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] or code hopper. 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]

American football and Canadian football are very similar gridiron codes; talented Canadian youth players are often recruited by American universities offering scholarships, and conversely the Canadian Football League enforces roster minimums for Canadian-trained players to prevent its clubs from fielding American-dominated rosters. The CFL and NFL competed for the same player pool in their earlier years before the CFL settled into a de facto (and from time to time formal) developmental role to its American sister. Dozens of professional players move between these codes' top professional leagues every year, making any attempt at a list incomplete at best.

Two quarterbacks in particular became well-known in both codes. Warren Moon, a California native who starred at the University of Washington, began his professional career with the Edmonton Eskimos before crossing the border back south to the Houston Oilers and later Minnesota Vikings, earning Hall of Fame recognition in both professional leagues. Doug Flutie, who authored a comeback win for Boston College considered an iconic moment in the history of American college football, played a long CFL career that led to him being the first non-Canadian honored with induction to Canada's Sports Hall of Fame before a brief NFL coda.

American football to rugby league[edit]

Name Country Top American Football Level Top Rugby League Level American football debut Rugby league debut
Manfred Moore USA National Football League
(San Francisco/Tampa Bay/Oakland)
New South Wales Rugby Football League
(Newtown)
1974 1977
Philippe Gardent France NFL Europe
(Berlin/Cologne)
National League One
(Crusaders)
2003 2008

American football to rugby union[edit]

Name Country Top American football level Top rugby union level Top representation level American football debut Rugby union debut
Richard Tardits France,
USA
National Football League
(New England)
Top 14
(Biarritz)
USA (15s) 1990 1994
Dan Lyle USA NCAA Division I FCS
(Virginia Military Institute)
English Premiership
(Bath/Leicester)
USA (15s) 1988 1996
Dave Hodges USA NCAA Division III
(Occidental College)
Welsh Premiership
(Llanelli)
USA (15s) 1988 1997
Leonard Peters USA National Football League
(Chicago - Practice squad)
IRB Sevens World Series
(USA)
USA (7s)
USA (15s)
2007 2009
Bennie Brazell USA National Football League
(Cincinnati - Injured reserve)
USA (7s) 2006 2010
Carlin Isles USA National Football League
(Detroit - Practice squad)
Pro12
(Glasgow Warriors)
USA (7s) 2013 2014
Nate Ebner USA National Football League
(New England)
World Rugby Sevens Series
(USA)
USA (7s) 2012 2016
Jarryd Hayne Australia,
Fiji
National Football League
(San Francisco)
World Rugby Sevens Series
(Fiji)
Fiji (7s) 2015 2016

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 American football debut Aussie rules debut
Dwayne Armstrong USA NCAA Division I
(Iowa State)
Australian Football League reserves
(Essendon)
1991 1995
Brandon Kaufman USA National Football League
(Buffalo - Practice squad)
Australian Football League
(Gold Coast)
2013 -

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, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, St. Louis Cardinals 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
Josh Lambo USA FC Dallas San Diego Chargers United States U20 (soccer)

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 Aussie Rules Debut American Football Debut
Pat O'Dea Australia Victorian Football Association
(Melbourne)
College football
(Wisconsin–Madison)
1890s 1896
Colin Ridgeway Australia Victorian Football League reserves
(Carlton)
National Football League
(Dallas)
1960s 1965
Darren Bennett Australia Australian Football League
(West Coast/Melbourne)
National Football League
(San Diego/Minnesota)
1987 1995
Nathan Chapman Australia Australian Football League
(Brisbane/Hawthorn)
National Football League
(Green Bay)
1992 2004
Ben Graham Australia Australian Football League
(Geelong)
National Football League
(New York/New Orleans/Arizona/Detroit)
1992 2005
Saverio Rocca Australia Australian Football League
(Collingwood/North Melbourne)
National Football League
(Philadelphia/Washington)
1992 2007
Chris Bryan Australia Australian Football League
(Carlton/Collingwood)
National Football League
(Green Bay/Tampa Bay/New York)
2005 2010
Scott Harding Australia Australian Football League
(Brisbane/Port Adelaide)
NCAA Division I
(Hawaii)
2006 2011
Joel Wilkinson Australia Australian Football League
(Gold Coast)
National Football League
(Arizona)
2011 2016
Eric Wallace United States Australian Football League
(North Melbourne)
National Football League
(Carolina)
2013 -

