Rugby World Cup’s Eligibility Vs Naturalisation

The international Rugby law allows players to play for any squad for which they have been residence for at least three years. This very lax law has made it possible for countries such as Tonga, Samoa and Japan to name a squad for the world cup that contains more foreign-born players than home grown ones. Aside the aforementioned countries, the likes of Scotland, the USA and Australia have a considerable number of foreign-born players in their world cup party.

Betway stated in a recent article that countries are obviously taking advantage of the lax international rugby laws. This year we will have fourteen players representing Scotland who were not born in Scotland. Seven players in the Welsh squad were not born in Wales, six of the players New Zealand have named for the world cup were not born in New Zealand.

During the world cup in 2015, there were 125 foreign born players, but the 2019 world cup has added nine more foreign born players to that number. A Canadian born and raised in Canada is in Ireland’s squad for the world cup, a Scotsman is also on Canada’s book. Several South Africans are in the squads of the likes of Australia, England, Ireland and the likes.

It is obvious that countries are now taking advantage of the ease with which rugby players can move to a country, reside in that country for a period of three years and start playing as a national of the said country. This is so because the Rugby laws permits it as players only need to have lived in a country for a period of just three years before they are able to represent such a country in international Rugby tournaments.

Come the end of the 2020, the law will however change, and countries will then only be able to call upon players who have lived in their countries for at least five years. This change is been driven by former Argentina international Agustin Pichot who is the world rugby union vice president.

The new law when enacted will help protect the smaller countries who have suffered heavily from the bigger countries poaching their talents.

There are still talk about whether or not actions will be taken retrospectively.


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