Rugby Legends Discover Their Roots with MyHeritage DNA

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They’ve battled each other, shed blood, sweat, and tears to win for their nation, and now they are about to discover if rivalry is really in their DNA… or if they just might have more in common than they think.

Just in time for the biggest rugby event of the year, MyHeritage brought together Chris Robshaw, Jamie Heaslip, Serge Betsen, and Sean Fitzpatrick — four of rugby’s biggest legends — to uncover their ethnic origins and make some amazing family history discoveries. The event was hosted by fellow rugby legend Ugo Monye, who presented each of the players with their fascinating results.

Watch our Rugby Legends DNA and family history reveals and you could win a special edition rugby ball signed by all 5 legends! Read on to learn more and win!

When you take a MyHeritage DNA test, you receive an ethnicity breakdown that tells you about the geographic regions your ancestors came from. Your DNA gives you a glimpse into your family’s past and reveals a journey going back generations. To uncover more details about your family history, make the most of your MyHeritage DNA results, and connect with new relatives, simply build your family tree on MyHeritage and explore our database of 10 billion historical records to reveal new details about your family story.

Take a MyHeritage DNA test now to discover your unique ethnic mix! Use the coupon code RUGBYDNA to get free shipping!

After collecting their DNA samples just a few weeks ago and building their basic family tree, Chris Robshaw, Jamie Heaslip, Serge Betsen, and Sean Fitzpatrick met up with host Ugo Monye at the oldest rugby club in the world to hear their MyHeritage DNA test results for the very first time.

Chris Robshaw

Chris Robshaw
Chris Robshaw

Chris Robshaw is a former Harlequins clubmate of Ugo Monye and the former captain of the England national team. He was delighted to discover that he has strong ancestral roots in the country he played for — he is 52.4% English!

Chris’s ethnicity breakdown with MyHeritage DNA
Chris’s ethnicity breakdown with MyHeritage DNA

He was surprised by some of the other ethnicities in his ethnicity breakdown. For example, he had no idea that he is 17.4% Scandinavian and 1.1% Mesoamerican and Andean.

MyHeritage was also able to trace Chris’s ancestors back to the 17th century — 9 generations back!

Chris discovered a true hero in the family. His great-grandfather Richard Edward Carey (1888–1959) served in France during WWI and was wounded twice, in June 1915 and again in June 1916. He was awarded the British War Medal, the 1915 Star, and the Victory Medal for leading his troops as a lance corporal.

Record indicating that Richard Edward Carey, Chris’s great- grandfather received the British War Medal, the 1915 Star, and the Victory Medal
Record indicating that Richard Edward Carey, Chris’s great-grandfather received the British War Medal, the 1915 Star, and the Victory Medal

Bringing honor to England is clearly in Chris’s DNA!

Check out the Rugby DNA website to learn more about Chris Robshaw’s MyHeritage DNA results!

Jamie Heaslip

Jamie Heaslip
Jamie Heaslip

Jamie is one of the most capped players for the Irish national team. His allegiance to Ireland is also in his DNA: he has 83.9% Irish, Scottish, and Welsh ethnicity. It was quite a surprise, however, to discover that he is also 9.7% Eastern European and 6.4% Balkan.

Jamie’s ethnicity breakdown with MyHeritage DNA
Jamie’s ethnicity breakdown with MyHeritage DNA

When you take a MyHeritage DNA test, you also receive matches to new relatives who share DNA with you.

Jamie has a staggering 7,510 matches from 39 different countries across four different continents spanning from Norway to New Zealand!

 Jamie’s DNA matches are from 39 countries across four different continents
Jamie’s DNA matches are from 39 countries across four different continents

In addition to his MyHeritage DNA results, Jamie learned that his maternal great-grandfather, John Whelan, worked for the Guinness brewery — an iconic Irish brewery based in Dublin and renowned the world over. He apprenticed there for seven years, ultimately becoming a cooper, an elite craftsman. In an incredible twist of fate, we learned that the family legacy at Guinness extends to the present day — Jamie’s wife works there too!

Buildings like this were built for Dublin’s working class in the 19th century by the Dublin Artisan Dwellings Company, supported by the Guinness family.
Buildings like this were built for Dublin’s working class in the 19th century through the support of the Guinness family.

Jamie’s great-great-grandfather on his paternal side, Robert Heaslip, joined the RIC (Royal Irish Constabulary) when he was just 19 years old. He was assigned to the district of East Cork, Ireland, where he met and married Sabina Laffan, the daughter of a parish clerk. Richard Heaslip, Jamie’s great-grandfather, was born shortly thereafter.

