As the sixth World Cup rapidly approaches we decided to have a look at players who will be appearing and also the players who have appeared in the previous five! Which players have appeared the most in the last twenty one years? Which players have appeared for the most different countries? Which countries have had the most different players? Who was the youngest ever player? Who was the oldest ever player? We will look at all these points!

We have included this year’s world cup in our analysis (if a player doesn’t actually end up playing then obviously we will have to redo it but we have based it on the intended teams). In total there have been 230 players in the six world cups. Across the different countries there are a range of numbers of total players, with Canada (14) and Zambia (17) at the bottom of the listing, having played in 2 and 4 World Cups respectively. Of the countries that have been at every World Cup Zimbabwe and the USA share the title for lowest number of different players, with 25 each, while perhaps unsurprisingly Australia top the table with 34 different players.

Australia have had 10 players make multiple appearances but most have only appeared twice; Jane Marriot, Will Weston, Jimmy Grills and Lucy Grills are the only Australians to have three appearances to their names and only one of those four players has so far won two world cups; Jane Marriot in 2003 and 2007 (though Jimmy and Lucy Grills could change that in 2024).

The USA have the most players who have multiple appearances, they had had 15 players feature more than once in a USA shirt. Zimbabwe have had 18 players who have featured twice in total but on six occasions they have only appeared once for Zimbabwe and then have appeared once or more for other countries so only 12 players actually have multiple appearances for Zimbabwe.

So what about individual players, which players have appeared the most? There is only one player who has been in six world cup teams and that is the incredibly versatile Debbie Harris of Ireland and the UK. She played four World Cup for UK, with her first appearance being at 21 years old, but then moved to Ireland after meeting and marrying Dara Mangan and appeared for Ireland in 2019 in Australia. She will be back in 2024 for her sixth appearance. Her highest ever finish is 2nd, with the UK in 2007. The question is whether she can inspire Ireland to go all the way in 2024.

After Debbie there is one player who has 5 appearances and she is also the player who has played for the most different countries. It is the lady who would definitely rank as one of the best ladies number 1’s in the world, Kelly Krynauw. She made her first world cup appearance in 2007 for South Africa (again at 21 years old) and then was in the Zimbabwe team in 2011. However, both her and her then husband Mikey had moved to Zambia by 2015 and that is where she has been for the last two world cups and will be for 2024. Her best finish is also 2nd place, which she managed in both 2011 and 2015. Zambia are determined to try and win in 2024 and their ladies section with Kelly leading the line will be essential to that goal.

There are 13 players who have had 4 appearances, including Dara Mangan of Ireland and Mikey Krynauw of Zambia and Zimbabwe. Sophie Sargeant is on this list, though she was actually selected for 5 world cups but broke her arm just before the 2007 World Cup, meaning the UK had to bring in Lucy Lyster at the eleventh hour. Ireland also have Aidan McDonagh, Joanne Lavery and Seb Chambers on this part of the list while the sole USA player who has 4 appearances is Robbie Shuttles, who has also been a World Cup umpire and will be this year be the World Cup coach. The remainder of the four playing appearances list is a combination of Zimbabwe, Zambia and South African players; some of who have played for multiple countries. Suzanne Sargeant, Lauren Summers and Jannie Steenkamp are the three players who have four appearances for one country (Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa respectively), while Gavin Cocker, Celicia Jacobs and Audrey Logan (along with Mikey Krynauw) have all played for two countries (or will have played for two countries in Celicia’s case as she represents Zambia in this year’s world cup).

Gavin Cocker and Celicia Jacobs are two of a group of nine players who have won two world cups; there are three other South African players from 2011 and 2015, namely Graham Maclarty, Travis Timms and Jannie Steenkamp, and then there are four Australia players who have so far achieved this feat; in 2003 and 2007 Jane Marriot, Troy Henry and Tanya Hollow all achieved it and then Suzette Thomas managed it in 2007 and 2019 – making her the only player to win two world cups that were not back to back. Jannie Steenkamp and Celicia Jacobs could both become the first player to win three world cups, as they bid to make it three victories from four appearances in 2024.

No New Zealand or Australia players have more than three playing appearances, and there are 28 players from various countries who have appeared 3 times, followed by 49 players who have appeared twice and finally 138 players who have appeared once. As mentioned previously Australia have four players who have (or will have) played three times. New Zealand do have a number of players who have featured three times; Sue Gower, Dean Gower, Shane Hill, Beth Peaker and now Jarrod Richardson will ride out for his third appearance in 2024. New Zealand also have the player who had the biggest gap between world cup appearances in Russell Tye, he played in 2003 and then returned for his second appearance in 2019.

No other current or former UK player has more than three appearances either; Jason Burbidge recorded three appearances in the first three world cup alongside Debbie Harris but then retired. Jason Webb reached that same mark before retiring after the 2019 World Cup and Rachael Duhig and Joel Sics will get to three appearances in 2024, with Rachael’s first appearance being for the USA in 2011 before marriage and a move to the UK meant she switched allegiances. The USA themselves might only have Robbie Shuttles on four appearances but they also have a number of players who are on the three appearances list; Ryan Murphy and Ryan Strider both played in three back to back world cups and Dori Johnson, Megan Swift and Braxton Hamlin will all clock up their third appearance in 2024.

In terms of the youngest and oldest ever players, we believe the youngest ever player was Dawnay Jacobs of South Africa, who played in 2007 at 15 years old. Max Pedley is the youngest male player, having played for the UK at 16 years old in 2015. The oldest player is harder to determine as a lot of players are quite cagey about their ages in world cup programmes. We know Margot Worswick, Avis Wotton and Shane Hill were all 49 years old when they made their last appearances (to date) in 2007, 2011 and 2015 and we haven’t found any evidence of anyone over 50 playing yet (though we are slightly intrigued how old Allen Hicks and Bruce Greenslade were in 2007 when they represented Canada).

So that is our run down of appearance stats on World Cup players! If you want to look at all the data yourselves then the following PDF is a full listing of players and their appearances, showing both the number of times they have appeared and also the years they have appeared (which are on the last four pages).