IRB unveil terms for eligibility switch

Date published: September 19 2014

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The International Rugby Board have released a document detailing the necessary requirements for players to switch nationalities.

The International Rugby Board have released a document detailing the necessary requirements for players to switch nationalities.

Players looking to represent another country will have to play in a minimum of four Sevens World Series legs for their conversion to be approved, along with adhering to other terms.

All players who apply this way will also have to take part in the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016.

The document also states that players will not be able to revert to their former Union should their application to play for a second Union fall through, meaning they will have continue to represent the new Union in Sevens until threshold participation criteria are achieved.

With the global qualification process for Rugby Sevens' Olympic Games debut set to begin in October (men) and December (women), the Regulations Committee convened on September 2 to assist Unions with queries and ensure unity and consistency of implementation of the regulations.

“These rulings of the IRB Regulations Committee will further assist our Unions with their preparation and underscores our commitment to ensure a successful and spectacular Olympic Games debut at Rio 2016 and beyond,” said IRB chairman Bernard Lapasset.

A number of leading players capped by one country have expressed an interest or been linked to making use of the loophole, including current European Player of the Year and Toulon star Steffon Armitage.

Thursday's changes will almost certainly end the hopes of the likes of Armitage, New Zealander Alex Tulou and Australian duo Brock James and Blair Connor of featuring for the French team at next year's World Cup.

Furthermore, French Top 14 sides would be unlikely to allow their foreign recruits to skip club duty in order to play sevens at various global venues.

The full document can be found here on the IRB website.

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