Tawera Kerr-Barlow: Former All Blacks scrum-half available to play for Wallabies

David Skippers

La Rochelle’s former All Blacks scrum-half Tawera Kerr-Barlow has revealed his desire to represent the Wallabies at Test level thanks to World Rugby’s new player eligibility laws.

He joined the Top 14 outfit during the 2018/19 campaign and was part of their squad when they were crowned European Champions Cup winners last season, after they beat Leinster in the final in Marseille.

Hasn’t played at Test level for five years

The 32-year-old was part of New Zealand‘s Rugby World Cup-winning squad in England in 2015 but hasn’t represented the All Blacks since the end of 2017 due to New Zealand Rugby’s policy of not selecting overseas-based players to play at Test level.

However, Kerr-Barlow was born in Melbourne to Australian parents and wants to take advantage of World Rugby’s change in eligibility laws which allows players to switch nationalities.

Under the new regulations – which came into effect at the end of last year – players must stand down from international rugby for three years and have either been born in the nation they wish to transfer to or have a parent or grandparent born in that country.

Individuals are only allowed to do it once and it isn’t just restricted for tier one players wanting to feature for tier two sides, it is available to all.

Wallabies boss Dave Rennie, who coached Kerr-Barlow at Super Rugby outfit the Chiefs, is currently allowed to pick a maximum of three overseas-based players in his Test squad.

“Unlike New Zealand, Australia have a rule allowing players who are overseas to still be eligible for selection,” Kerr-Barlow told RugbyRama.

“I am available to play for the Wallabies! I was born there. I have a lot of ties in this country and if the coaching staff calls me I will go without hesitation. It would be a great opportunity but for the moment I am focused on La Rochelle.”

Very happy at La Rochelle

Kerr-Barlow said he has no regrets about his decision to move to France and is happy in his current surroundings.

“La Rochelle is a family with a huge audience,” he added. “It’s a fantastic club, every year we manage to create a very good atmosphere with the players. Beyond the rugby qualities, it’s very important to have good people. My wife and I feel great here so it was easy to stay.”

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