Both former England U20 representatives, Holmes and Skinner are just the latest in a growing line of players identified by the exiles programs that the Irish, Scottish and Welsh unions have put in place.
With England’s sizeable player pool and close links to the three countries, there are a bevvy of players eligible for the Celtic nations who may not get the opportunity to play for England due to competition for spots, so those nations have been proactive in adding to their more limited player pools.
There are likely to be more names joining the list, too, with both Mike Haley and Will Addison having traded in life at Sale for moves to Irish provinces in the summer and both have eyes on a green jersey in the coming months.
We take a look at the recent cross-border poaches that illustrate the impressive work that those exiles programs are doing.
Kieran Treadwell, Ulster
Kieran Marmion, Connacht
Ireland have been more discerning with their selections, partly due to the fact they have a strong player pool in place already and partly due to the fact they need to bring players over to one of the provinces before they are able to cap them.
Adam Hastings*, Glasgow Warriors
James Lang, Harlequins
Chris Harris, Newcastle Falcons
Darryl Marfo, Edinburgh
Ali Price, Glasgow Warriors
Huw Jones*, Glasgow Warriors
Kieran Low, unattached
Duncan Taylor, Saracens
Greig Tonks, London Irish
Ryan Wilson, Glasgow Warriors
Tom Heathcote*, unattached
Henry Pyrgos, Edinburgh
*Hastings, Jones and Heathcote were all born in Scotland but moved to England for school, with all three coming through the Bath academy. Jones and Heathcote moved to England as young children
With just two professional teams, Scotland have been a lot more aggressive than Ireland in terms of identifying talent in England that is eligible to represent them. In addition to the English players they have identified, the likes of Luke Hamilton, Byron McGuigan and Tim Visser have also been targeted in recent years.
Tomas Francis, Exeter Chiefs
Ross Moriarty, Dragons
Jake Ball, Scarlets
If Holmes makes his debut next month, he’ll add his name to a list of three players who have made a significant impact in Welsh rugby in recent years.
Although it may frustrate Gallagher Premiership clubs and their attempts to meet English-qualified player quotas, as long as these exiles programs continue to deliver quality players for their nations, don’t expect them to go anywhere anytime soon, especially with the likes of Johnny Williams, Cam Redpath and Sam Moore still be fought over.
Watch: Warren Gatland talks about his Wales squad for the autumn internationals, including the new addition Jonah Holmes.
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