2. Chris Wyles
Born in the USA and raised in England, Wyles found his rugby career kind of treading water when he joined the USA Sevens team in 2006. Within a year, he was a major star for that team and ultimately its captain. He then became the USA 15s team’s starting fullback. In 2008 he signed a short-term contract with Saracens.
The rest is history. He never looked back. While many overseas-raised players would have taken their handful of caps and pursued the pro gig. Not Wyles. He kept coming back to play for the Eagles and mirrored his experience at Saracens—playing wherever he was asked and always being available.
The result was that Wyles was capped over 50 times for the USA (his 54 caps are the most of any back except Mike Petri) and finished third all-time in points for the Eagles. For Saracens, his short-term contract evolved into 10 years with the club, during which he appeared 252 times for the club, scored 74 tries, and broke records for tries scored in the Premiership semis and finals.
Saracens won four Premiership titles and two European Championships with Wyles.
1. Dan Lyle
America’s first professional star, Lyle showed up at Bath and didn’t know what to expect. Lyle helped revolutionize the No. 8 position, using his basketball and football experience to become the best open-field runner, best lineout force, and best restart-winner at his position in the world.
Lyle paved the way for Americans from 1996 and beyond to play professional rugby because he was excellent from day one and his team won, notably the 1998 European Championship.