Welsh rugby has been fortunate to have exceptional foreign players over the years, men who have really illuminated the club and the regional game.
So who were chosen from the peloton, those who had the most impact?
Rugby correspondent Simon Thomas selects his top 30.
30. Dmitri Arhip (Ospreys 2012-18, Cardiff Blues 2018-present)
We start our list with a player who is still plying his trade here in Wales. The Moldovan Mountain Man was a true totem pole with his head tight in his 91 appearances for the Ospreys. He has had injury issues since arriving at Arms Park, but remains a true physical presence when in good shape.
29. Brok Harris (Dragons 2014-21)
Played his 143rd and final game for the Men of Gwent in June this year, raising the curtain on a seven-year stint in which the South African mainstay was such a staunch servant on both sides of the front row, having come aboard the Stormers.
28. Jonah Lomu (Cardiff Blues, 2005-06)
He has only made ten appearances for the Blues as his stay was cut short by injury when he was not the force of yesteryear, but what an impact he had off the pitch in terms of filling the field. terrain and personality. Here is the inside story of his time in Cardiff.
27. Kahn Fotuali’i (Ospreys, 2011-13)
The live Samoan international was one of Europe’s best scrum-backs during his time at Liberty Stadium, before heading to Northampton. A real catalyst that has just made things happen.
26. John Tait (Cardiff, 1997-2003)
Part of the Canadian influx of the late 1990s, the runner-up from Orangeville made 140 appearances for the Arms Park team, consistently drawing attention with his athleticism both during the roster and freely.
25. Simon Raiwalui (Newport 1999-2003)
The Auckland-born Fijian international lock was a true warrior on the pitch and a gentleman outside. A popular figure at Rodney Parade, he was a natural leader of men, club captain with distinction.
24. David Lyons (Scarlet 2008-11)
After a Test career that had won him 44 caps for the Wallabies, the Aussie No 8 arrived in West Wales and quickly established himself as Mr Consistency, serving as the driving force behind the Scarlets field.
23. Tadhg Beirne (Scarlet 2016-18)
Little was known about the young County Kildare second row when he signed from Leinster, but what an impact he had in his two seasons with the Scarlets, excelling on the ball and in the game, playing a role key in their 2017 PRO12 title triumph. Has done everything well for himself since too!
22. Maama Molitika (Bridgend, Celtic Warriors and Blues, 1999-2012)
The Tongan rower has been a true servant of Welsh rugby over the years and remained one of its most consistent and tough performers until his 30s. Did all the unrecognized donkey run and was as hard as teak. Still lives here today.
Read more:The Tongan who became a favorite in Welsh rugby and was still playing the game at 45
21. Gareth Rees (Newport 1993-96)
Canadian Rees was a true trailblazer, joining Newport over a year before the game turned professional. A prolific points scorer, he broke the club record in 1995-96 with 398 points in 30 games.
20. Rey Lee Lo (Cardiff Blues 2015-present)
An absolute class act that still delivers week after week until your mid-thirties. Signed from the Hurricanes in 2015, the Samoan international center has featured in the PRO12 / 14 squad of the season a few times, with their ability to break away from home, formidable defense and valuable backline organization.
19. Pieter Muller (Cardiff and Blues, 1999-2004)
Another premier center from Arms Park. I loved his time with Cardiff and the feeling was mutual. A granite presence in the midfield, the powerful Springbok played a big role in the education of the Robinson brothers – Nicky and Jamie.
18. Justin Marshall (Ospreys, 2006-08)
When the Ospreys signed the 81-cap All Blacks scrum-half, it was a true statement of intent and the birth of the Galacticos era. Great for the Wales game with his image and media personality and could still cut him off on the pitch.
17. Dan Baugh (Cardiff and Blues, 1998-2005)
The Canadian back rower has become a big favorite at the gun park with his bone-breaking defense, bruises and raging ball carry. He then became a physical trainer with the Blues, Wales, Wasps and now the Dragons.
16. Paul Tito (Blue, 2007-12)
New Zealand must have been blessed for the locks if this guy couldn’t get a cap. A great tactician who brought an uncompromising Kiwi advantage and gave it his all, showing his leadership as the Blues skipper. The man called Fish recently parted ways with French club Pau, where he was a striker coach.
15. Salesi Finau (Scarlet, 1998-2005)
The Tongan center started out in the rugby league and had the physical presence one expects from someone from that environment, with their South Seas style shots and direct running. A true cult hero of Stradey Park.
