Category - Rugby

Playing Rugby Abroad

By Mike Donlan

There is no better experience for a young rugby player than packing his bags for pastures new in a foreign land.

The chance to experience a new lifestyle, culture, language and style of rugby can shape you as a person, not just a player.

Drew Mitchell Enjoying Life in Toulon.

As a student back in 2010, yours truly decided it was time for such an enriching experience.

I was an Erasmus student heading to the picturesque town of Aix-en-Provence in Southern France, and as a national league player in the UK I had ambitions to play rugby at a high level.

I left it with my coach to help me find a club as he claimed to have a bulging contacts book, I never saw that contacts book – maybe his ego ate it.

Anyway, I soon realised I was going to have to find a club myself which meant putting the first two years of my French degree to use – considering my first two years consisted of playing rugby, chinning pints and dodging lectures, this proved to be quite challenging initially.

My first thought was to try Marseille who had a certain Jonah Lomu on their teamsheet, and in a slightly masochistic way, the chance to claim fame by being turned into a doormat like Mike Catt in 1995 was just too irresistible.

rugby Marseille Vitrolles Rugby / US Montmélianaise le 22 novembre 2009 in Vitrolles - France Jonah Lomu ©Sébastien Boué

Marseille Vitrolles Rugby / US Montmélianaise
le 22 novembre 2009 in Vitrolles – France
Jonah Lomu
©Sébastien Boué

Unfortunately that twisted fantasy never materialised into anything substantial – it turned that they didn’t need another average back row – but my fishing line finally got a nibble when I contacted Pays d’Aix (now Provence Rugby) who were a Pro D2 side.


Provence Rugby Club Recruiting on Sporple

In the end, I played for their u21 and u23 sides competing against some of the top teams in France in those age groups, including the likes of Toulon, Montpelier and Perpignan.

I have plenty of amusing anecdotes from that year which I won’t bore you with, but my point from all this was that even just six years ago, the challenge of finding a club abroad was daunting for any young, ambitious rugby player.

That’s why a platform like Sporple is so important, what I would have given to have the chance to showcase my talent to agents and clubs in France on such a user-friendly platform, who knows what opportunities could have come my way!

Young South African flanker Devon van Dyk is someone who has enjoyed the benefits of Sporple taking away the initial pain of trying to get your name into the open.


“I think Sporple gives you the opportunity to play abroad”, he said.

“It gave me the opportunity to put everything I’ve done out there on the web, they’ve given me hope in making my dreams come true one day .

“I’ve seen sites for rugby players to put up videos, but of all the sites I’ve tried Sporple is the best, I get to showcase myself to the world ”.

Get signed up today, and kick start your route to playing in different parts of the world.

Check out Devon Van Dyk’s Sporple Profile


Top 5 moments of Rugby World Cup 2015


1. Japan beating South Africa

There have been a few Rugby World Cup upsets over the years, but none quite like that day in Brighton. How many of you based in the UK who got tickets for that match in the ballot either missed it “because Japan will get pumped”, or decided to go in the end just for the hell of it? Either way, it’s the sort of decision you’ll look back on for years, as will Eddie Jones’ side who bravely decided to go for the corner and were rewarded with a win against the two-time winners.


2. Craig Joubert

A bit of a negative choice some of you might say, but it was a huge talking point. Craig Joubert legging it from Twickenham after a controversial decision saw Australia squeak past Scotland in their quarter-final. Some people say he’s still running!


3. Lineoutgate

Nothing says scandal like putting ‘gate’ at the end of a word. England fans look away: There’s just a few minutes remaining, you’ve just let the local rivals comeback from the dead to lead, you have the option to go for the posts and draw the game which probably would be enough to get through the group so you go for the corner. Then the brains trust in the front five think it’s a good idea to throw to the front, you get pushed into touch…let’s leave it there.