Australian rules football to Canadian football[edit]

Name Country Top Aussie rules level Top American football level Aussie Rules Debut Canadian Football Debut
Josh Bartel[6] Australia Ovens & Murray Football League
(Wodonga)
Canadian Football League
(Hamilton/Saskatchewan)
2012

Australian rules football to association football[edit]

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 Victorian Football League
(Carlton)
Victorian Premier League
(Brunswick Juventus)
N/A 1953 1954
Fred Agius Australia South Australian National Football League
(Central Districts)
National Soccer League
(Adelaide United)
Olyroos (Soccer) 2003 2003
Angelo Lekkas Australia Australian Football League
(Hawthorn)
Victorian Premier League
(South Melbourne)
Victoria (AR)
Australia (Inter-rules)
1993 2005

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 Victorian Football League
(Melbourne)
Gaelic Athletic Association
(Roscommon)
Ireland (Inter-rules) 1984 1985
Dermot McNicholl Ireland Victorian Football League
(St Kilda)
Gaelic Athletic Association
(Derry)
Ireland (Inter-rules) 1989 1991
Anthony Tohill Ireland Australian Football League reserves
(Melbourne)
Gaelic Athletic Association
(Derry)
Ireland (Inter-rules) 1990 1991
Brian Stynes Ireland Australian Football League
(Melbourne)
Gaelic Athletic Association
(Dublin)
Ireland (Inter-rules)
Ireland (AR)
1992 1995
Tadhg Kennelly Ireland Australian Football League
(Sydney)
Gaelic Athletic Association
(Kerry)
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
Alec Boswell Timms Australia
Scotland
Victorian Football Association
(Geelong)
Edinburgh University[11][12] Scotland (RU)
British Isles (RU)
1892 1896
Nick Evans New Zealand New Zealand Falcons
(Under 21)
Super 12
(Highlanders)
New Zealand (AR)
New Zealand (RU)
2001 2004
Rambo Tavana Samoa AFL International Cup
(Samoa Bulldogs)
Top 14
(SU Agen)
Samoa (AR)
Samoa (RU)
2002 2006
Mikaele Pesamino Samoa AFL International Cup
(Samoa Bulldogs)
National Provincial Championship
(Auckland)
Samoa (AR)
Samoa (RU/7s)
2002 2007
Israel Folau Australia Australian Football League
(Greater Western Sydney)
Super Rugby
(New South Wales)
Australia (RU) 2011 2013
Stanis Susuve Papua New Guinea Victorian Football League
(Gold Coast)
World Rugby Sevens Series
(Papua New Guinea Pukpuks)
Papua New Guinea (AR)
Papua New Guinea (7s)
2009 2014
Karmichael Hunt Australia Australian Football League
(Gold Coast)
Super Rugby
(Queensland)
Australia (RU) 2011 2015

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, particularly in areas where both codes are played (such as the Riverina region). Though the modern specialist fullback and winger positions in rugby league can be suitable for the body type and skill of some Australian rules players. League greats Darren Lockyer,[14] Glen Lazarus,[15] Greg Brentnall,[16] Peter Sterling[citation needed], Marcus Bai[citation needed] and Kevin Proctor[17] played Aussie Rules at a junior level.

