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‘I’m proud to be a citizen here’: Rugby’s Rory Kockott becomes French

The South African-born scrum-half played for the French national side and won two titles with Castres 

Mr Kockott played for the French national team 11 times prior to becoming a French citizen Pic: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

The South-African born scrum-half Rory Kockott has become a naturalised French citizen after spending many years in the country, winning two titles with Castres and selection with the French national rugby team.

Following his naturalisation ceremony in Albi (Occitanie) on November 27, Mr Kockott spoke of his pride at becoming a French citizen.

“Having spent more than a third of my life in France, it is a proud moment for me to become a citizen of this country today.”

“My children were born here and I share the values of France. It is very moving for me and all my family,” he said.

Born in East London, South Africa, Mr Kockott moved to France in 2011 after joining Castres Olympique. 

He enjoyed a long and storied career with the Tarn-based club, winning the league title in 2013 and 2018, and voted the league’s player of the season in 2012-13.

Since he had not played for South Africa, he was eligible to play for the French national team after three years’ residence in the country.

His first cap came in 2014 against Fiji. Kockott would go on to win 11 caps for France, including appearances at the 2015 Six Nations and the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

After 280 matches for Castres and scoring 1437 points, Mr Kockott announced his retirement from the field in 2021. 

He worked with Castres coaching staff for a year, before deciding his retirement was premature and joining Stade français Paris in 2023.

Read also

‘How I went about applying for French citizenship’ 

What questions should I expect during a French citizenship interview? 

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