4. All Blacks demolishing France

Own up, who thought there was a potential for an upset because it was France against New Zealand in a world cup? What unfolded was more one sided than a brick against a window, and in Julien Savea’s case the brick went through several windows.


5. Argentina…Diego Maradona

Perhaps the greatest footballer ever and he’s somehow made the Sporple top five moments of the Rugby World Cup, that’s how influential he is. As in 2007, Argentina lit up the competition in 2015, but this time it was their running rugby which took centre stage, not the ‘blitzkrieg’ that rattled everyone eight years before that and what a sight it was to see the man who played the game beautifully with the round ball celebrating with the team in the changing room after who had played the game beautifully with the oval ball.


Premiership Rugby/ Pro 12 foreign recruits weekend ratings

JP Pietersen

JP Pietersen (Leicester Tigers)

Another experienced Springbok now plying his trade in England. Again, not spectacular but still had an impact on the game scoring a try, and always seemed to do the right thing. Is sure to have a big season at Welford Road. What a game this was by the way!

Watch highlights of Gloucester v Leicester Tigers here

Sporple rating 7/10

Schalk Burger (Saracens)

Solid start to life in the Premiership for the Springbok bruiser. Nothing spectacular, but a try, cut to the head and plenty of industry from the flanker during Saracens’ 35-3 win against Worcester. Sarries will need to manage how much he plays if they’re to get the best out of him this season.

Watch highlights of Saracens v Worcester Warriors here

Sporple rating 7/10

Toby Faletau (Bath)

Nightmare start for the Wales and Lions number eight who hobbled off injured after just 12 minutes with medial knee ligament damage, which could see him miss the autumn internationals.


Sporple rating N/A

Louis Picamoles (Northampton Saints)

The odd nice touch from the France number eight, but otherwise had a quiet game against Bath. The same could probably be said for most of his teammates until the final ten minutes. The worrying thing for Saints fans is that Picamoles can be unstoppable if the game comes to him, but if it doesn’t he can be frustratingly anonymous.

Watch highlights from Northampton Saints v Bath here

Sporple rating 5/10

Charles Piutau (Ulster)

Belfast , Ireland - 26 August 2016; Charles Piutau of Ulster during the Pre-Season Friendly game between Ulster and Northampton Saints at Kingspan Stadium, in Ravenhill Park Belfast. (Photo By Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Belfast , Ireland – 26 August 2016; Charles Piutau of Ulster during the Pre-Season Friendly game between Ulster and Northampton Saints at Kingspan Stadium, in Ravenhill Park Belfast. (Photo By Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Solid start to life in the Pro 12 for one of the Premiership’s top performers. Set up a try, but had a quiet game by his own ridiculously high standards. Still, expect the All Black to light up the league this season.

Watch highlights from Ulster v Newport Gwent Dragons here
Sporple rating 7/10

How Rugby Clubs are Mastering Player Recruitment

Think it’s hard work on the rugby pitch? Try being the recruiter of an amateur rugby club.
Amateur clubs can’t offer the funds that professional clubs provide. A lack of resources make searching for players a lengthy process. Tough local competition means everyone is fishing in the same pond. Sound familiar?

There’s hope. Two Australian Rugby clubs found a secret weapon to combat these issues: Sporple – a global sporting network.

Meet the first club. Lindfield Rugby Club of New South Wales, Australia. With seven clubs in a five kilometer radius, sourcing players for LRC was harder than the first day of conditioning practice.


LRC’s search for a forward led the recruitment manager, Pat Lang, to create a profile on Sporple. Posting a position on the site felt like a shot in the dark until the next day, when he opened his account to an inbox full of responses.

He was surprised to find replies from the furthest corners of the planet. Interested, he evaluated each player by their profiles and footage. Three forwards caught Pat’s attention and became serious contenders for the LRC squad.

“It’s phenomenal to have people that can connect like this. Players from a small town in Fiji or can connect with a club in South Africa. Players become more mobile, use it as a passport,” says Pat Lang, LRC recruitment manager.

