Username Password
PINA
Pacific Rugby hopes to benefit from rule change
00:01 am GMT+12, 18/05/2017, Fiji

Pacific nations could be the biggest benefactors of a rule change announced by rugby's governing body surrounding international eligibility.

World Rugby has increased the residency requirement for a player to represent a country, from three years to five years, in the hope it will stop the recruitment of players from smaller nations like in the Pacific, to larger, wealthier countries.

World Rugby Vice Chairman Agustín Pichot welcomed the outcome and says it's an historic moment for the sport.

He told the governing body's website it is a great outcome.

"I think that it's something that is really good for the shape of the international game. There were two main things that we wanted to address. The most important thing was the international game. It didn't feel right that anyone could come into a country just a couple of years and sing the national anthem or represent the jersey."

Pichot hopes it will put an end to top talent being plucked from smaller nations.

"For the smaller nations the players were picked as project players. Just because a country has more money or more power they could go to countries like Fiji or some parts of South Africa and just take the players on an economical advantage and just play for the national team. I think that is wrong. That means you are taking advantage of the weaker countries and that is completely wrong."

The Samoa Rugby Union says it fully supports the changes.

"We've endorsed that in our recommendations over to council through Oceania to take our views over across from Samoa's point of view and we are pleased that it's been done. I think it is a good thing for us. We tend to lose our players through to residency more or less straight after the world cup cycle, with people playing at the next world cup for another country."

Fiji's national coach John Mckee says in the professional era the move to five years is an improvement.

"Five years is a long time to wait to see if you make another team, but I feel with three years it has been too easy for almost recruitment to go on and players to be offered incentives to not be available for their country of birth and just to wait for the date they are available for their adopted country."

Mckee says it is not just the Pacific that is affected.

"We see South Africans and New Zealanders playing for Ireland or countries like that, South Africans popping up in Italy, so it's not just Pacific island players and it's not just tier two to tier one. There is a lot going on with players looking to boost their teams"

However, former Springbok Bryan Habana believes the rule changes won't keep top prospects in South Africa because of the country's unique political tribulations.  He says South Africa's crime levels and the continued politics of rugby will keep pushing top players to seek moves abroad.

But John Mckee and Faleomavaega Vincent Fepulea'i say they hope to have better access to players now.

The change comes into effect at the end of 2020.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS


News feature
Pacific Islands News Association
Who & What is PINA?
Membership
Member Countries
Media Freedom
Training
PINA Convention
Awards
Contact
Gallery
Forum
Events
Jobs
Classifieds
PACNEWS
Home
Regional
Feature
Business
Sports
Archives
Partners
Communications Initiative
International News Safety Institute (INSI)
UNDP PC
AusAID
NZAID
SPREP
ONOC
UNAIDS
Media Helping Media
Partners
PIFS
SPC
IFEX
UNESCO
AIBD
GFMD
SEAPA
WPFC
IFJ