The players who can represent England you didn’t know including NRL stars, Leigh Leopards duo

Louis Chapman Coombe
Lachlan Lam, Jahrome Hughes and Keano Kini

International eligibility is a strange beast in rugby league.

Players have often represented multiple countries in their international careers (three in some cases!). Be that players picking to play for the country of their birth, playing for a country their family members are from or even players representing a nation on residency rules.

This might leave you thinking, what players around the world of rugby league would qualify to represent England? Well, Love Rugby League has you covered. Here are six players that qualify to represent England. Know any more? Let us know!

Lachlan Lam

Lachlan Lam Leigh Leopards Alamy
Lachlan Lam with the Lance Todd Trophy after Leigh Leopards’ Challenge Cup triumph in 2023

Leigh Leopards half-back Lachlan Lam is already an experienced international. Despite only being 26, he has already represented Papua New Guinea at two World Cups, and also helped steer them towards the Pacific Bowl title in 2023.

He might already be a fully fledged Kumul, but he also qualifies to play for England if he chooses too, as his grandmother is from Liverpool.

Lam also qualifies for Australia as he was born and raised in Sydney.

Kai O’Donnell

Kai O'Donnell
Leigh Leopards’ Australian ace Kai O’Donnell

From one Leopard to another. The powerful Australian forward qualifies for England through his mother, who is from Newcastle.

O’Donnell also qualifies for Australia as he was born in Proserpine. He is yet to win an international cap of any description though.

Since joining Leigh back in 2022, O’Donnell has quickly become one of the standout back-rowers in the British game and was instrumental in guiding the Leopards to the Challenge Cup last season.

Keano Kini

Keano Kini
Keano Kini in action for the Gold Coast Titans in 2024

The 20-year-old made his NRL debut for Gold Coast Titans last year, and has made eight appearances for the Titans in 2024 at the time of writing.

He has English descent and is eligible for a call-up to Shaun Wane’s side. However, Kini also has the opportunity to represent a number of other nations too including, naturally, the nation of his birth: New Zealand.

Jahrome Hughes

Jahrome Hughes Melbourne Storm PA

One of the most recognisable names in the NRL, Hughes has been a mainstay at Melbourne Storm since joining the club in 2017 – making well over 100 appearances for the club.

And as well as representing New Zealand on several occasions, Hughes is actually England-eligible too, according to our international spies.

Tino and Iszac Fa’asuamaleaui

Tino Fa'asuamaleaui Australia PA

That’s right: one of Australia’s last Rugby League World Cup-winning squad is eligible for England – along with his brother, too. Both Tino and Iszac Fa’asuamaleaui have English heritage through their grandfather, and they are also of Danish and Samoan heritage, too, with Tino having made his international debut for Samoa in 2019.

Tino said in the run-up to the World Cup in 2022: “I grew up watching Darren Lockyer and Greg Inglis and they all played for Australia and when I retire I want to say I have played for Australia too. I can actually play for England too, my pop’s English and my nan’s Danish too.”

Both are currently playing at Gold Coast Titans – along with another England-eligible man in Kini.

However, Tino wouldn’t be able to play for England now though. International eligibility rules state you can only represent one nation who is classed as ‘tier one’, and with Tino having already played for the Kangaroos, he can’t represent England should he ever wish to do so, but Iszac can as he hasn’t played internationally for any nation yet.

Jackson Hastings

Jackson Hastings

Okay, you probably knew this one – but it’s worth reminding you about! The 2019 Man of Steel Jackson Hastings has already represented Great Britain in the past, but he also qualifies for England due to his grandmother being from Plymouth.

Hastings was a part of the 2019 touring party to the Southern Hemisphere, and he appeared in all four test matches against Australia, Papua New Guinea and a Tongan Invitational team.

The current Newcastle Knights back also qualifies for Australia as he was born and raised in Wollongong.

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Max King

Max King
Max King runs out ahead of a Canterbury Bulldogs game in 2024

Versatile Canterbury Bulldogs forward Max King has spent the entirety of his career down under, but he actually qualifies for England. King was actually born in Huddersfield, during his father David’s time with the Giants between 1993 and 1999.

The current Bulldog made his NRL debut for the Gold Coast Titans in 2017, and has also won an NRL Premiership whilst at the Melbourne Storm.

He also qualifies for Australia and has previously represented the Prime Minister’s XIII in 2022.

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Sam Walker

Leeds-born Sam Walker

Another Brit who featured in that Australia Prime Minister’s XIII in 2022 was Sydney Roosters man Sam Walker. The half-back qualifies for England as he was actually born in Leeds whilst his dad Ben was playing for the Rhinos in 2002, but also qualifies for Australia.

Walker made his NRL debut in 2021, and was awarded Dally M Rookie of the Year following a solid maiden season. He has since made 70 appearances for the Roosters.

Lewis Symonds

Rounding off our list is current Dolphins man Lewis Symonds. The current Queensland Under-19s back-rower has taken the Mal Meninga Cup by storm this season, and was named on the bench for the Under-19s State of Origin match last week.

He is clearly showing signs of promise moving forwards, but in some good news for English fans he was actually born in England and could one day represent Shaun Wane’s side, potentially.

Symonds also qualifies for Australia as he was raised there. 

With thanks to the ever-reliable He Can Play For on X (formerly Twitter) with their help in compiling this list. Be sure to give drop them a follow, it’s a gem of an international rugby league account.

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