By using Sporple, LRC’s network opened up to a much broader scope of players. Instead of looking across the street, they now looked across oceans.

Next up another Australian team, Southern Districts Rugby Club. Forged from two mature clubs, Southern Districts combined into one in 1989 to create SDRC. A small market meant high-value players were expensive and difficult to find for this growing club.


When club manager, Keith Holmes, signed up for Sporple, the club’s reach to a small cluster of local players immediately turned into 20,000. SDRC’s interest in recruiting Props and Locks made Sporple a powerful tool for Keith.

His profile promoted open positions that immediately received responses. Keith began going on Sporple daily to keep an eye out for the promising talent that appeared on his feed.

And these clubs aren’t the only ones that can do this; Sporple helps level the playing field for everyone. Here’s three reasons why:

1. By searching beyond their home territory, clubs can now find the perfect player for specific positions from around the world.

2. Sporple makes rugby global and serves as a passport to a world of opportunity for thousands of players, agents and clubs.

3. Sporple helps the best players, clubs and agents rise to the top, making rugby a sport of based on performance, not just connections.


Two ambitious clubs found the right players by fishing in a bigger pond. What’s stopping you from doing the same?

Check out all things Sporple on and stay tuned on our blog!

A Level Playing Field Helps Everyone in the Rugby Recruitment Game

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It’s a universal fact. Rugby ain’t easy.

The rugby pitch is one of the most brutal playing fields a player will encounter. The competition is high. Only the best bring their A-game. And those are exactly the players that agents and clubs recruit.

But where are they? While players look for opportunities in their own backyard, they don’t realize the options available on a global stage.

That’s where Sporle comes in. Consider it the Rolodex of sports. Sporple is the most efficient way for players and agents to showcase their talent. Clubs promote open listings as easy as a Facebook status update.


Sporple turns everyone’s opportunities from limited to limitless.


How does Sporple level the playing field?


As an Athlete

You have skills. You are always the highest jumper in the lineout. Your average tackles outscore players in the NFL. And yet, you still can’t seem to find your spot in your local competition.

Finding the right club doesn’t have to be like finding a needle in a haystack. Enter Sporple: your ticket around the globe.

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Maybe your talents as a fullback are best suited in a country 8,000 miles away. With Sporple, you can find that opportunity. Posting your details, footage and background online helps recruiters find you. Forget the line “it’s who you know”.

Now, you have a chance to be discovered based purely on how you play. On your merits. Getting matched with the right club is the key. Don’t miss the boat.


As an Agent

You’ve worked behind the scenes to make success happen on the field. You’ve had plenty of practice working as middle-man between players and clubs. Working those contracts was no easy feat and you’re proud to showcase what you’ve accomplished.

With Sporple, you’re no longer the best kept secret. Your Sporple profile boasts of the players and clubs you’ve connected. And all that time you’ve spent finding those dream-team matchups shows your dedication.

That transparency creates a sense of trust you can’t make elsewhere. Your viewers have nothing to go off but the cold, hard facts. You have the connections, and extra visibility helps you land more deals outside your normal reach. Why not expand your influence?


As a Club

The competition has always been stiff. But instead of scrapping with local clubs for the best local players, Sporple gives you a whole new pool to choose from.

Maybe your perfect goal kicker lives in Samoa instead of England. No problem. You can shoot him a direct message showing your interest. Your reach is no longer just focused at the kid down the street.

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Not only can your club source from outside your geographic market, but you can also customize your search. Don’t spend your time looking at the perfect 6’10” lock if he doesn’t have the right visa. Sporple helps you save time and money by finding the exact players you need.

Broaden your reach, find relevant matches, communicate directly and boost up your squad.

With Sporple, the world is one big playing field. Whether you are an athlete looking for a team, agent looking for a client or club looking for a player, there is always an opportunity to succeed.

All you have to do it get your name out there and get ready to win big.


Check out all things Sporple on and stay tuned through our blog!