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Brits abroad: The impressive XV of English players overseas from next season

The mass exodus of English players moving to France is still in full swing. 

Jonny May has become the latest English international to agree a move across the channel, but he isn’t alone ahead of next season. Courtney Lawes, Owen Farrell, Manu Tuilagi and many other are all on their way to France ahead of next season.

Whilst the focus is, of course, on players hopping over the boarder, there are some more English players playing further afield, with English-qualified talent featuring in Major League Ruby and Super Rugby too.

But with so many quality players abroad, could they form a team? Here is our XV of English overseas players.

Brits abroad: The impressive XV of English players overseas from next season

15: Henry Arundell

Racing 92 flyer Henry Arundel is one of English rugby’s brightest prospects, but he will be in the Top 14 until at least 2026. He burst onto the scene with London Irish last season, however his time in Paris is only making him a better player.

14: Jonny May

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The latest Englishman to make the switch to ProD2, Jonny May is one of the most iconic English internationals of the modern era. The winger won 77 caps for his country, and also represented Gloucester and Leicester. He now joins Soyaux-Angouleme.

13: Joe Marchant

Former Harlequins star Joe Marchant has taken well to life at Stade Français this season. He has made 18 appearances in the Top 14 post-World Cup as the Parisians have climbed to second in the table. Will he guide them to a title?

12: Manu Tuilagi

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Who else could take this slot? Mau Tuilagi’s time in the Premiership is now over, as the powerful centre moves to Bayonne. Whilst he had his injury issues, Tuilagi will still be remembered fondly as one of this era’s greatest players. He won 60 caps for his country, and won two Premiership titles with Leicester, as well as three Premiership Cups for Leicester (2) and Sale (1).

READ MORE: The last 7 losers of the Premiership final-and what happened next

11: Jack Nowell 

The former Exeter winger joined La Rochelle ahead of this season, and has been a regular in Ronan O’Gara’s side. Featuring either at centre or wing, Nowell has made 22 appearances for the former European champions, 20 of which have been starts.

10: Owen Farrell

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Possibly the biggest signing on this team is Owen Farrell. The former England captain stepped away from the international game after the World Cup, and is now bound for Racing 92 (joining Henry Arundell). Farrell won 112 caps for England during his test career, and also helped Saracens win six Premiership titles, three Champions Cups and one Championship title.

9: Dan Robson

Scrum-half Dan Robson joined Pau following the collapse of Wasps in 2022, but he has been brilliant since. Linking up with former Exeter 10 Joe Simmonds, Robson featured in all 26 of Pau’s matches in the Top 14, as well as making three Challenge Cup appearances too.

1: Hayden Thompson-Stringer

The first on this list currently outside of the Top 14 is former Saracens prop Hayden Thompson-Stringer. He has had spells in France with Brive and La Rochelle, however he now plys his trade with Super Rugby side NSW Waratahs. He joined the club in October last year, and has since made nine appearances for them.

2: Sean McNulty

We might be cheating slightly with this one. Sean McNulty came through the Irish academy systems, but he was born in London. The hooker moved to MLR side New England in 2019, and has gone onto have successful stints with the LA Giltini’s, Seattle Seawolves and San Diego Legion. He now plays for the Miami Sharks.

3: Will Collier 

Former Harlequins prop Will Collier has been criminally overlooked by England during his career. Despite only having two caps to his name, Collier has been one of the best tightheads in the Premiership, but is now on his way to Castres.

READ MORE: England Summer tour: Four players who should have made the squad

4: Dave Ribbans

Former Northampton Saints lock Dave Ribbans joined Toulon after the World Cup, and has quickly become a mainstay in the team. He has only missed one Top 14 game since the World Cup, and also featured in three Champions Cup games for the club. His form for Toulon has also been rewarded with a call-up to the Barbarians.

5: Courtney Lawes

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Sorry Courtney, you’re back in the row for our team. Northampton Saints legend Courtney Lawes has made the switch to Brive after a fantastic 17-year spell in English rugby. He won 105 caps for his country, and also helped Northampton win two Premiership titles, two Challenge Cups and one Premiership Cup.

6: Lewis Ludlam 

The third former Saint in a row! Lewis Ludlam is on his way to join former teammate Dave Ribbans at Toulon. Ludlam won 25 England caps, and also helped Northampton lift the Premiership title this season.

7: Jack Willis 

Credit: IMAGO

We couldn’t make a list of English players abroad without Jack Willis. Since joining Toulouse in 2022 after the collapse of Wasps, Willis has hit new heights. His form in Toulouse’s Champions Cup triumph has reignited the overseas players representing England debate. But, if he keeps playing the way he has been, he could be the one to change things.

8: Sam Simmonds

Rounding off our list is former Exeter man Sam Simmonds. The British and Irish Lion was another player criminally overlooked by England, and he has since departed our shores for Montpellier. He has made 20 appearances for the relegation-threatened Montpellier in the league, featuring across the back-row.