin Hastings Scotland International WLAF Scotland/British Lions 1990s
Gary Parker Scotland Club (Melrose RFC) WLAF N/A 1980s/90s
Gary Anderson South Africa Brettonwood High School, Durban, South Africa NFL, Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, Minnesota Vikings, Tennessee Titans N/A 1982–2004
Richard Tardits France,
later USA
Biarritz Olympique, USA NFL, Arizona Cardinals, New England Patriots USA Rugby 1980s/90s
David Dixon New Zealand New Zealand under-19 NFL, Minnesota Vikings New Zealand 1994–2004
Haloti Ngata United States Highland High School, Salt Lake City, Utah NFL, Baltimore Ravens N/A 2006–present
Stewart Bradley United States Highland High School, Salt Lake City, Utah NFL, Philadelphia Eagles N/A 2007–present
Hayden Smith United States Saracens F.C. NFL, New York Jets USA Rugby 2012–present

Rugby union to Australian rules football[edit]

In recent years, several schoolboy rugby union players have made a transition to Australian Rules, including Ray Smith (Queensland Under 19), Jim Stynes, Lewis Roberts-Thomson, Aaron Edwards, Adam Campbell (New Zealand Under 15), Daniel Merrett, Brad Moran (West Midlands (England) Under 16) and Tom Williams (Queensland Under 16).

In 2012, Canadian Mike Pyke became the first former professional rugby player to win an AFL premiership.

Name Country Top Rugby union Top Aussie rules level Top representation level Rugby Union Debut Australian Rules Debut
Mike Pyke Canada Top 14 (France) AFL premiership 2012, Sydney Swans Canada (rugby) 2002 2009
Karmichael Hunt New Zealand, Australia Top 14, Biarritz Olympique AFL, Gold Coast 2009 2011

From Rugby League[edit]

Rugby league to rugby union[edit]

While the traffic used to be almost entirely from rugby union to rugby league, the tide has now turned the other way, and numerous rugby league players have gone over to union, since the game was professionalised.

Name Country Top rugby league level Top union level Top representation level Rugby League Debut Rugby Union Debut
Karmichael Hunt New Zealand, Australia National Rugby League Top 14, Biarritz Olympique Australia (RL) 2004 2009
Chris Ashton England Super League English Premiership England (RL), England (RU) 2005 2007
Lee Smith England Super League English Premiership England (RL), Great Britain (RL) 2005 2009
Berrick Barnes Australia NRL Super Rugby Australia (RU) 2005 2006
Nathan Blacklock Australia NRL/Super League Super 12 Australia (RL) 1995 2003
Willie Carne Australia NRL Super Rugby Australia (RL) 1990 1997
Brian Carney Ireland Super League/NRL Celtic League Great Britain (RL), Ireland (RU) 1999 2007
Ryan Cross Australia NRL Super Rugby Australia (RU) 1998 2007
Andy Farrell England Super League English Premiership Great Britain (RL), England (RU) 1991 2005
Paul Franze Australia NRL English Premiership Australia (RL), London Irish(RU) 2002 2006
Iestyn Harris Wales Super League Heineken Cup, Celtic League Great Britain (RL), Wales(RU) 1993 2001
Sam Harris Australia NRL Super Rugby Australian Schoolboys (RU), City v. Country (RL) 2003 2007
Wise Kativerata Australia NRL Shute Shield Australia Sevens (RU) 2001 2004
Ben MacDougall Australia NRL Celtic League Scotland (RU) 1998 2006
Stephen Myler England Super League English Premiership England Saxons (RU) 2001 2006
Henry Paul New Zealand NRL English Premiership New Zealand (RL), England (RU) 1993 2001
Jason Robinson England Super League English Premiership Great Britain (RL), England Captain and Lions (RU) 1991 1996
Mat Rogers Australia NRL Super Rugby Australia (RL/RU) 1995 2002
Wendell Sailor Australia NRL Super Rugby Australia (RL/RU) 1993 2002
Clinton Schifcofske Australia NRL/Super League Super Rugby State of Origin {RL}/Australia A (RU) 1996 2006
Timana Tahu Australia NRL Super Rugby Australia (RL/RU) 1999 2008
Alan Tait Scotland Super League Celtic League Scotland (RL/RU), Great Britain (RL), British & Irish Lions (RU) 1988 1996
Brad Thorn Australia NRL Super Rugby Australia (RL), New Zealand (RU) 1994 2001
Lote Tuqiri Australia NRL Super Rugby Australia (RL/RU), Fiji (RL) 1999 2003
Lesley Vainikolo England NRL, Super League English Premiership New Zealand (RL), England (RU) 2002 2007
Andrew Walker Australia NRL Super Rugby Australia (RL/RU) 1991 2000
Chev Walker England Super League English Premiership Great Britain (RL), England Saxons (RU) 1999 2007
Barrie Jon Mather England RFL Championship/Super League England RU Great Britain (RL), England (RL), England (RU)[17] 1992 1998
Sonny Bill Williams New Zealand NRL Top 14, Super Rugby New Zealand Kiwis (RL), New Zealand All Blacks (RU) 2004 2008
Craig Wing Australia NRL Top League Australian Kangaroos (RL), Japan (RU) 2002 2010
Craig Gower Australia NRL Top 14 Australian Kangaroos (RL), Italy (RU) 1996 2008
Mark Gasnier Australia NRL Top 14 Australian Kangaroos (RL) 2000 2008
Shontayne Hape New Zealand NRL, Super League English Premiership New Zealand Kiwis (RL), England (RU) 2003 2008
Fabrice Estebanez France Super League Top 14 France (RL), France (RU) 2005 2010
Tasesa Lavea New Zealand NRL Super rugby, Top 14 New Zealand Kiwis (RL), Samoa (RU) 2000 2010
Cooper Vuna New Zealand NRL Super rugby Tonga (RL), Australia (RU) 2008 2012
Setaimata Sa New Zealand, Samoa NRL, Super League English Premiership New Zealand Kiwis (RL), Samoa (RL), Samoa (RU) 2008 2012
Peter Ryan Australia NRL Super Rugby Queensland (RL) 1989 2000

