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World Rugby to review eligibility protocols

  • World Rugby may reconsider its eligibility protocols that allow players to represent a country other than that of their birth
  • This happening consistantly has Tonga, Fiji and Samoa of talent 
  • Vice-chairperson Agustin Pichot is to lead the inquest into the make-up and design of the protocols
World Rugby vice-chairman Agustin Pichot is to look into the sport’s international eligibility rules as part of a wide-ranging report into the sustainability of the game in the Pacific island nations.

The former Argentina scrumhalf and captain is against the existing rules, that allow a player to represent a country if they have lived there for three years.

According to Pichot, the period is too short.

“There are special cases where players moved when they were ten or twelve years old,” he said.



“But just moving to a country, being taken from an academy, like they are doing in Tonga, and put into play, say, in an Ireland shirt, I’m against it. I think it is not right.”

Fiji, Samoa and Tonga have suffered from talent drain for many years and a few of the top tier northern hemisphere nations as well as Australia and New Zealand regularly field players born in the Islands.

World Rugby also reaffirmed its commitment to Pacific islands rugby and said it would be supporting the high performance and development programmes of the three unions to tune of the four million pounds ($5.67 million) in 2016.

“The Pacific Islands hold a special place in rugby’s rich history and indeed rugby’s future,” former Scotland international John Jeffrey, who led the World Rugby delegation, said in an Oceania Rugby news release.

“These positive and highly constructive meetings gave the committee a unique opportunity to consider the opportunities and challenges faced by the islands and to drive a process that will sit alongside ongoing governance reforms to deliver a blueprint for a prosperous game for each of the unions.”