Birth record of Jamie’s great-grandfather, Richard Heaslip
Birth record of Jamie’s great-grandfather, Richard Heaslip

Check out the Rugby DNA website to learn more about Jamie Heaslip’s MyHeritage DNA results!

Serge Betsen

Serge Betsen
Serge Betsen

Serge is considered one of the most significant flankers in the modern rugby era. He played for the London Wasps as well as for the French national team.

Serge’s diverse ethnic mix suggests that his ancestors were globetrotters. In addition to his African ethnicity — he is 43.5% Nigerian and 43.1% Kenyan — he had quite a few surprises! He also has 2.1% East Asian ethnicity, which includes some Eskimo/Inuit DNA. His DNA also shows ancestral origins in China, Vietnam, Greenland, and Siberia. What a remarkable mix!

Serge’s ethnicity breakdown with MyHeritage DNA
Serge’s ethnicity breakdown with MyHeritage DNA

MyHeritage was also able to uncover some amazing discoveries in Serge’s family history. Serge’s father’s line is from a very prominent family in Cameroon — the Tchoua family.

The Tchoua family is part of the Bamileke people who live in the Bandounga village. The Bamileke people make up the largest ethnic group in Cameroon.

Photo of the entrance to the Bazou Chieftaincy, home of the Bamileke people in Bandounga, Cameroon.
Photo of the entrance to the chieftaincy of Bazou, a village of the Bamileke people
Huts such as the one above are commonly found among the Bamileke people.
Huts such as the one above are commonly found among the Bamileke people.

Both Serge’s grandfather and father served as chiefs of their communities. Perhaps this accounts for Serge’s leadership skills on the rugby field!

Check out the Rugby DNA website to learn more about Serge’s MyHeritage DNA results!

Sean Fitzpatrick

Sean Fitzpatrick
Sean Fitzpatrick

One of the very best rugby players to come out of New Zealand, Sean is the former All Black captain and Rugby World Cup winner. His DNA results, however, show stronger Irish origins than Jamie’s!

Sean’s ethnicity breakdown with MyHeritage DNA
Sean’s ethnicity breakdown with MyHeritage DNA

Sean is 95.4% Irish, Scottish, and Welsh! More surprising is that he is also 3.4% Baltic and 1.2% Central Asian!

Furthermore, Sean discovered that he has 6,269 DNA matches from all over the world, including the USA, Great Britain, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Germany, France, Netherlands, Finland, and more. Sean even received a personal video message from one of his closest DNA matches, a cousin whom he’d never met before!

Though his DNA may not reflect his allegiance to New Zealand, Sean discovered strong ties to New Zealand’s history through family history research. Sean’s great-grandmother, Miriam Cummings Soljak, was a women’s rights activist in the early 20th century. Born in Thames, New Zealand, in 1879, she was a teacher and political activist who studied the Maori culture: an indigenous Polynesian people in New Zealand. She was also president of the Auckland women’s branch of the Labour Party in the late 1920s. One of eight children born to a Catholic father and Protestant mother, her parents overcame their religious differences by raising their boys Protestant and their girls Catholic — finding a way to embrace both family traditions.

Picture of Sean’s great-grandmother, Miriam Cummings Soljak
Picture of Sean’s great-grandmother, Miriam Cummings Soljak

Check out the Rugby DNA website to learn more about Sean’s MyHeritage DNA results!

“Ugo” Chiedozie Monye

Ugo Monye
Ugo Monye

Moderating the conversation was Ugochukwu “Ugo” Chiedozie Monye, a former Rugby player for England and the Harlequin club. Ugo is proud of his African roots and was excited to see that he has a mix of Nigerian, Kenyan, and West African ethnicities.

Ugo’s ethnicity breakdown with MyHeritage DNA
Ugo’s ethnicity breakdown with MyHeritage DNA

Born to Nigerian parents, Ugo expected to see evidence of his strong Nigerian ethnicity, and was pleased to discover he is a staggering 86.4% Nigerian. However, he had absolutely no idea that he is also 2.8% Central Asian and 0.8% Ashkenazi Jewish!

Ugo matched with 868 matches around the world, from the USA, Great Britain, France, Germany, Netherlands, Canada, Brazil, Sweden, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Bermuda, Australia, Martinique, and Japan.

Check out the Rugby DNA website to learn more about Ugo’s MyHeritage DNA results!

Win a Signed Rugby Ball!

The players were amazed by the new information about their family origins and were blown away by how much you can learn about yourself through a simple cheek swab with MyHeritage DNA.

Were you also surprised by the legends’ MyHeritage results? Tell us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram what family history or DNA results surprised you most using the hashtag #RugbyDNA. 10 lucky entrants will win a special edition rugby ball signed by these exceptional rugby legends!

Good luck!

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