Rugby league to Australian rules football[edit]

In recent years, several junior and schoolboy rugby league players have made a transition to Australian rules, including Wayne Carey,[18] Paul Kelly,[19] Kieren Jack,[20] Michael McLean,[21] Andrew McLeod,[21] Jared Brennan,[21] Matthew Whelan,[21] and Sam Gilbert.[22]

Name Country Top rugby league level Top Aussie Rules level Top representation level Rugby League Debut Australian Rules Debut
Ray Smith[23] Australia Queensland Rugby League VFL[24] Queensland (RL) 1970 1971
Fabian Francis Australia Northern Territory Rugby League Australian Football League Northern Territory (RL) / Aboriginal All-Stars (AR) 1992 1993
Karmichael Hunt Australia National Rugby League Australian Football League Australian Kangaroos (RL) 2004 2009
Israel Folau Australia National Rugby League Australian Football League Australian Kangaroos 2007 2010

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Globalisation and the future of indigenous football codes. Lionel Frost. Economic Society of Australia. 2004
  2. ^ http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/06/24/1960300.htm
  3. ^ http://www.rl1908.com/Rugby-Rebellion/bookrelease.htm
  4. ^ "Player Profiles — Melissa Ruscoe". New Zealand Rugby Union. Retrieved 2010-08-19. 
  5. ^ Lothian, Bill (16 May 2005). "Hadden can follow in my footsteps, says Dwyer". scotsman.com. Retrieved 2006-11-11. 
  6. ^ http://www.ctvnews.ca/sports/australian-punter-turns-heads-for-hamilton-tiger-cats-1.1557976
  7. ^ http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/sport/afl/story/0,26547,23541454-5016212,00.html Wanga's new passion
  8. ^ http://aru.rugby.com.au/news/2002_june/akermanis_serious_about_union_switch_14128,7131.html
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ [2]
  11. ^ Newtown and Chilwell Football Netball Club sportingpulse.com
  12. ^ The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.) Wednesday 20 December 1922 newspapers.nla.gov.au
  13. ^ Australian Rules Football and Rugby League merger
  14. ^ The Midas Touch by Paul Malone from couriermail.com.au
  15. ^ Farrelly, Hugh (2009-09-15). "The most progressive team in Ireland". Scrum.com. Retrieved 2010-01-28.  In this piece, Farrelly also dismisses the International Rules series as a viable international outlet, stating that it "is popular with the combatants but has never captured the public's imagination."
  16. ^ "Begley warns Aussies are watching". GAA http://www.gaa.ie. 2006-01-03. Retrieved 2009-01-26. 
  17. ^ Note: first player to play for both national teams post RU professional era
  18. ^ Wayne Carey: Hell and back by CHARLES HAPPELL for The Age June 3, 2010
  19. ^ Let's chase Johnathan Thurston for AFL: Paul Kelly by Todd Balym for The Daily Telegraph January 21, 2010 12:00AM
  20. ^ Poaching league players worth it: Jack for ABC Grandstand Sport June 25, 2010
  21. ^ a b c d Folau will deliver by GREY MORRIS for Northern Territory News June 3rd, 2010
  22. ^ Defender Sam Gilbert helps lead St Kilda charge towards AFL Premiership Andrew Hamilton for The Courier-Mail September 24, 2009
  23. ^ http://www.sportingpulse.com/assoc_page.cgi?client=1-4711-0-0-0&sID=82235&news_task=DETAIL&articleID=7312030&sectionID=82235
  24. ^ first Queenslander to play 100 AFL games