Rugby: Six New Zealand players who have dominated the game in Europe


After yet another European Cup win, Isa Nacewa retires as arguably the most successful New Zealanders to ever play in Europe.

Nacewa announced he’d be hanging up his boots last month, before captaining Irish club Leinster to a 15-12 victory over Racing Metro 92 in the final on Sunday (NZT).

In honour of his monumental list of accolades, we take a look at the five most successful New Zealanders in the professional era of European rugby.

Don’t expect to see the likes of Daniel Carter or Joe Rokocoko featuring, who despite being All Blacks greats, have just the one domestic title between them in France.

Isa Nacewa

Nacewa has been described as the greatest overseas signing in Irish rugby and you could make the case for him being the best in the history of European rugby.

Since signing for Leinster in 2008, the utility back has been capped 183 times, scoring more than 700 points across all competitions.

He’s been an integral part in the club’s four European Cup titles during that time, as well as two Pro 14 crowns to go with a a long list of personal accolades.

Nacewa has featured three times in the Pro 14 Team of the Year, been nominated for European Player of the Year, Leinster Player of the Year and the IRUPA Player of the Year.

It’s hard not to imagine what might have been if he had never left our shores.

Nacewa was a valuable member of the Blues and Auckland, but was ineligible to represent the All Blacks after a two-minute cameo from the bench for Fiji in 2003.



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