5. Mako Vunipola (England to Tonga)
- Current number of caps: 70
- Age at the start of RWC 2023: 32
- Did you know:? In 2018, Vunipola and his partner welcomed a son, Jacob.
Born in Wellington, New Zealand, the loosehead-prop would be eligible to play for Tonga as he is the son of former Tonga captain Fe’ao Vunipola.
He is also the nephew of two other former international players, Manu and ‘Elisi Vunipola who both represented Tonga in the 1990s.
The prop has said that he’d love to play for Tonga, but worries he’d be taking the spot of a younger player.
“Obviously I’d love to play for them, but it’s difficult because it would be unfair to those back on the island; to see myself as an old man coming in and taking that opportunity away from them.
‘It’s a catch-22 really. You’d like to see people not being tied down to one (country) and being able to represent those countries – and they’d be better for it – but you’d also like locals to have the opportunity to make a better life for themselves by playing for their country and on the back of that getting contracts overseas.”