Name Country Top Aussie rules Level Top rugby league Level Top representation level Aussie Rules Debut Rugby League Debut
Barry Spring Australia Queensland Australian National Football League
(Mayne)
Brisbane Rugby League
(Northern Suburbs)
Queensland (AR) 1969[18]
Ray Smith Australia Queensland Australian National Football League
(Western Districts)
Brisbane Rugby League
(Fortitude Valley)
Queensland (AR) 1963 1970
Greg Brentnall Australia Riverina Football League
(Turvey Park)
New South Wales Rugby League
(Canterbury-Bankstown)
New South Wales U18 (AR)
Australia (RL)
1960s 1974[16]
Adrian Barich Australia Australian Football League
(West Coast)
Australian Rugby League reserves
(Western Reds)
New South Wales (AR)
Western Australia (AR)
1987 1995
Rhan Hooper Australia Australian Football League
(Brisbane Lions)
Queensland Rugby League
(Ipswich Jets)
- 2006 2012[19]
Josh Hall Australia Australian Football League
(Gold Coast)
National Rugby League
(Penrith)
- 2012 -
Shem Tatupu Australia Victorian Football League
(Box Hill/Hawthorn)
National Rugby League
(Melbourne Storm)
- 2014 -

From Canadian football[edit]

Canadian football to American football[edit]

As discussed above, Canadian and American football are highly similar gridiron codes. Dozens if not hundreds of players and coaches move back and forth between Canadian and American codes every season and occasionally even within a season, making assembling a list of these players an impossible and largely immaterial task.

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
Jack Kirwan Ireland All-Ireland Championship winner with Dublin FA Cup winner with Tottenham Hotspur F.C. Ireland
Val Harris Ireland All-Ireland Championship winner with Dublin League of Ireland winner and Irish Cup winner with Shelbourne F.C.;
Football League First Division with Everton F.C.
Ireland,
Irish Free State
Con Martin Ireland Leinster Championship winner with Dublin Football League First Division with Leeds United F.C. and Aston Villa F.C. Ireland (FAI),
Ireland (IFA)
Martin O'Neill Northern Ireland Derry minor team Football League First Division winner and European Cup winner with Nottingham Forest Northern Ireland
Kevin Moran Ireland All-Ireland Championship winner with Dublin Football League First Division with Manchester United F.C. Republic of Ireland
Niall Quinn Ireland Dublin minor team Premiership with Arsenal F.C., Manchester City F.C. and Sunderland A.F.C Republic of Ireland
Neil Lennon Northern Ireland Armagh minor team Scottish Premier League winner with Celtic F.C. Northern Ireland
Kevin Doyle Ireland Wexford minor team Premiership with Reading F.C. and Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. Republic of Ireland
Shane Long Ireland Tipperary minor team Premiership with Reading F.C., West Bromwich Albion F.C, Hull City A.F.C. and Southampton F.C. Republic of Ireland
Cillian Sheridan Ireland Cavan minor team UEFA Champions League with APOEL FC Republic of Ireland

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.[21]

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-
Ciarán Byrne Ireland Louth GAA AFL Ireland (Inter-rules) 2014-

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 Playing Era
Dick Spring Ireland Kerry senior team Munster Rugby, London Irish Ireland 1960s, 1970s
Moss Keane Ireland UCC GAA, Kerry under-21 team Munster Rugby Ireland, British and Irish Lions 1970s, 1980s
David Beggy Ireland Meath senior team Leinster Rugby N/A 1980s, 1990s
Brian Rigney Ireland Local Team, Laois Leinster Rugby Ireland 1980s, 1990s
Mick Galwey Ireland Kerry senior team Munster Rugby Ireland 1980s, 1990s, 2000s,
Brian Carney Ireland Valleymount junior team Munster Rugby Ireland 1990s, 2000s
Shane Byrne Ireland Aughrim minor team Leinster Rugby, Saracens Ireland, British and Irish Lions 1990s, 2000s
Geordan Murphy Ireland Kildare minor team Leicester Tigers Ireland, British and Irish Lions 1990s, 2000s, 2010s
Shane Horgan Ireland Meath minor team Leinster Rugby Ireland, British and Irish Lions 1990s, 2000s, 2010s
Gavin Duffy Ireland Mayo minor team Connacht Rugby, NEC Harlequins Ireland 1990s, 2000s, 2010s
Tomás O'Leary Ireland Cork minor team Munster Rugby Ireland 2000s, 2010s
Tommy Bowe Ireland Monaghan minor team Ulster Rugby, Ospreys Ireland, British and Irish Lions 2000s, 2010s
Rob Kearney Ireland Louth minor team Leinster Rugby Ireland, British and Irish Lions 2000s, 2010s
Tiernan O'Halloran Ireland Galway minor team Connacht Rugby Ireland 2000s, 2010s

NB: Byrne and Duffy both changed codes twice. Each first switched to rugby union as a teenager, then returned to Gaelic football after a long professional rugby career. This entry discusses their Gaelic football careers before their first code switch.