14. Tau Filise (Cardiff Blues, 2006-2018)
Another Tongan, the staunch forward holds the Blues’ all-time appearance record, having played 255 for the region since arriving from Bath in 2006. He bowed in style, his last game being the thrilling victory. European Challenge Cup 2018 final on Gloucester in Bilbao.
13. Casey Laulala (Cardiff Blues 2009-12)
Was limited to just two tests for the All Blacks, but illuminated Welsh rugby with his creativity and center ball handling skills. The Blues’ back game essentially revolved around him for a few seasons before he was snapped up by Munster.
12. Rod Snow (Newport & Dragons, 1995-2005)
The Newfoundland man spent nearly 10 years in Newport and became a hero to the Rodney Parade crowd with his barnstorming races and tough transplant to the head-free side of the front row. Made 190 appearances for Black & Ambers, scoring no less than 30 tries!
11. Nick Williams (Cardiff Blues 2016-20)
Few overseas imports have been as integral to the Welsh team as they have joined. Basically, if Williams was on the pitch, the Blues had a much better chance of winning. He was 32 when he joined Ulster, but there was plenty of gasoline in the tank as it provided inspiration for the No 8.
10. Jerry Collins (The Ospreys, 2009-11)
The degree to which the All Blacks flanker fell in love with the Ospreys loyalists was exemplified by the emotional tribute he received after his tragic death in June 2015. The former Wellington trash man was a huge one. success in every sense of the word.
9. Tommy Bowe (Ospreys 2008-12)
Arriving from Ulster, the popular Irish wing proved to be a true predatory presence for the Ospreys, passing 36 tries in his 77 appearances and it was with sadness that fans bid him farewell on his return to Belfast.
8. Percy Montgomery (Newport and the Dragons, 2002-05)
Resurrected his career at Rodney Parade. He rebounded from a six-month suspension for pushing a linesman to produce exceptional form that earned him a call-back to the South African squad, culminating in a 2007 World Cup triumph.
7. Marty Holah (Ospreys, 2007-11)
Holah’s misfortune to play in the same generation as Richie McCaw proved to be a blessing for the Ospreys, as deprived of testing opportunities, the exceptional openside brought his breakdown ship to the Liberty. A world class player always at world class level when he came to Wales, bringing absolute consistency without dilution.
6. Ben Blair (Cardiff Blues, 2006-12)
The former Crusaders full-back – who won his fourth and final selection for New Zealand against Wales in 2002 – provided a counterattack threat and goal-kicking precision, scoring 664 points in 71 appearances for the Blues. A truly polite performer who brought confident style to everything he did.
5. Filo Tiatia (Ospreys, 2006-11)
Arrived from Japan without much fanfare, after a failed bid for compatriot Kiwi Jono Gibbes, but the two-cap All Black proved to be a huge success at Liberty Stadium. Teak hard and a real players player. Was crucial to the culture of the Ospreys and in terms of setting standards of professionalism. He remained a coach after hanging up his boots, before leaving for Japan and then Auckland.
4. Gary Teichmann (Newport, 1999-2001)
Arrived at Rodney Parade as one of the biggest names in world rugby, having skipped the Springboks to record a 17-game winning streak. It really was a seismic signature and it had a huge impact in Newport on and off the field. He ended his two-season stint guiding the Black & Ambers to their first Wales Cup triumph in 24 years in 2001, beating Neath in the final. An inspiring figure.
3. Simon Easterby (Llanelli & Scarlets 1999-2010)
Considering he was born and raised in Yorkshire, it might seem a bit odd to include the flanker on this list, but as an Irish international he technically qualifies and there is no doubt about his huge contribution to the cause of the Scarlets. He put his body on the line season after season, then coached the region for a few years before joining the Irish squad.
2. Regan King (Scarlet, 2005-11, 2014-16)
If only he hadn’t won that lone cap for New Zealand – against Wales of All Peoples – in 2002. A world-class center capable of outwitting any defense with his vision and silky run , a man who got the best of those around him. I had two spells at the Scarlets, but it was the first stint that really stays in my memory. A player who could beat you with his eyes. Just extraordinary talent.
1. Xavier Rush (Cardiff Blues, 2005-12)
The best import of the lot. A typically committed and ultra professional Kiwi. What a warrior he was. An explosive No.8 running back and a great leader, as he has proven as captain of the Blues for several seasons. A truly talismanic figure that had no reverse gear. There were countless good performances, but it was the one against the Wasps in a rain-soaked Adams Park in the 2010 Amlin Challenge Cup semi-final that really stood out for me. A superhuman demonstration by one of the real greats of Welsh regional rugby.
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