My initial reaction is that this is a poor rule. That said, I see the value of it. Luke McGrath was born in Canada and last played for Ireland 2 years ago. If he's out of favour with Ireland, he could represent Canada in the next world cup and would almost certainly start for them.
A revolutionary change to rugby union's international eligibility rules has been approved by World Rugby.
It means from January 2022 a player will now be able to represent another country after a stand-down period of three years.
A player can move to a nation of their, their parents' or grandparents' birth, but can only switch allegiance once.
In a surprise move, the ruling was passed on Wednesday by more than 75% of the World Rugby council votes.
The governing body say the new process will "benefit players and the global competitiveness of rugby".
World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont added: "We have listened to our membership and players and sought to update the regulation recognising the modern professional rugby environment without compromising the integrity of the international game."
The move has also been backed by the global players' union, who say the decision is the culmination of years of work with their members.
"Many players across the world will now benefit from the chance to represent the country of their or their ancestors' birth, serving as a real boost to the competitiveness of emerging nations, which in turn, will benefit the game as a whole," said International Players' Union chief executive Omar Hassanein.
However, while this will help the likes of Tonga and Samoa, with former All Black Charles Piutau among those who will switch nationality, there will be strong opposition from other emerging nations who prioritise the selection of home-grown players and will not benefit from the ruling.
From 1 January 2022, any player who meets the criteria can apply immediately for a transfer, meaning there is a possibility that in the 2022 Six Nations a player may represent the second Six Nations side of their career.
To be fair it’s clearly there for the Pacific Islanders.My initial reaction is that this is a poor rule. That said, I see the value of it. Luke McGrath was born in Canada and last played for Ireland 2 years ago. If he's out of favour with Ireland, he could represent Canada in the next world cup and would almost certainly start for them.
Rhys Ruddock could play for Wales in the next 6 nations if they have an injury crisis.
Or NZ could really screw Ireland over by paying Carbery a boatload of money to come back to NZ with the promise of a slot on the All Blacks in 3 years time (meanwhile denying Ireland their outhalf)
Admittedly, the latter scenario is mildly implausible.
I thought that initially, but actually, the way it's worded, you need a family connection to actually play for the 2nd country.It's bollocks. It's no worse than someone rocking up at the airport with a kiwi accent and togging out in a green jersey in Lansdowne Road a few years later.
In essence, however, you can play for two different countries. It's nonsense. It's not like decades ago whereby if somebody moved to another country, they'd rarely ever be back.I thought that initially, but actually, the way it's worded, you need a family connection to actually play for the 2nd country.
I can see the situation that it deals with, the sort of situation where say a Tongan player gets a couple of starts for NZ, but doesn't really nail down a spot, they'e permanently excluded.
Looking at some other players who could benefit from this:
Jordi Murphy and Spain is another one that's actually potentially plausible.
I don't think it's a good rule, in many ways, I think it's compensating for the bad rule that is the residency one.
I do think though, the problem actually is that residency rule. 3 years was ridiculous, 5 years still isn't great but to be fair, people can usually gain citizenship of most countries after 5 years. But that should be the driver. If someone is going to represent the country but couldn't be arsed getting citizenship, that says a lot.In essence, however, you can play for two different countries. It's nonsense. It's not like decades ago whereby if somebody moved to another country, they'd rarely ever be back.