Gaelic football to rugby league[edit]

Name Country Top Gaelic football level Top rugby league Level Top representation level Gaelic football debut Rugby league debut
Brian Carney Ireland Gaelic Athletic Association
(Valleymount)
Super League
(Gateshead/Hull/Wigan)
Ireland (RL)
Great Britain (RL)
1998 1999

see also Category:Gaelic footballers 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
Jarlath Fallon Ireland Galwegians, Connacht Tuam Stars senior team, Galway senior team Galway senior team 1990s, 2000s
Shane Byrne Ireland Leinster, Ireland, British and Irish Lions Aughrim senior team 1990s, 2000s
Eric Miller Ireland Leicester Tigers, Leinster, Barbarians, Ireland, British and Irish Lions Ballyboden St. Enda's GAA, Dublin senior team Barbarians, Ireland, British and Irish Lions 1990s, 2000s
Gavin Duffy Ireland Connacht, Harlequins, Ireland Salthill-Knocknacarra senior team, Mayo senior team Ireland 2000s, 2010s

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
Tiaan Strauss South Africa South Africa, Australia NRL with Cronulla Sharks South Africa and Australia (RU) 1986-1999
Tom van Vollenhoven South Africa South Africa Northern Rugby Football League with St Helens South Africa (RU) 1950s-1960s
Rob Louw South Africa South Africa RFL with Wigan South Africa (RU) 1978-1997
Ray Mordt South Africa South Africa Rugby Football League Championship with Wigan South Africa (RU) 1980-1987
Wilf Rosenberg South Africa South Africa Rugby Football League Championship with Leeds and Hull South Africa (RU) 1955-1963

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 Australia Saracens F.C. NFL, New York Jets USA Rugby 2012–present
Naas Botha South Africa South Africa Dallas Cowboys try-outs South Africa 1977-1992

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)
(US Montauban)
Australian Football League
(Sydney)
Canada (RU) 2002 2009
Karmichael Hunt Australia Top 14 (France)
(Biarritz)
Australian Football League
(Gold Coast)
French Barbarians (RU) 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
Sam Burgess England National Rugby League, Super League Aviva Premiership England (NRL, RU), Great Brittan (NRL), NRL All-Stars (NRL) 2006 2014
Reece Robinson Lebanon, Australia National Rugby League Super Rugby Lebanon (NRL), Indigenous All-Stars (NRL) 2008 2016
Matt Duffie New Zealand National Rugby League Super Rugby New Zealand (NRL) 2010 2016
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)[22] 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
Jarrod Saffy Australia NRL Super Rugby None 2006 2011

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,[23] Paul Kelly,[24] Kieren Jack,[25] Michael McLean,[26] Andrew McLeod,[26] Jared Brennan,[26] Matthew Whelan,[26] and Sam Gilbert.[27]

Name Country Top rugby league level Top Aussie Rules level Top representation level Rugby League Debut Australian Rules Debut
Ray Smith[28] Australia Brisbane Rugby League
(Fortitude Valley)
Victorian Football League[29]
(Essendon/Melbourne)
Queensland (RL)
Queensland (AR)
1970 1971
Fabian Francis Australia Northern Territory Rugby League
(Litchfield)
Australian Football League
(Melbourne/Brisbane/Port Adelaide)
Northern Territory (RL)
Aboriginal All-Stars (AR)
1992 1993
Israel Folau Australia National Rugby League
(Melbourne/Brisbane)
Australian Football League
(Greater Western Sydney)
Australia (RL) 2007 2010

