"Guns for hire" - Chief sports writer slams eligibility rules during the 2024 Six Nations - Ruck

“Guns for hire” – Chief sports writer slams eligibility rules during the 2024 Six Nations

The Telegraph’s Chief Sports Writer Oliver Brown has taken aim at rugby’s eligibility laws following the latest round of the 2024 Six Nations.

RUCK’s 2024 Guinness Six Nations content powered by ISUZU.

He began: “Your best versus our best: it is the sacrosanct precept on which all international team sport is built. And yet even a competition as enmeshed in tribal identity as the Six Nations has drifted from these moorings.

“Take last weekend’s Calcutta Cup, a contest electrified by Scotland’s Duhan van der Merwe, whose name hardly suggests a rugged clan from the Cairngorms. Not that the issue can ever be reduced to a single player.

“Of the 39-man squad selected this year by Gregor Townsend to wear Scottish blue, an astonishing 23 were born elsewhere.

He concluded: “‌It is strange these patterns have not yet aroused a more urgent discussion in rugby. In football, many have a fit of the vapours at the mere thought of choosing a successor to Gareth Southgate who is not English.

“But at the Calcutta Cup, the fact that man-of-the-match Van der Merwe honed his craft in South Africa, not Scotland, passed virtually without mention. Your best versus our best? Increasingly, the Six Nations seems less about blood ties than the enlisting of guns for hire.”

Read his full column for The Telegraph here.


France (3) – Down by one

Uini Atonio (New Zealand)

Paul Willemse (South Africa)

Émilien Gailleton (England)

Wales (4) – Down by one

Archie Griffin (Australia)

Will Rowlands (England)

George North (England)

Nick Tompkins (England)

England (6) – Up by two

Ethan Roots (New Zealand)

Manu Tuilagi (Samoa)

Sam Underhill (USA)

Marcus Smith (Phillipines)

Marcus Smith of England during the Summer Nations Series Match between England and Wales at Twickenham, London on 12 Aug 2023 (Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK)

Immanuel Feyi-Waboso (Wales)

Tom Roebuck (Scotland)