Will global rugby turn the tables for national selections? For many years, teams such as New Zealand and Australia filled their ranks with players from Pacific islands such as Tonga, Samoa and Fiji. However, with the current regulations in this field, no player who wears a national team jersey can wear another jersey during his career. An action that disqualifies Pacific’s picks for players with great talent but who have lost their place among the Wallabies or the All Blacks. However, according to information from Midi Olympique magazine, the situation may change soon, in time for the next World Cup, which will be organized in France in the fall of 2023. Voting is already scheduled for November 24. On this occasion, Rugby World will ask its members to comment on the evolution of the eligibility rules for international players. According to the project that the leaders of the International Federation want, a player who has not been selected for three years will have the opportunity to change his sports nationality.
Large-scale supported project in the southern hemisphere
But safeguards have been put in place to prevent any deviation. In fact, the players in question would then be able to develop only for their country of origin, whether through their ancestors or their place of birth. One stark example of such a regulatory change is the possibility that the three-quarters-branded versatile Israel Folau, born in suburban Sydney, will be dressed 73 times by Australia but rejected since 2018 after his controversial posts. Tonga choose colors, from where his parents. A measure already backed by players like Ngani Laumape or Ardie Savea but also by Welsh coach Wayne Pivac, who sees it as a way to raise the bar on a global scale. “There are a lot of great players from the Pacific Islands who have played for other nations,” said the New Zealander. For them, their ability to come back after a period of hiatus, in my opinion, will only strengthen the island nations, which will enhance the rugby world game. However, it would take the 39 member associations of World Rugby to vote in favor of such a change for it to take effect.
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