Rugby league to American football[edit]

On 3 March 2015 Jarryd Hayne became the first rugby league player (that hadn't already played in the NFL) to sign a contract with a National Football League team.[30]

Name Country Top Rugby league level Top American football level Top representation level Rugby league Debut American football Debut
Manfred Moore USA New South Wales Rugby League
(Newtown)
National Football League
(Minnesota)
N/A 1977 1978
Jarryd Hayne Australia National Rugby League
(Parramatta)
National Football League
(San Francisco)
Australia (RL)
Fiji (RL)
2006 2015

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Globalisation and the future of indigenous football codes. Lionel Frost. Economic Society of Australia. 2004
  2. ^ "Dally Messenger reinstated to NSWRU record books - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". Abc.net.au. 2007-06-24. Retrieved 2015-05-14. 
  3. ^ "Saintsandheathens.Com | Australian Rugby History | Sean Fagan". Rl1908.com. Retrieved 2015-05-14. 
  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. ^ "Australian punter turns heads for Hamilton Tiger-Cats | CTV News". Ctvnews.ca. 2013-11-24. Retrieved 2015-05-14. 
  7. ^ "???". News.com.au. Retrieved 2015-05-14. 
  8. ^ "Official Website of the Australian Rugby Union". Aru.rugby.com.au. Retrieved 2015-05-14. 
  9. ^ "Official Website of Queensland Reds Rugby - redsrugby.com.au". Qru.com.au. Retrieved 2015-05-14. 
  10. ^ Aaron Richard. "French almost pull off an upset against the Reading Roos". World Footy News. Retrieved 2015-05-14. 
  11. ^ "N&Cfnc Detailed History - Newtown & Chilwell - Fox Sports Pulse". Sportingpulse.com. Retrieved 2015-05-14. 
  12. ^ "20 Dec 1922 - SCHOOL SPEECH DAYS. GEELONG COLLEGE. Lady Forste". Trove.nla.gov.au. 1922-12-20. Retrieved 2015-05-14. 
  13. ^ "Saintsandheathens.Com | Australian Rugby History | Sean Fagan". Rl1908.com. Retrieved 2015-05-14. 
  14. ^ "Bennett : My greatest insult". News.com.au. Retrieved 2015-05-14. 
  15. ^ http://senatorlazarus.com/career-overview/
  16. ^ a b http://www.wagga.nsw.gov.au/museum/collections/hall-of-fame/inductees/brentnall,-greg
  17. ^ http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-league/league-news/proctor-the-ultimate-codehopper-20130703-2pcbf.html
  18. ^ Barry Spring didn't do a Sonny Bill on Mayne
  19. ^ http://www.qt.com.au/news/hooper-a-code-hopper-talent-rhan-hooper/1377575/
  20. ^ 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."
  21. ^ "Begley warns Aussies are watching". GAA. 2006-01-03. Retrieved 2009-01-26. 
  22. ^ Note: first player to play for both national teams post RU professional era
  23. ^ Charles Happell. "Wayne Carey: Hell and back". Theage.com.au. Retrieved 2015-05-14. 
  24. ^ "Lets Chase Johnathan Thurston for AFL Paul Kelly". Dailytelegraph.com.au. Retrieved 2015-05-14. 
  25. ^ "Poaching league players worth it: Jack - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". Abc.net.au. 2010-06-25. Retrieved 2015-05-14. 
  26. ^ a b c d [1] Archived March 19, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  27. ^ "Sam Gilbert Helps Lead St Kilda Charge Towards AFL Premiership". Couriermail.com.au. Retrieved 2015-05-14. 
  28. ^ "No. 56 Ray Smith - AFL Queensland - FOX SPORTS PULSE". Sportingpulse.com. 2008-11-16. Retrieved 2015-05-14. 
  29. ^ First Queenslander to play 100 AFL games
  30. ^ James Macsmith (2015-03-03). "Jarryd Hayne joins NFL's San Francisco 49ers on a futures contract". Smh.com.au. Retrieved 2015-05-14.